I’d like to add to your excellent Guadalupe article (Dec. 23). God endowed the Lady of Guadalupe image with miraculous properties because he so wanted its messages embraced in all times, best understood by first reviewing some scientifically established features.

The image expresses Aztec iconography artfully, but artists find it impossible to reproduce. The cactus fiber bearing the image is porous and rough, lacking the backing essential to applying paint. Regardless, no bleeding between colors occurs. No brush strokes are detected. Spectroscopic analysis cannot detect any known pigment or mineral. After 485 years, colors haven’t faded. The fiber hasn’t deteriorated, as typical after 10-30 years. The image exhibits living characteristics, such as temperature of 98.6°F regardless of environment.

The Aztecs grasped the familiar cultural symbols in the image. She was a virgin (hair parted in the middle, and combed straight); yet, pregnant (black ribbon sash worn high) with the God above all other gods (symbolized by the 4-petaled quincunx flower on her full womb); of royal lineage (flowing blue-green mantle, a color only royalty wore); a follower of the missionaries’ God (black cross on her neck broach); at prayer with folded hands and lowered eyes, but also in a culturally significant dance posture (knee bent, right foot forward; just like Aztecs, who expressed their most fervent prayers in ceremonial dance); eclipsing their false sun god (the rays that surround her; cf. Rev 12:1,19); crushing their false serpent god, Quetzalcoatl, to whom many human sacrifices were offered, because she stood on Quetzalcoatl’s symbol, the black moon.

She speaks to us just as to the Aztecs. Give up the gods of disordered, misguided human appetites which only bring dissipation and misery (cf. Gal 5:1). Return to the true God who alone can satisfy the longings of the human spirit!

Claude Culross

Baton Rouge