Biblical Iconography of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Previous:
I. My New Age Background
II. My Encounter with Our Lady: “Somewhere I have never travelled” by e. e. cummings
III. Book Review: A Handbook on Guadalupe

Since that time Mama taught me how to read.  She taught me how to read the bible and its imagery.  And I learned that she is the Lady of Revelation:

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev 12:1).

The Seat of Wisdom:

For she is an aura of the might of God and a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nought that is sullied enters into her.  For she is the refulgence of eternal light, the spotless mirror of the power of God, the image of his goodness. (Wis 7:25-26)

The Ark of the Covenant:

You shall make an ark of acacia wood…. Plate it inside and outside with pure gold…. Make two cherubim of beaten gold for the two ends of the propitiatory…. This propitiatory you shall then place on top of the ark. In the ark itself you are to put the commandments which I will give you. (Ex 25:10-21)

When the camp is to set out, Aaron and his sons shall go in and take down the screening curtain, and cover the ark of the covenant with it; then they shall put on it a covering of fine leather, and spread over that a cloth all of blue…. (Num 4:5-7) (NRSV translation.  In NAB blue is violet)

And a whole lot more.

The icon of our Lady is a true abstract art, for it is based on strict rules for interpretation as provided by the Scriptures.  Each detail of the icon adds a new layer of the interpretation.  Since a multitude of layers of symbols are superimposed, the task of the icon reader is to try to identify each layer and translate it into a page of text.  For example, “morning (sun rays) star, evening (crescent moon) star”.  This means Venus.  But evening connotes a sense of “falling,” since the sun sinks into the West.  And the black crescent also suggests a “pit.”  Thus, we may translate this series of pictures into the text of Isaiah, which is traditionally interpreted as the Fall of Lucifer, the Light-Bearer:

How have you fallen from the heavens, O morning star, son of the dawn! How are you cut down to the ground, you who mowed down the nations! You said in your heart: “I will scale the heavens; Above the stars of God I will set up my throne; I will take my seat on the Mount of Assembly, in the recesses of the North. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will be like the Most High!” Yet down to the nether world you go to the recesses of the pit! (Is 14:12-15)

Who can fathom the riches of Guadalupe?  Whenever I look at her, I always see something new.  Like Wordsworth watching daffodils, “I gazed—and gazed—but little thought what wealth the show to me had brought.”

Next:
V. Rediscovery of My Catholic Faith

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A Song for Mary: Ateneo de Manila University Hymn

    A Song for Mary
    We stand on a hill between the earth and sky.
    Now all is still where Loyola’s colors fly.
    Our course is run and the setting sun ends Ateneo’s day.
    Eyes are dry at the last goodbye; this is the Ateneo way.
    Mary for you! For your white and blue!
    We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, constantly true!
    We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, faithful to you!
    Down from the hill, down to the world go I;
    rememb’ring still, how the bright Blue Eagles fly.
    Through joys and tears, through the laughing years,
    we sing our battle song:
    Win or lose, it’s the school we choose;
    this is the place where we belong!
    Mary for you! For your white and blue!
    We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, constantly true!
    We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, faithful to you!

Source: Ateneo de Manila University Hymn

How Our Lady of Guadalupe Snatched Me from New Age

I.  My New Age Background

II.  My Encounter with with Our Lady

III.  Book Review: The Handbook on Guadalupe

IV.  Biblical Iconography of Guadalupe

V.  Rediscovery of My Catholic Faith

Mama also taught me how to read other Catholic books.  I read her messages in the Marian Movement of Priests.  I read the books of Scott Hahn and learned of his conversion story.  I read Fr. Leo Trese‘s “The Faith Explained.” I read the Catechism.  But my favorite book is on Dogmatic Theology lent to me by a friend.  How simple to state are the Catholic dogmas–Jesus is the Son of Man,  Mary is the Mother of God–yet how many church doctors, how many councils, how many centuries have to pass before these dogmas can be understood and explained. And the mystery of the dogma deepens.

I read books, blogs, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets–anything that I could get my hands on to learn more and more about the Catholic Church.  (I also occasionally read articles against the church and the pope, but I have to pray beforehand and read the Catechism afterwards—shots of vaccine against a virus.)  Now, I am reading the “Confessions” of St. Augustine and the “Summa Theologiae” of St. Aquinas.  But because of my physics background, I only read the physics parts: relativity of time in Augustine and optics in Aquinas. The rest I skipped. But somehow in the process I get a glimpse of their theology.

And Mama led me to her Son.  I learned to value the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Penance.  I learned to pray the rosary as a meditation on the life of Christ.  I learned to pray the chaplet of the Divine Mercy.  I studied a little Latin.  And someday when I have enough money, I’ll buy my first 1962 missal and unearth the treasures of the ancient mass.

I do not know why our Protestant brothers hate Mama very much.  Is it because she is beautiful?  Is it because Christ honored her as his mother by lavishing her with all the graces that the Angel Gabriel addresses her as “Full of Grace”?  Or is it because they haven’t yet felt the love of mother?  They have God as Father.  They have Christ as Brother.  But they have no Mother.  “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5)– this is the only command from our Mother.  As the moon reflects the light of the sun, so does Mary shines in splendor with the light of Christ. In the darkest night, Mary guides us with the light of Christ and she prepares us for the dawn of His Coming.

Epilogue

A year after my graduation in college, my mother died.  She died due to kidney failure—a complication of diabetes.  But before she died, I visited her in Bacolod.  She cannot anymore recognize me.  My sister took the handbook of Guadalupe and showed it to my mother. My mother said, “Toto, Toto.”  That was my name my mother calls me.  And she only knew my name because of Guadalupe.  Maybe she is saying Christ’s last words on the cross: “Woman, behold your son.”   My mother did not leave me orphan.  She entrusted me to Our Lady, to Our Mother, to Our Mama.

I love you Nanay.  I love you Mama.