Carlos Caso-Rosendi

This is a reprint of the last chapter of the book Guadalupe: A River of Light: The Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe From the First Century to Our Days which we will be reviewing here in the next few weeks. The book proposes to look at the fall of the Aztec Empire as a supernatural prophetic model of the fall of our global civilization. By looking at that specific period in history and relating it to the known history of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I believe we can learn important lessons on how to face the looming worldwide crisis.

When Bishop Zumarraga was sent to Mexico with both spiritual and temporal powers, he had authority to act in the name of God and Crown. At the time of the miracle, the Crown of Spain was resting on one of the most Catholic heads ever to hold the title of King: Charles V, the grandson of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, a Habsburg, and a faithful Catholic monarch if there was ever one. Understandably, he was a contemporary of St John of the Cross, and St Teresa of Avila, among other Spanish saints. King Charles was also the father of Don John of Austria, the victor of Lepanto.

Bishop Zumarraga was chosen to represent such a noble and gracious monarch. He was sent to defend the native Mexicans from a group of rapacious Spaniards who opposed the conversion of his new Mexican subjects. At the same time, there were some natives who did not want any Mexicans to convert to the faith of the conquerors, and some decent Spaniards who opposed their avaricious compatriots. To sum up the situation, everyone was fighting everyone. Bishop Zumarraga was a man of strong faith and he did what a man of faith does when facing a desperate situation: he fell to his knees and poured prayer after prayer before the Lord. On December 8, 1531, he spent the day in prayer. In a secret report sent to King Charles, he had written his now famous words: “Unless there is supernatural intervention, the country is lost.”

The answer to his prayers did not tarry long. Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to St Juan Diego at daybreak the following morning. Three and a half days later, Juan Diego was pouring roses before the astonished Bishop, and the story of the Miraculous Tilma began. Three and a half days, the same length of time of the Passion. It took thirteen days to build the first chapel at the Cerrito, Tepeyac Hill. Only one day after Christmas the conversions began: nine million natives were baptized. A Catholic nation was born of Mary in a near instant. “Who has ever heard such a thing? and who has seen the like of it? shall the earth bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once, because Zion has been in labor, and has brought forth her children?”[1]

In the days of our first mother, Eve, the world was lost to sin. Eve was tempted to envy the knowledge of God. She could not understand her destiny, the honor of being the physical and spiritual mother of all humanity, because she was deceived, desiring for herself the knowledge that God had justly reserved for Himself. Eve was tempted to envy the wisdom of God.

“But the serpent answered the woman thus: ‘It is not true that you are going to die, God knows very well that, when you eat from the fruit of that tree, your eyes will be opened and you will become like God, knowing good and evil.’ Then the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for eating, that it looked good to eat, and she desired for herself the wisdom that it could give her, so she took it and ate. And then she gave some to her husband, who also ate.” [2]

After the fall, Adam gave his wife the name of “Mother” (in Hebrew, Ava). “The man called his wife Eve because she was going to be the mother of everyone who lived.” [3]

Unfortunately for us, when Eve was seduced by the devil’s lies, our first mother had all the unborn humans in her womb. As a result, all humanity inherited sin and death. That woman, destined to be the mother of humanity, chose to give birth to a condemned race. One could consider that terrible mistake as a first and massive abortion. Interestingly, our word “abortion” comes from two Latin words, ab (outside, ripped out) and hortus / ortus (garden / birth) ‘what is outside the garden’ or ‘what does not bloom’. Adam and Eve were justly judged for their disobedience and were thrown out of the Garden of Eden carrying all their descendants in tow.

The race condemned to death by the envy of one mother had to be rescued by the generous gift of another Mother, Mary of Nazareth. Just as Eve in the Garden of Eden coveted the fruit of the tree (Gr. xylon) and brought upon herself and her husband the judgment of God; the night before the Crucifixion, the Son of Mary had been arrested and violently taken out of the Garden of Gethsemane to face an unjust and unmerciful trial. Once at Calvary, Mary of Nazareth desired for herself the fruit of a much less desirable tree, the Cross (Gr. xylon, stavros) because in her pure and immaculate heart, our perfect mother desired for herself the pains of the Cross and wished to suffer in place of her Son. There we find a revelation: that therefore the fruit of the Cross must be equal to the wisdom of God to perfectly compensate the error that led Adam and Eve to original sin. What a profound mystery we have before us!

Juan Diego judged it well when, listening to the song of the birds in the Tepeyac, he thought that he had wandered into paradise, the original garden of his ancestors. Through that humble macehual, Mary was going to invite the Mexican people to the delights of heavenly life. Those who one day were deceived and walked away from God and salvation, were now invited to retrace their steps, following Mary who would lead them to Jesus and salvation. That meant entering with her into battle against evil. The Mexican eagle was now going to fight alongside Our Lady of Guadalupe against the original serpent.

Throughout history, the enemy of God has been preparing for the final battle. He knows he is going to lose but his will is fixed on rebellion. He cannot repent or surrender. When the final battle comes, the enemy wants to have all the troops he can gather. The most rebellious of his fallen angels have been prisoners in deep wells of darkness since the days of Noah’s Flood.[4] As the day of battle approaches, the devil must set them free. In a grotesque mockery of God’s redemptive love, he has recruited many human mothers to offer the innocent blood of their unborn children to help the cause of the demons. The devil has cajoled and connived millions of mothers into the practice of abortion. A few of those mothers know perfectly well what they’re doing but most of them continue to be fooled just like Eve was.

In our days, the demonic forces have many human allies. The devil has blinded the leaders of mankind into making rapid changes to social structures built with the experience of millennia. As a result, societies across the globe are becoming brittle. The continuous assault of Cultural Marxism has redefined the role of men, women, children, education, sexual mores, etc. all at once without any regard to consequences. One among many undesirable results of birth control and legal abortion is quite evident among those living in the so-called developed countries: while birth rates drop, immigration grows. Europeans are importing population from Africa and the Middle East to replace their own young ones that will never be born. Americans are likewise importing young Latin Americans. This is simply a huge population replacement operation. The present generations are giving away the future to have a better life today at any cost. Can you see the parallel with Eve, who sacrificed everything she had by taking what amounted to a suicidal shortcut?

The West is now at a crossroads. All those evil actions have caused too much discontent. Some of the Spanish conquerors of Mexico thought it was easy to defeat and enslave a group of savages to enrich themselves quickly. The result was a societal collapse so fast that it could have resulted in the total loss of the Mexican nation. Thank God for one faithful Bishop. That is all it took to solve the problem: one good heart, two knees, and prayer.

Much has been prophesied about the moral condition of the world before the Second Coming of Our Lord. We are told to expect an unprecedented and massive outbreak of evil that will spread chaos, sedition, revolution, war, and all manner of human suffering on a worldwide scale. We are told to expect apostasy and schism in the Church as darkness sets in upon the world and the devil deceives most of mankind to reject truth and accept his lies. Yet, we are told that a small remnant will not fall for that deception because they will be heeding the Lord’s warning: “Gird yourselves and have your lamps burning; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door to receive him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds on the watch…”[5]

The fall of Tenochtitlan and the conquest of Mexico can be used as an eschatological scale model. The Church was going through the pains of the Reformation, and the parallelism between the Aztec culture and today’s Western culture are really hard to miss. The crisis in Mexico reached a point of no return, forcing Bishop Zumarraga to conclude that only a supernatural intervention could solve the dire situation. It may come to pass that we have to live through a replay of the fall of Tenochtitlan, this time on a global scale.

One day, the Church will pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many. For those who are prepared, those trials will not come as a surprise. It happened to the early Church, and it was registered in the Gospels so that we learn the lesson and know how to act when our time comes. The day when Christ was crucified on Mount Calvary all his apostles—except one—deserted him, the first Pope denied him three times, and one of His bishops committed suicide. The one that faithfully stood by the Cross was the youngest, the one that only a few hours earlier had heard the soft and steady beating of the Sacred Heart while his head was resting on his Master’s chest. That was John, the beloved disciple, the Son of Thunder, the Soaring Eagle. John’s young soul was not prepared for the kind of darkness that descended on them after the Last Supper. Everyone around him failed, except Jesus’ mother and yet he did not fail. He did not “form his own church” to separate from the others who had abandoned their Master. Later, after the Resurrection, John did not question the authority of Peter or any of the other Apostles.[6]GAROL-ENG-E

John was able to remain faithful to the bitter end because he was close to Mary. When darkness comes and even the Church and the Pope fail to reflect the light of Christ, we have to remember the example of John. Those who remain close to Mary will be given the strength to be faithful: “When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing, he said to his mother: ‘Woman, behold thy son.’ After that, he said to the disciple: ‘Behold thy mother.’ And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own home.”[7] On a different mountain, far away from Calvary both in time and space, Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, the Speaking Eagle, was given the same privilege, to have the Mother of Our Lord as his own mother when he heard these words from Our Lady of Guadalupe: “Am I not here? Am I not your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms?” Only after receiving that extraordinary personal grace, Juan Diego was given the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He also took her to his own home.

When the river issuing from the mouth of the dragon threatens to drown us all, when all that is firm and steady collapses all around us and we are standing alone before the Cross, we will take strength in Our Lady just like John, Juan Diego, the Christian fighters of Lepanto, and many others who had to face their own personal apocalypse. The river of impurity and death issuing from the devil is countered by this other river of light, not the literal Guadalupe River in Spain but the river of countless graces flowing from the blessed hands of Our Lady. She will generously dispense those graces and help us heal our world if we only ask her.

[1] Isaiah 66: 8.

[2] Genesis 3:4-6.

[3] Genesis 3:20.

[4] St Jude 6 – “And the angels who did not keep their own position, but left their proper dwelling, [God] has kept in eternal chains in deepest darkness for the judgment of the great day.”

[5] Luke 12: 35-40.

[6] See John 20: 3-8 when John arrives first at the empty tomb. He does not enter first but respectfully waits for Peter to arrive.

[7] John 19: 26-27.