My Encounter With Our Lady of Guadalupe: “Somewhere I have never travelled” by e. e. cummings

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But I saw no book by Lobsang Rampa, Sitchin, Licauco, or Casteneda.  I saw something else: a picture of a lovely lady on a book’s front cover.  I did not hear angels telling me, “Tolle lege,” or “Take and read,” as what happened to St. Augustine; but I took the book anyway.  The book is entitled, “A Handbook on Guadalupe” by the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (1997).

At first glance, I instinctively know that the picture of the Lady could not be a painting.  I am a pastel painter but not a professional.  I do not use brush.  I use crayon pastels like crayons, but I mix them using baby oil and cotton.  I see blue shadows cast by the yellow sun.  I see green and yellow in the human skin.  I intersect parallel lines at vanishing points.  I scale pictures using boxes and triangles.  I sense symmetry.  I see beauty.  Yet a true artist I am not, for  I do not know human anatomy.  I do not know the names of the muscles and how they are attached to the bones.  I do not know the golden ratios that describe the human form.  I am only a copyist and in this I am content.  But if I see a masterpiece, I know it truly is.

The picture is not a painting.  How can anyone draw such loveliness that even the words of e. e. cummings fail:

    somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
    any experience,your eyes have their silence:
    in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
    or which i cannot touch because they are too near
    your slightest look easily will unclose me
    though i have closed myself as fingers,
    you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
    (touching skilfully,mysteriously) her first rose
    or if your wish be to close me, i and
    my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
    as when the heart of this flower imagines
    the snow carefully everywhere descending;
    nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
    the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
    compels me with the color of its countries,
    rendering death and forever with each breathing
    (i do not know what it is about you that closes
    and opens; only something in me understands
    the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
    nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

Call it love at first sight.  I bought the book.

III. Book Review: Handbook on Guadalupe
IV. Biblical Iconography of Our Lady of Guadalupe
V. Rediscovery of My Catholic Faith