After my confession moment, I was on fire and, I will admit, a bit of a Jesus freak. I had experienced real joy for the first time and it was better than any bong hit I had ever taken.
I was now trying to spread Jesus with the same passion I previously had for dealing weed. Except now, instead of selling dime bags, I was handing out a pound of Jesus at a time.
At the time I worked at a warehouse, a huge building that seemed like a real life Azkaban . Absolutely no outside light could pierce through the thick cement walls and most of the workers seemed like all their happiness had been sucked out by a dementor. We were a collection of misfits, dropouts, and recent immigrants slaving away at delivering mundane things like baby diapers and laundry detergent all day long.
But now, even in this environment, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I was ready to talk with anyone about God. At my lunch breaks, I went from being the dude trying to get the hottie’s phone number to the warehouse evangelist chatting it up about Jesus with all my friends.
One lunch my friend Travis said, “There are all these miracles in the Bible but they don’t happen today. I maybe would believe if I saw some dude cured or something else miraculous.”
His statement had me stumped.
“Damn,” I thought. “Does Jesus still have his miracle mojo? Or, after 2,000 years, has his power run dry and now only has the ol’ pic-of-Mary-in-a-grilled-cheese trick in his bag?
If there was an answer to this question it had to be at my grandma’s house. She had everything Catholic in that place. Holy water fount? Check. Enough Jesus and Mary pictures to make even the Pope feel nervous? Double check.
I told her what Travis said and she knew what to do. “I have just the thing,” she said, as she handed me a book on modern day Catholic miracles. I hurried home and began to read it. I couldn’t put it down.
As I read I thought, “Holy sh*t! This is amazing! How come I haven’t heard about these things before??” Eat your heart out, David Blaine.
I couldn’t wait to get into work the next day to talk with Travis. We met again for lunch and I showed him some of the miracles I’d read about in the book. After I finished showing him, he said,
"Dude these make me feel good. They make me feel real good!"
Here’s one of the miracles that blew Travis’s and my mind that day at lunch.
Back in the day I would see this image in places like the shops where I got my tattoos and my grandma’s house. But I had no idea what it was. However, after reading the book, now I realize why this image became so popular that both grandmas and heavily tatted dudes alike would want to rep it.
In just six years, Jesus and Mary - appearing as Our Lady of Guadalupe - brought over NINE million people within modern day Mexico from human sacrifice and the most hideous evils, to a Rosary wearing, trying-to-love-your-neighbor-as-yourself society
with a miracle.
The book explained the details of this miracle and I shared it with Travis. The miracle happened in 1531, back when Aztec gods were the main divinities worshipped. The gods were explicitly satanic, including the hummingbird wizard: lover of human hearts and the drinker of blood. Needless to say, when your god loves a true bloody Mary after a hard day’s work, worship does not consist of holding hands and singing kumbaya.
The Aztec priests were specially trained in the quick (ie. 15 seconds flat) removal of the human heart from the body. They would sacrifice between 20,000 and 250,000 people, mostly children, every year. In the span of a four day “festival,” the Aztecs sacrificed an estimated 80,000 people (that is the death of a victim every 15 seconds for four days and four nights without a break).
A guy named Juan Diego witnessed this event.
Juan was on his way back from the Catholic Church, which was already in the country due to the Spanish invasion. Near there, Juan encountered a beautiful woman surrounded by an orb of light as bright as the sun. Speaking in his native tongue, the lady identified herself and said:
“My dear little son, I love you. I desire you to know who I am. I am the ever-virgin Mary, Mother of the true God who gives life and maintains its existence. He created all things. He is in all places. He is Lord of Heaven and Earth. I desire a church in this place where your people may experience my compassion. All those who sincerely ask my help in their work and in their sorrows will know my Mother’s Heart in this place. Here I will see their tears; I will console them and they will be at peace. So run now to Tenochtitlan and tell the Bishop all that you have seen and heard.”
Juan Diego went to the Catholic archbishop, but his story wasn’t trusted. Mary appeared again to Juan and gave him a sign for the unbelieving archbishop. She sent him to the top of a hill to cut flowers and bring them back to her. Mary arranged the flowers in Juan’s tilma, the cloak he wore, and when Juan dropped his tilma to reveal the flowers to the archbishop, the archbishop dropped to his knees.
This is what the archbishop saw on Juan’s tilma
Here are some of the scientific discoveries of the image since its appearance:
Made primarily of cactus fibers, a tilma was of very poor quality and had a rough surface, making it difficult enough to wear, much less to paint a lasting image on it. Nevertheless, the image remains, and scientists who have studied the image insist there was no technique used beforehand to treat the surface. The surface bearing the image is silk to the touch, while the unused portion of the tilma remains coarse. Through infrared photography, experts determined there was no brush strokes, as if the image was slapped into the surface all at once.
Adolfo Orozco, a physicist at the National University of Mexico, reported that in 1789 a duplicate was painted on a similar surface with the best techniques available at the time, then encased in glass and stored next to the real tilma – it lasted eight years before it faded and frayed; the real tilma is… 484 years (116 years with no protection and exposure to the humid and salty air of the temple)
Callahan, a Florida biophysicist, analyzed the tilma using infrared technology, he discovered that the tilma maintains a constant temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, the same as that of a living person.
Jose Aste Tonsmann, a Peruvian ophthalmologist, examined the eyes on the tilma at 2,500 times magnification. With the images of the magnified eyes, the scientist was able to identify as many as 13 individuals in both eyes at different proportions, just as the human eye would reflect an image. It appeared to be a snapshot of the very moment Juan Diego unfurled the tilma before the archbishop.
In 1785, a worker was cleaning the glass encasement of the image and he accidentally spilled strong nitric acid solvent onto a large portion of the image itself. The image and the rest of the tilma, which should have been eaten away almost instantly by the spill, self-restored over the next 30 days, and it remains unscathed to this day.
In 1921, an anti-clerical activist hid a bomb containing 29 sticks of dynamite in a pot of roses and placed it before the image inside the Basilica at Guadalupe. When the bomb exploded, the marble altar rail and windows from nearby homes were shattered. The tilma with the image of our Lady, and the glass case it was in, fell off the wall, but remained fully intact. Just as astonishing, a brass crucifix that was standing in front of the tilma was twisted and bent out of shape, perfectly laid out over the tilma – protecting the image.
I think this qualifies for still having mojo.