Monday, December 19, 2016

Guadalupe Mysteries (Ignatius Press)

Our Lady of Guadalupe is a major Feast Day in the Catholic Church that is celebrated on December 12th. Her image is one of the most revered symbols among Catholics in both Mexico and the United States. Recently Ignatius Press released a book that could be described as an "illustrated pilgrimage." It is entitled Guadalupe Mysteries, and I would like to tell you about it.

The book begins with a prologue on both the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the shrine. It then provides us with a timeline spanning from 1474 (the birth of Juan Diego) to 2003 (the founding of the Higher Institute for Guadalupian Studies). The first chapter tells us briefly about Talking Eagle, later known as Juan Diego and his conversion thanks to Franciscan missionaries. We then learn more about the Franciscans, their missionary work, and the Indian people they converted. This provides us an appropriate context for understanding the life of Juan Diego. The chapter then provides us with a detailed account of the Virgin Mary appearing to Juan Diego.

The second chapter, the most interesting to me by far, deals with the meaning behind all the symbols in the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. There are eighteen symbols in this image the specific colors and symbols each meant something specific to the Aztec people. The middle chapters discussed the history of the Aztecs and the conquest of the Europeans. The later chapters further detail how this image proved to be a challenge for science, the very cool hidden image within Our Lady's eyes, and how the tilma has proven indestructible, even though it should have decomposed after just a few years.

Guadalupe Mysteries continues the rich series of books by Grzegorz Gorny. Mr. Gorny is bringing the riches of the Church to our fingertips with his in-depth research and gorgeously illustrated books. While it is not exactly the same as going to see these relics and treasures in person, it could be considered the next best thing. I'm sure these books will find a lovely home on the coffee table of many Catholic homes, and that would be a good place to display them. But I implore you to use them for more than decoration and use them to deepen your faith. Be sure to check out his other books Witnesses to Mystery, Trust, and the newest one Three Kings, Ten Mysteries, which I will be reviewing on Friday.

This book was provided to me for free by Ignatius Press in exchange for an honest review.