On The Hidden Mercy of the Tilma of Guadalupe

On the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, it is a chance for us to rejoice in the great mercy of our divine Lord and our blessed Lady. I am drawn to mediate on the miraculous quality of our Lady’s eyes on the tilma.

As many of you know, recent discoveries using modern magnification and ophthalmological equipment have shown the seemingly miraculous reflection of as many as a dozen persons in her eyes. How such tiny and accurate reflections could occur in both eyes at just the angles that human stereoscopic sight requires is mysterious to say the least. Even more, there are claims from eye specialists who have had the opportunity to look into our Lady’s eyes on the tilma that they have an iridescence that make the eyes seem almost alive.

I do not propose to write an article here on all the findings and evidence. You can read more our Lady’s eyes HERE and HERE and also in the video below. Rather I propose a short and simple reflection on two merciful facts.

First that our this image demonstrates, in effect that God’s people are the “apple of Mary’s eyes.” Seen there are Juan Diego, the bishop and an assistant, an indigenous family, a woman from Africa and several others. Remarkable; in her own self-portrait, our Lady includes us. In the book of Psalms the cry goes up to God,

Wondrously show your steadfast love,
O Savior of those who seek refuge
from their adversaries at your right hand.

Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings (Psalm 17:7-8

Deuteronomy also says of God,

He found Israel in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled them, he cared for them, he kept them as the apple of his eye. (Dt 32:10)

And by his Grace, our Lord has often dispatched his mother to us. She finds un in difficult days, and in difficult places, speaking to us in love and sometimes in motherly warning. But, by the grace of God we are the apple of her eye too.

She came to Guadalupe at difficult time, to summon the Mexicans from the fearsome religious bondage of their ancient and often bloody religions, to Christ, their true and only Savior. The image on the tilma shows so many reflected in her eyes, reflected in love. They were the apple of her eye.

May our Lord be pleased to continue to send Mother Mary to us and remind us that we are loved and that heaven knows our struggles and is concerned for us. May none of us every forget that we are still reflected in Mary’s eyes and in the eyes of God to whom she intercedes for us. What a beautiful mercy.

And the second mercy is that images in her eyes, unknown for centuries in any detail seem to have been put there for us, who live now, to later discover. The same can be said for the Shroud of Turin. It is as if, knowing of cynical and unbelieving times where the physical sciences are almost idolized, Our Lord and our Lady left images that both speak to science and also confound it.  How were the image made? How do they have three dimensional effects and display scientific knowledge or techniques unknown in their time? 

Both the shroud and the tilma stand up to rigorous scientific investigation. The amazing truths about both images are backed up by science but also defy simple scientific or technical answers. Many of the “imponderable” mysteries were largely unknown in previous eras without photographic and scientific procedures and techniques. It is almost as if they were hidden there, waiting for us.

And that may in fact be the case. It is a love letter to a scientific but often unbelieving time. Despite our sometimes cynical demands for evidence, to our Lord and our Lady, we are still the apple of their eye. They look to us from afar, from an ancient shroud and very old tilma and they seem to say, “I am here for you to see. And I see you, you whom I love. You are the apple of my eye.” 

For such mercies, thank you Lord.

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