Article XVI: Aftermath - Our Lady of Guadalupe

Written by:
Jacob King

After I started to believe​, I was on fire — and, I will admit, a bit of a Jesus freak. I had experienced real joy for the first time, and that joy came from knowing this all was reasonably true: that this Voice did resurrect from the dead… which means God had pursued us like the Armenian father, and there is an eternal family seeking to reunite with us; which also means we aren’t simply ape-descendants roaming around aimlessly but are, in fact, children of this fully loving Father who seeks more than anything to communicate Their love to us through the Sign

And the joy was better than any bong hit I had ever taken.

I was now trying to spread these truths with the same passion I previously channeled into dealing weed. Except now, instead of giving out dime bags, I was handing out a pound of Jesus at a time.

At the time I worked at a warehouse, a huge building that seemed like a real life Azkaban​. Absolutely no outside light could pierce through the thick cement walls and most of the workers seemed to have had their happiness sucked out by a dementor. We were a collection of misfits, dropouts, and recent immigrants slaving away at delivering mundane products like dog food and laundry detergent all day long.

But after having experienced the depth of joy I felt, even in this environment, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I was ready to talk with anyone about God. At my lunch breaks, I went from being the dude trying to get the hottie’s phone number to the warehouse evangelist chatting it up about this Voice with all my friends.

One lunch, my friend Travis said, “There are all these miracles in the Bible, like the resurrection, but they don’t happen today. I would maybe believe if I saw some dude cured or some other miracle.”

His statement had me stumped.

“Uhhh,” I thought. I probably looked as dumbfounded as I felt. Does this resurrected Godman still work miracles to testify to Their existence like he once did? Or, after 2,000 years, has his power run dry and now he only has the ol’ selfie-in-a-grilled-cheese trick in his bag?

(It was so good she couldn't resist taking a bite... sinner)

If there was an answer to this question, it had to be at my grandma’s house. She had everything spiritual in that place.​ ​Holy water font? Check. Enough religious pictures to make even the Pope feel nervous? Double check.

I told her what Travis said and she knew what to do. “I have just the thing,” she said, handing me a book on post-resurrection, modern day, miracles. I hurried home and began to read it. I couldn’t put it down. How come I hadn’t heard about these things before??

I couldn’t wait to get into work the next day to talk with Travis. We met again for lunch and I showed him some of the miracles I’d read about in the book. After I finished, he said, “Dude these make me feel good. They make me feel real good!”

Here’s one of the post-resurrection miracles in our scientific age that blew Travis’s and my mind.

Back in the day I would see that image​ in places like the shops where I got my tattoos and at my grandma’s house. But I had no idea what it was. However, after reading the book, I realized why this image became so popular that grandmas and gang-bangers alike would want to rep it.

In just six years, in a large part due to this picture, Mexico went from a place of human sacrifice and the most hideous evils, to a Rosary wearing, ​trying-to-love-your-neighbor-as-yourself society, causing over NINE MILLION PEOPLE to believe in the resurrection​— ​with a miracle​.

The miracle happened in 1531, back when Aztec gods were the main divinities worshiped. The gods were explicitly satanic, including the Hummingbird Wizard god: the lover of human hearts and the drinker of blood. Needless to say, when your god is a fan of eating hearts and loves a true Bloody Mary after a hard day’s work, worship does not consist of a guitar, holding hands, and singing kumbaya.

The Aztec priests were specially trained in the quick removal of the human heart from the body — and they could do it in 15 seconds flat. They would sacrifice between 20,000 and 250,000 people, mostly children, every year. In the span of a four day “festival,” the Aztecs sacrificed an estimated 80,000 people — that is the death of a victim every 15 seconds for four straight days and nights.

A native to the land named Juan Diego witnessed this event.

Juan was on his way back from a meeting of believers in the resurrection, who were already in the country due to the Spanish invasion​.​ Near the festival site, Juan encountered a beautiful woman surrounded by an orb of light as bright as the sun. Speaking in his native tongue, the lady identified herself and said:

“My dear little [one], I love you. I desire you to know who I am. I am the… Mother of the true God who gives life and maintains its existence. He created all things. He is in all places. He is Lord of Heaven and Earth. I desire a church in this place where your people may experience my compassion. All those who sincerely ask my help in their work and in their sorrows will know my Mother’s Heart in this place. Here I will see their tears; I will console them and they will be at peace. So run now to Tenochtitlan and tell the Bishop all that you have seen and heard.”

Juan Diego went to the head spiritual eunuch of the Voice’s Church, the bishop, but his story wasn’t trusted. This Lady appeared again to Juan and gave him a sign for the unbelieving leader: she sent him to the top of a hill to cut flowers and bring them back to her. She arranged the flowers in Juan’s tilma, the cloak he wore, and when Juan dropped his tilma to reveal the flowers to the leader, he dropped to his knees.

This is what the bishop saw on Juan’s tilma.

Here are some of the scientific discoveries of this miraculous image since its appearance that still, to this day, defy scientific explanation:

Made primarily of agave (cactus) fibers, a tilma was of very poor quality and had a rough surface, making it difficult enough to wear and impossible to paint a lasting image on it. Nevertheless, the image remains, and scientists who have studied the image insist there was no technique nor primer used beforehand to treat the surface. The surface bearing the image is silk to the touch, while the unused portion of the tilma remains coarse. Additionally the same image is on both the front and back of the surface… as if the image was printed on both sides simultaneously in 1531… 446 years before the first crappy colored printer of the 1970s, and long before fathead.com.

Furthermore, through infrared photography, experts determined there were no brush strokes, as if the image was slapped into the surface all at once – with not even a single crack to this day. When the image was amplified, scientists saw the colors directly impregnated into the fibers— again affirming the miraculousness of the image. 

‘Ok, fine, but maybe someone just made a fancy picture on a cloth.’ Not quite. Adolfo Orozco has been there, done that…

Adolfo Orozco, a physicist at the National University of Mexico, reported that two duplicates were painted on the same surface with the best techniques available at the time, then encased in glass and stored next to the real tilma – they lasted eight yearsbefore they both faded and frayed; the real tilma is… 484 years old. This image also spent 116 of those 484 years completely exposed to the insects that feast on agave fiber, with no protection from the humid and salty air of the temple which are chemically corrosive to it, and all the infrared and ultraviolet radiation from the tens of thousands of candles near it. Orozco found it to be scientifically inexplicable that a cloth made of agave fiber should last this long, let alone survive within this crazy harsh environment. 

But it was more than just durable:

When Phillip Callahan, a Florida biophysicist at the University of Florida, analyzed the tilma using infrared technology, he discovered that the tilma maintains a constant temperature of – wait for it – 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit… the same as that of a living person. 

Unbelievably, the image had even more images within it:

Jose Aste Tonsmann, a Peruvian ophthalmologist, examined the eyes on the tilma at 2,500 times magnification. In the human eye the cornea reflects the image in front of us – both eyes will show the same image but different sizes. Through mathematical and optical procedures, this is what Tonsmann found when magnifying her eyes: both eyes contain mirror images of the same scene. They included the same people in different sizes but in the same position. This scientist was able to identify as many as 13 individuals in both eyes at different proportions, just as the human eye would reflect an image. It appeared to be a snapshot of the very moment Juan Diego unfurled the tilma before the bishop.

‘What would happen if you tried to destroy it? Surely it would bear some evidence, like anything else would, even if it’s supposedly miraculous?’ Uhhh, think again...

In 1785, a worker was cleaning the glass encasement of the image and he accidentally spilled strong nitric acid solvent onto a large portion of the image itself. The image and the rest of the tilma, which should have been eaten away almost instantly by the spill, self-restored over the next 30 days, and it remains unscathed to this day.

Mexican President Plutarco Elias Calles and the Worker’s Leader Luis N. Morones were obsessed with destroying the image, and in 1921 they hired an agent working for the government to do just that. This agent hid a bomb made up of 47 stickes of dynamite (coming from the name from the Greek dynamis, “power”) in a basket of flowers directly underneath the tilma. When the bomb exploded all the windows of homes and buildings were shattered from over 150 meters away in all directions, yet inexplicably the image that had been blasted to the ground, and even the glass protecting the image, remained perfectly intact. Just as astonishing is that a brass crucifix that was standing in front of the tilma was twisted and bent out of shape, perfectly laid out over the tilma – protecting the image.

The evidence was enough for Phillip Callahan, the Florida biophysicist at the University of Florida, and his partner Jody Brant Smith who both extensively studied the image with Infrared Technology to make this stunning statement: 

Our discovery of the absence of undersketching in the Guadalupe and our inability to account for the remarkable state of preservation of the unsized cactus cloth as well as the unfading brightness of the paints or dyes used in the original parts of the painting put Dr. Callahan and myself firmly in the ranks of those who believe the Image was created supernaturally.”

It appeared that this resurrected Godman was still working miracles for the scientific skeptics among us. 

This miracle made me want to dive all the more into modern miracles attributed to him. One miracle is cool, but this Voice was doing these types of things all the time in John’s Gospel. There must be more than just one example of a mind blowing, scientifically testable miracle. And after diving into my search, this resurrected Godman didn’t disappoint.

The Next Article: Aftermath: Padre Pio

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