Thursday, October 9, 2008
In the back stair unofficial R.C. story telling culture of nuns in my youth, the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe was one of those strange but miraculous stories that sticks with you the rest of your life. Stories, myths, legends come and go and bind cultures. Mary fills a lot of niches in our global diversity.
Through my casual studies of esoterics and myths over the decades, I keep coming back to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Wikipedia makes mention of the concept that Mexicans have faith in only two things, the National Lottery and the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Of course eggheads and historians will tell you that the Marian apparition of Mary on a hill just outside Mexico City is in fact an overlay of the Mexican goddess Tonantzin, or Mother Earth. Etc. One has to wonder sometimes why one image, one icon sticks out and stays with the human spirit and culture.
As being pretty much a Cultural Christian from the Protestant side of the spectrum, Mary, the mother of Jesus has been relegated very little space, comment, devotion since Martin Luther’s reformation.
In my Catholic youth, the Mary Icon, (not an idol) was a major part of all R.C. church architecture and devotion.
I do not venerate saints. I pray directly to God.
Some years ago, I thought that from a cultural or an artistic point of view, the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe would be a great idea if you scraped away a lot of the added on silver paint and cherubs which were added after the appearance of the original image.
A streamlined Virgin of Guadalupe I thought would be a good cultural christian icon. It would be something to match so much of the pagan add-ons since the early church and the basic Jesus – to be a useful secular, cultural, not sacred image.
The above image would fit into that agenda image concept of mine.
Of course I do not feel comfortable with Marian apparitions especially when people see Mary in a french fry or on calcium stained windows on an office building of I think in Florida.
Icons in Christianity are part of the mysticism of getting into a spiritual mood or feeling. This is not unlike breathing exercises in yoga or Buddhism. What ever works in a spiritual sense changes from geography to geography and culture to culture.
In any case, I show great respect to the beliefs of other people, cultures and religions. I expect the same measure of respect in return.
Have a thoughtful day.