I have had one opportunity to view the Tilma of Saint Juan Diego prominently on display at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It was in my early twenties while I was working as a contractor on the Mexican Railroad. The chance to see it could easily be described as providential. We were logging ninety hour weeks and had not begun a day with any destination in mind. Mornings began promptly with packing up suitcases from the night before, and at sundown we would find a room wherever the railroad had brought us. Somehow, Mexico City became the only extended destination of our month long journey down the railways of the Ferrocarril. Knowing I was as close to the Basilica as I would ever be; I hailed a cab and went to Tepeyac Hill where Juan Diego had first encountered the Blessed Virgin.
It was a beautiful scene, the area paved in stone, with multiple buildings encompassing a considerable circular courtyard. One of the majestic churches, the oldest on the hill, was in the process of sinking. The stories I had been told throughout childhood of this amazing miracle that had inspired the conversion of millions of Aztecs suddenly came to life. Immediately, as controlled gratification was still far from a strength, I raced to see the five hundred year old image of our Blessed Mother. I then walked the way of the silent pilgrim over to where Saint Diego picked the legendary roses, which had sprung up from barren land, and packed them in his tunic to take to the Bishop. He was wholly unaware of the greater miracle which had imprinted itself on the cactus fibers of his Tilma. This is a work by the Hand of God Himself, this imprint of the Virgin of Guadalupe, one both simple and profound.
The Woman Clothed with the Sun
Like much of Christian symbology, the Virgin on the Tilma is meant to jar the haze-filled spiritual eyes of anyone who sees it open, it hearkens to the Alpha and Omega of human existence where Mary–Queen of Heaven–delivers to us a Savior. Such a shocking portrait of our eschatological end is most often either forgotten or neglected with impunity by the champions of western decency. Properly understood, the Tilma invokes the startling imagery of Revelation where ““[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) This image struck the heart of the polytheistic Aztec people as powerfully as the imagery of Genesis moved the ancient Hebrews away from their own primitive paganism. The pregnant Virgin stands as a warrior princess, eclipsing the sun, her feet upon the moon, clothed in the heavens, and beckoning the ancient natives to abandon their worship of the gods of the cosmos and embrace the One True God of the Universe.
It was effective to say the least, and the apparition prompted the Aztec people to abandon the rituals and gods of their ancestors and join the eternal wedding feast of Christ and His Church. Only shortly after our Blessed Mother’s appearance to the poor Indian Juan Diego the demand for Baptism among the indigenous people of Mexico was so high that Spanish missionaries needed special permission from Rome to meet it. This imagery of our final destination in Christ through His mother is of a sort that modern life has gradually become anesthetized to. Speaking through profound symbols to people, deeply connected to the natural world, our advocate and Eternal Mother empowered the Aztecs to see where once they were blind. We are in the throes of our own spiritual blindness today, exacerbated by layer upon layer of dopamine inducing media, but our malaise is more profound since we have the technological luxury of comfortably hiding ourselves from the eternal.
Spiritual Crisis and Our Eternal Mother
This is spiritual war fought throughout the ages, one that by the day seems exceedingly desperate, that confirms to us the need for our Advocate, the Ark of the New Covenant, Warrior of Tepeyac Hill, the Queen of Heaven, and our eternal Mother. The stakes are high as Western Civilization voluntarily turns its back upon its foundation, in God, the Heavens, and ultimately the nature of man himself. We here at the Traditian Order understand the stakes, and will act accordingly. On April 10 we begin our Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, and ask anyone who perceives the severity of our moment to join us. The battlefield is new, but the story is as old as Adam and Eve. It is one of truth against self-deception, love against indifference, faith against the darkening eclipse of nihilism, and hope against the deceptive cloud of meaninglessness.
We are in the throes of a technology induced spiritual crisis today that has both isolated and divided. It is of a different nature than our ancestors had encountered precisely because this new type of techno paganism is self-deluding. It convinces itself of godlessness while also pinching off incense for any idol capable of inoculating it from the transcendent. The Christian Gospel has not been left wanting wherever it has been faithfully applied, and we are prepared to encounter these new horizons by first calling upon the Woman Clothed with the Sun who gives to birth to our Warrior King to slay the Red Dragon. Join us if you can.