DEC 26, 2001
When I realized that I had been visited by The Virgin of Guadalupe on September 23, 2001 after seeing a photograph of the Virgin in the Houston Chronicle on December 12, 2001, which was the 470th anniversary of the Virgins appearance to Juan Diego, I decided to confer Sainthood on Sr. Diego for I knew without a doubt that he was indeed worthy.
When my associate, Fred Krueger, the director of Caring for Creation, learned of this event he informed me that he had studied the Amerindian background of the miracle and had written a short dissertation on the subject.
When I received Rev. Kruegers study I was amazed to learn that Sr. Diego was actually a Native American with an Aztec cultural heritage and that the Virgin of Guadalupe came to him in the form of an Indian Princess.
On the morning of December 16, 2001, I took my eldest daughter and her friend from Maryland who had flown down to attend services at the Holy Trinity Wilderness Cathedral, on a walk through the adjacent Great Spirit Wilderness. When we arrived at Alligator Landing I heard a chickadee calling and told everyone to be still and I would attempt to call the birds which normally congregate with chickadees.
Usually when I call the birds to come forth to me, the chickadees begin to scold in a loud voice. This time there was silence. Suddenly an eagle flew straight toward us and made almost a complete circle around us before flying on. I immediately thought of the Indian name of Juan Diego, Calling Eagle and knew at once that another strange convergence on this holy ground had taken place.
When we arrived at Princess Point we discovered that at least 75 beautiful Pelicans were perching on floating logs just offshore and so quietly stalked them from the forest trails in order to take photographs.
That evening we attempted to reach Martyrs Point on The Holy Trinity Wilderness Cathedral where we normally begin our Sunday evening services at fifteen minutes before sunset. Heavy rains had made the Pilgrimage Trail impassable, even for the jeep in which we take my 90 year-old father and 86 year-old mother to church. We decided to conduct services from a pier which looks toward the cathedral from Emerald Point.
My father and my wife waited in the jeep while the rest of us stood on the pier. The gray clouds began to boil and the cat tails whipped and lashed in a precipitous gale. Had my umbrella not been destroyed by the maelstrom I would have ascended into the skies like Mary Poppins. Believe it or not, my mother caught me just before I would have been swept off the pier into the water.
Just as suddenly as the wind whipped up it died into an eerie calm without a breath of breeze. After about 30 seconds of perfect stillness, the entire top of a dead pine snapped and fell into the water along with a Great Blue Heron nest on its peak.
I glanced at my watch and this event occurred just at sunset and at the end of Ramadan. Later that evening we learned that a tornado had touched down just a short distance down the road from the cathedral, destroying fifteen houses. Apparently it passed just over our heads in the swirling clouds with little fingers of wind letting us know that God is still in ultimate charge of His Creation.
A few days later, I took our friend from Maryland, who also happens to be a Deacon in The Universal Ethician Church back to The Great Spirit Wilderness to look for Pelicans. When we arrived at Princess Point we walked past a thicket and heard some birds chirping. Determined to call them to me so that I could identify them I began to call. Once again I was met with silence instead of scolding. Within 30 seconds the eagle flew directly toward me at treetop level. Once again I had called the eagle and the Indian name of Saint Juan Diego jumped into the synapses of my mind.
What strange convergences!!! The Great Spirit Wilderness where Native Americans had lived for thousands of years. Princess Point where the eagle had come when I called. The Virgin of Guadalupe who visited Juan Diego in the form of an Aztec Princess. The Oriental Mona Lisa in the clouds. And then
On Christmas Day, I went to my offices which are just across the street from our home and in shuffling through some papers saw copies of the cover of a book and maps which had been mysteriously brought to me by friends from near Dallas whom I hadnt visited with or talked to in at least two years. The book they had brought me to look at was Latest Aztec Discoveries and the map was of a place called Aztlan which is just across the Holy Trinity River from our wilderness cathedral and Great Spirit Wilderness and incidentally just across from where I had seen the Virgin of Guadelupe in the clouds.
In addition there is an ancient Indian trail on The Great Spirit Wilderness which leads directly toward Aztlan on the other side of the original channel of The Holy Trinity River. The hugest American Holly I have ever seen still stands at the edge of the trail and we had planned to gather some of its branches for traditional Christmas decorations this season but never had time. Perhaps next year.
The friend who had brought this book for me to look at had no knowledge of our church, our mission, or my encounter with the Virgin. Our friendship was based on a common interest in folk art and our common friendship with the Rev. Johnnie Swearingen. We had never before discussed Aztecs or any other Indians or even the existence of the wilderness cathedral.
I went to the internet and typed in Aztlan Guadalupe and found the following: The Virgin of Guadalupe is appearing to people all over Mexico, California, Arizona, Utah, TEXAS, New Mexico, Nevada, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Shes appearing in all th places that used to be parts of Aztlan, the ancient kingdom of the Aztecs.
Further web surfing revealed that a book about Juan Diego has been written as well as a movie produced which calls him the Prince of Eden, which fits perfectly with our church mission of preserving and protecting Eden as commanded by God!!!
The last strange convergence discovered on Christmas Day was on a web site which stated that The Spanish Conquistadors were generally very cruel to the native peoples, but the Franciscan missionaries were very different. Juan and his people came to respect and admire them and eventually learned to see that the Christian way of life was better than the way of their traditions.
Remember: Saint Francis of Assisi is the Patron Saint of The Universal Ethician Church.
Juan Diego was canonized just one week before the Catholic Pope canonized him after a delay of over 400 years!!!
What other mysteries will God reveal to Ethicius and the Ethicians?
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