Sunday, 9 August 2009

A New Project

Tonight I have a new project to talk about.

First, however, I will mention the drawing of Our Lady. This is a close-up of the face of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the picture of Our Lady not drawn by human hands, but by some heavenly means.

Do you know the story? St. Juan Diego, a native Mexican "Indian", who lived over 400 years ago, had an encounter with a lovely lady near his home. He was a new Catholic during the era of the Spanish invasion of the new world and was stunned to see such a lovely lady who called herself "his Mother". She asked him to tell the Bishop that Our Lady wanted a church built at the spot where she appeared that would serve the native peoples. Of course, when he told the Bishop, the Bishop was very sceptical and asked for a sign should the beautiful lady appear again.

Well, she did appear again the next day and when Juan told her what the Bishop had said, she told him to gather the beautiful roses that suddenly appeared behind her in full bloom even though it was winter. Juan carefully picked the roses and put them in his tilma -- a cape-like garment worn by the native peoples. Holding his tilma carefully, he rushed to the Bishop's home. When admitted, he blurted out "The Lady has sent you a sign" and opened his tilma as the roses tumbled to the floor. But the Bishop and the priests with him were not looking at the roses but at his tilma. There on the surface of his cloak, woven from catus thread, was the very image of the Lady that Juan had seen. The image that is at the beginning of the posting.

Over 450 years later, that image is still as fresh and lovely as it was on that first day. No one can explain how the image was created nor how the tilma has lasted for all these centuries as catus fibre normally decays within 25 years. Following the building of a chapel at the place our Lady had requested, millions of native peoples converted to the Faith. Today a huge Cathedral stands on the same spot and is visited by more people than any other Catholic shrine in the world.

One interesting bit of information that has always fascinated me was the recent discovery of the reflection in Our Lady's eyes. Once it became possible to do the kind of photographic enlargement using special lenses, scientists discovered that there appeared to be an image reflected on the pupils of the Lady's eyes. When they enlarged it sufficiently, they discovered that the image appeared to be of St. Juan Diego as it was similar to an artist's drawing of him that was done while he was still living. How amazing is that.

Now for my new project. As I was putting together the book I am doing using the Stations of the Cross icons, I suddenly thought "why not do a series of books using the icons I have drawn to illustrate various Catholic devotions?" Once I had asked myself this question, I next considered what devotion I would work on next. I had done the Rosary and the Stations so it seemed obvious to me that next I could do a book of novenas using various icons of Christ, Our Lady and the Saints -- such as the one posted above. If you don't know what novenas are, I will be explaining it all in the next posting. This one has gone on long enough!

May peace be with you all.

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