Carlos Caso-Rosendi

One of my favorite movies of all time is Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey based on Arthur C. Clarke’s short story The Sentinel. In the 1968 movie the astronaut Dave Bowman arrives to a kind of inter-dimensional door in space. We do not see what he sees but the screen shows his amazed expression as he says: “My God! It’s full of stars!” [1] I had a similar experience early in the morning of April 2 when I woke up and had an epiphany of sorts. It was about the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I will try to explain.

First, the Aleph. I read the story by Jorge Luis Borges for the first time when I was eleven years old. There I learned that the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet in its earlier forms represented a plowing ox. Later as the characters got more stylish and beautiful, the Aleph represented a tiny man pointing with one arm to the Heavens and the other to the ground (Earth) meaning that one must be the reflection of the other. I was told that from that small parable comes the whole science of understanding the Hebrew alphabet.

Fairly recently it was discovered that the stars in the mantle of Our Lady of Guadalupe represent exactly the position of a number of stars as they were seen in the sky over Mexico on 12 December 1531. Not as we see them with the naked eye but in reflection, that is the way someone looking in from outside the Universe would see them. Notice that we have been able to reproduce the positions of the stars that night with the aid of very advanced computer programs. The secret of the stars in the mantle of Our Lady has been waiting patiently five centuries for technology advanced enough to discover it. Gustavo Serrano, a young engineer from Mexico City told me that the ancient Mexicans studied the stars in reflection over water. A very clever way to avoid neck pain but also a practical way to remember the pattern of the constellations in reference to visible fixed points. So the mantle of Our Lady of Guadalupe is reflecting the stars like the ancient Lake Tenochtitlan in a quiet night.

As you know very well Our Lord taught in parables, he also constructed images and counterpoints that could reach us through time and many translations of the Gospels. For example when he tells us the parable of the Good Samaritan he uses the road as a representation of history. The road from Jericho to Jerusalem unites two cities: one was conquered first by Joshua (Jericho) and the other, the last city conquered by David (Jerusalem.) When we contemplate the image we understand that the man assaulted by the robbers is a Jew representing Israel, Christ is represented by the Good Samaritan, the religious clerics of the day by the Priest and the Levite, while the Inn — where the Samaritan leaves the poor Jew to rest and recover — is the Church. The image is there to be discovered. Once found it opens and enriches the meaning of Jesus’ words. Images of that kind are common in Scripture, we could say that is part of God’s style of teaching.

In my opinion the image impressed miraculously on St Juan Diego’s tilma is the “Aleph” of a new alphabet that has entered the material creation from Heaven. I believe one day we will understand it and use it in the same way we understand and use our alphabet today. Imagine that!

The image on the tilma transmitted instantly a number of messages to San Juan Diego, then to the Chichimeca natives and then to nine million native Mexicans who converted to the Catholic faith at the same time that nine million Germans left the Church to join the German Reformation.

This miracle of communication can be exemplified in our day by the way Donald Trump connected with the electorate during his campaign deftly using the media available to him. He tweeted something in the morning and got everybody in the mainstream media talking about it. Then he talked to Fox & Friends for 10 or 15 minutes amicably, later called Morning Joe and argued with Scarborough. Then he went about his day and closed by talking to Sean Hannity in the evening.[2] With this simple strategy he used the equivalent of about 7 or 8 million dollars of media time every day of the campaign — not paying one red cent for it — while his adversaries broke their backs raising billions to be spent in one or two minute ads that in the end were literally obliterated by Trump’s abundant exposure.

There is something here, a kind of sign about what the future of communicating the Gospel may be. I do believe the message of Guadalupe is very important for our times. I have started to write about it. I hope to have a book ready soon. It’s fascinating and it’s filled with stars!

[1] “My god, it’s full of stars” is a phrase associated with a scene from the 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey” in which the protagonist David Bowman is traveling through the star gate created by the monolith orbiting Jupiter and the awed expression face that he gives. From knowyourmeme.com

[2] For those who are not familiar with American TV: those are popular television programs in the United States.