Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mary and Islam

I stumbled upon this today while searching for how Muslims view Mary. Check out the whole thing here. It is a full-circle type thing (and involves Fatima too)! Happy Birthday Mary (even if i'm a bit late)
As the Moslems swept through Spain in the 8th century, a great religious treasure was buried for safe-keeping in the earth, high in the Estremadura Mountains. It was a much venerated statue of Our Lady holding the Divine Child Jesus that was a gift of Pope Gregory the Great to Bishop Leander of Seville. After the overthrow of Moorish occupation, the image was uncovered in the year 1326, subsequent to a vision of Our Lady to a humble shepherd by the name of Gil. Our Lady's very special statue was enshrined in a nearby Franciscan Monastery next to the "Wolf River."
The Moslems, during their Spanish occupation, had actually named the river. The Islamic term for Wolf River is "Guadalupe" (Guada = River; Lupe = Wolf). Hence, the famous Catholic image in Spain has been known, since the 14th century, by the Islamic name of "Our Lady of Guadalupe."
In the fullness of time, we can be sure that Almighty God knew that the Islamic religion would pose a serious threat to Christianity. God also knew that the Spanish missionaries would face grave resistance in the "new world" from the mighty Aztec Indians. The Aztecs worshipped an evil stone "serpent god" that demanded human sacrifice. It was extremely difficult to win souls for Christ from these bloodthirsty savages. However, with God all things are possible. Our Lady appeared to a humble Aztec Indian convert by the name of Juan Diego in 1531. When asked her name by Juan Diego, at the request of the local bishop, Our Lady's response, in the Aztec language, included the words "te coatlaxopeuh" (pronounced: "te quatlasupe") and meant "one who crushes the head of the stone serpent."
To Juan Diego and his fellow Aztecs, this revelation had great meaning, coupled with the miraculous image of Our Lady standing on top of a "crescent," the symbol of this evil serpent god. A tidal wave of conversions to Catholicism ensued. However, Bishop Zumarraga, who was from Spain, made what was no doubt a "heavenly mistake" that one day may lead to the mass conversion of Moslems. To the Bishop's Spanish ears, Our Lady's Aztec name of "Te Quatlasupe" sounded just like the name of the revered Madonna from Spain with the Islamic name, "Guadalupe." Hence, the bishop named the Mexican Madonna "Our Lady of Guadalupe." It is interesting that the "crescent" is also the symbol for Islam and that America's Shrine to Our Lady has an Islamic name.


  1. Great post Ruth!

    However, there are a couple of things that are not entirely true (though they do not discredit the overall message) and that I would like to correct.

    They are mainly misconceptions about the Aztecs. First of all, they didn't offer human sacrifices to an "evil stone 'serpent god'". Though they did have a god who was supposed to be a feathered serpent (named Quetzalcoatl), the actual sacrifices (or a certain type of them, they had many different kinds each with a specific objective) were offered to the Sun-god. The whole purpose of these sacrifices was to "feed" the sun so it would keep on rising every day. It was a way of keeping the world in existence.

    Second of all, I would not consider the Aztecs to be savages. They were a highly civilized people. Among the many prehispanic peoples they were probably some of the least civilized but they were definitely not savages. Though technologically inferior to the Europeans, they were civilized enough to impress the Spaniards on their arrival (the chronicles of the Conquistadors witness to this) and the missionaries tried to build upon this.

    It is true that human sacrifices seem to us as something that only savages would do, but we must remember that many highly civilized cultures have had an extreme disregard for human life. Sparta, a part of the highly civilized Greece, practiced infanticide; Carthage, considered by many to have been more civilized than Rome, practiced human sacrifices of children. The Romans themselves killed thousands not as a sacrifice but as entertainment. Civilization without God (specifically the Christian God) inevitably leads to a lack of respect for human life. Look at our own societies. We are a product of the Enlightenment, which was supposed to be the highest point of civilization and look at how many people we kill. Abortion itself has killed more innocent people than the Aztecs could have ever imagined. At least the Aztecs had a reason for what they did (however erroneous it was), what reason do we have?

    Our Lady of Guadalupe managed to stop these human sacrifices once, there's no reason to believe she can't do it once more!

    Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn, pray for us!

  2. Ruth, I love your new blog layout!

    Oddly enough, I was reading about Our Lady of Guadalupe, Extremadura (the Spanish version of Our Lady of Guadalupe) recently when doing research on Our Lady of Guadalupe. Have you ever seen the Spanish Our Lady of Guadalupe? Here's a link

    Our Lady of Guadalupe, Extremadura

  3. Alejandro, i agree with your corrections. I didn't write this (it's from a EWTN info page). in fact, when I read it, I laughed at the savages part. maybe when they say savages, they simply mean non-Christian? But in any case, it certainly isn't an unbiased report, but I still thought it worth sharing. I do hope the "te coatlaxopeuh" name isn't a stretch, because I thought that was really cool.

    I'm sure Mother Mary will have a major part in restoring respect for life, and particularly the unborn.

    Ross, I didn't even know there was a Spanish Our Lady of Guadalupe! How awesome is that?! Thanks for the link, it's a very interesting statue. Do you know what she is holding?

  4. Yeah, I read the whole thing on EWTN. I just wanted to correct those two issues though, because some people might try to discard the whole thing because of minor errors.

    Oh Ruth, if you knew all the things about Our Lady of Guadalupe... the name is only one of so many things that are mind blowing! We could talk about it FOR-EV-ER! (Sandlot quote)

  5. FOR-EV-VER!! well, if I ever get to talk to you again, this will be on the lengthy topic list ; )

    btw, i just had a conversation today about how the only girls who quote movies are engineers. and sadly, i couldn't think of any evidence otherwise. Sandlot is such a great movie!!!!! (let's watch that too!)