On occasion, our Grace Before Meals movement will send out some “Blasts from the Past,” not only because the messages are still relevant today, but it also helps us remember how far we’ve come! Post something by clicking here.
The Blood & The Rose Finally Complete!
It’s the end of July, which means it is nearing the end of summer and the end of these Blasts From The Past. But I wanted to commemorate and congratulate my good friend and producer of Grace Before Meals, Tim Watkins, who has just completed work on his film about Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe, “The Blood & The Rose”! It has been 6 years in development, but it has all come together beautifully. The film is narrated by Eduardo Verastegui, who starred in “Bella” and more recently, “For Greater Glory” and was produced by Steve McEveety, who produced “The Passion Of The Christ”. You can check out an older trailer below by clicking the picture. And keep up with the film by checking it out on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr!
Watch the trailer for “The Blood & The Rose”, finally complete!
Interested in Screening the Film?
Now that the movie is finished, the next step is to set up screenings in cities across the US. The hope is to have large events to screen the film, have speakers present on Mary and our role as “Messenger Eagles” to share our faith, and the chance to celebrate the Holy Mass. If this is something you would be interested in getting involved with, please email email@example.com to find out how to bring this important film to your city.
Since it has been 6 years, I thought it would be good to look back at when the film was first being developed back in 2007. The following eBlast was originally sent out on the Feast Day for Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12, so you will notice references to Advent and Christmas. Additionally, some of the original links do not exist anymore, but it does not change the importance of this miracle for the Catholic faith and the effect it has had on millions. And when you consider that Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of both the Americas and the Philippines, I am certainly glad to share her message for all to hear. God bless!
Our Lady of Guadalupe – December 12
Originally posted December 12, 2007
First, a bit of history: It was December 9, 1531, when a humble Mexican Indian convert Juan Diego first saw a mysterious vision of a woman. He was on his way to daily mass, passing a hill known as Tepeyac, in Mexico. The vision occurred again the next day. Each of the two days he was asked by the woman to relay a message, a request to build a church on that spot. Both times he was turned down by Bishop Zummeraga. As Juan Diego begged for the woman to make her request to a man of more importance, she insisted that Juan Diego go once more – this time, though, she gave him proof. She instructed him to pick the flowers on the hill and bring them to the Bishop. Juan Diego once again stood before the Bishop, and as he unfurled his cactus cloth tilma to expose the flowers an image was revealed. This was the sign to convince the Bishop and Juan Diego of the authenticity of this heavenly message…and the messenger. This image is determined to be the Virgin Mary, the mother of God. Prayerful devotion to the message of peace and holiness from this woman is known as “Our Lady of Guadalupe.” The shrine, now located on that very hill of the first apparition, is one of the most celebrated pilgrimages in North America, and devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe has brought about countless conversions to the Faith, miraculous healings, and a sense of a heavenly presence from a spiritual mother in Heaven.
Fast-forward to the Spring of 2006: the producer of Grace Before Meals, Tim Watkins – a faithful man and good friend, was invited to produce a documentary on this incredible story. Even though I studied Mariology, the study of Mary’s life and veneration to Her, I did not know much of the information Tim uncovered in his research. There is so much to this amazing phenomena, it will take a serious act of God’s Grace to produce this film. And their production team is working hard, even now, to be instruments of God’s Grace!
At one point in the production, Tim and the film crew were invited to the Shrine in Mexico to capture the various parts of the history and the life of faith on film, including an up close view of this sacred image. A small group was invited to go into the vault, where the image is mechanically drawn away from the Shrine’s apse, in order to view the image up close and in private. I was fortunate enough to be part of that small group! The sense of faith evoked from this image was difficult to describe. I can just say it was a beautiful moment.
Unfortunately, many could dismiss this icon as a piece of “mediocre” art, especially if they do not study its importance. Thank God enough attention was paid to this “stamped” image on poorly constructed fiber. The fact that the image and the cloth have endured almost 500 years has mystified the scientific community. This image is in much better shape than the Declaration of Independence! Consider the scientific studies that discovered images of historical people in the cornea of the image’s eye. Check out the NASA research of the constellation contained in the vesture of the image that documents the position of the stars on the exact day of the apparition. And read up on the accuracy of Mexico’s historical topography embedded in the designs of the image’s clothing, and you’ll realize there’s more to this image than meets the eye.
The image shows a woman with a belt situated under her bosom. This demonstrates the woman is pregnant – she is full of Life! Therefore, theologically, this image represents the sacred dignity of life, which we will celebrate in a special way on December 25. A four-leaf flower petal – the only four-leaf flower in the whole image – is situated perfectly on her belly, the spot of the unborn child. Cultural historians explain this flower image as a symbol of divinity and kingship. The stars that decorate this four-leaf flower make up the constellation “Leo”, as the lion is king of the jungle. Could it be the Divine Artist was describing for the natives how the child in her womb is the “King,” the Lion of Judah, Jesus Christ – Divinity Incarnate!
This miraculous image could not have come at a better time for the native people of that land. Historically, this image represents the turning of the tide from the brutal bloodshed of human sacrifices done to appease the false gods worshiped at the nearby temples. Now, this new King, quietly resting in the womb of the woman, will want bloody sacrifices no more. In fact, he will demand the exact opposite: Let Life Live! The virginal image of this tilma and the virginal image of this Holy Season of Advent remind us Mary chose life. No wonder this image has become the symbol for the Pro-Life movement.
Every December 12, the Catholic world, especially the Spanish-speaking community, celebrates this great feast in honor of this mysterious but hopeful image. Could it be just a silly pious tradition surrounding an historical image? Or could the celebration of this feast, less than 2 weeks from Christmas, be a heavenly reminder that Life is the greatest gift we can receive? This image and this universal celebration of the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe cannot come at a better time for our own people, right here and now! In our society, where people forget life is a gift and that a wrong choice can lead to an abortion and terminate the life of an unborn baby, this image reminds us we can fall into the temptation of being false gods too. When we consider the number of abortions in our modern culture, we can see how we are not unlike the bloody culture of the past, willing to perform “human sacrifices” for the sake of convenience and to protect our own comforts. One modern thinker has even gone so far as to say children are dangerous to the Earth’s resources. [Editors note: Dead link] Thank God for the enduring message from the silent witness of Juan Diego’s tilma!
In preparation for the Holy Season of Christmas, when the image of the Woman with Child brings joy, peace, and hope, can we remember to do all we can to help pregnant women in need? Should we not remind every man, starting from a young age, his responsibility to care for the mother of his child and to be a part of the birthing and raising of the child (as St. Joseph did)? By our prayerful witness, can we help raise appropriate awareness in our politicians – as public servants – of the issues that are primarily moral, especially in regards to the first principals of the dignity of human life from conception to natural death!
The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is another perfect image and symbol of Advent, for she waits for her child to be born. And those who look at this image with devotion can also anticipate with joy the coming of her Son – who gives Life to the world!
A Mexican Sweet Treat: Bunuelos
I was looking for a recipe that would be proper to the Mexican culture, especially in light of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I asked Christopher Ortega, a seminarian for the diocese of Savannah, who has a Mexican heritage, what type of treat he would like to eat to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe. He mentioned his mother’s Bunuelos – a crispy tortilla with either a sugar cane glaze or powdered sugar. Thanks again to Chris and his mother for sharing their recipe! For the recipe, [click here].
A Prayer for Life!
This Blast is not intended to make people feel guilty, but to help people understand some choices can kill an innocent child. Mary in the Nativity scene and Mary in the Guadalupe image would never call that Life in her womb a simple cluster of cells. She would call that living entity her child! In today’s culture, where life is treated without dignity – as witnessed by the hostility a child faces in the womb, the rejection the poor experience, the neglect of the sick and elderly, and the early termination of life because it can pose challenges and inconveniences – we need to listen to the silent witness of Juan Diego’s tilma. Perhaps it may be a good meditation to put up this image in your home, near your Nativity Scene – so we not only celebrate the Life when born, but also when the Life is conceived!
Let us pray:
God our power and mercy, You blessed the Americas at Tepeyac with the presence of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. May her prayers help all men and women to accept each other as brothers and sisters. Through your justice present in our hearts may Your peace reign in the world. We ask this through Christ our Lord! Amen.
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