Sunday, December 08, 2013

Tequantlaxopeuh and the Immaculate Conception

Today, December 8, is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. I've never heard anyone make the connection, but it is fitting that this solemnity be so close to the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12.

The appearance of the Virgin in Mexico in 1531 to the Aztec, Juan Diego, is the only apparition in which the Virgin leaves an image of herself, but more importantly, her name: Tequantlaxopeuh (pronounced “Tequetalope”), which translates: “She who crushes the stone serpent.” The stone serpent was the dreaded Aztec god, Quetzalcoatl, to whom were offered tens of thousands of still beating hearts gouged out of living chests. 

The name correlates directly with the woman of Genesis 3:15: "I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed, and she will crush thy head while you lie in wait for her heel."

Genesis 3:15 provided the basis for the belief in Mary's sinlessness and was eventually dogmatically enshrined in 1854:

“ the most holy Virgin, united with him by a most intimate and indissoluble bond, was, with him and through him, eternally at enmity with the evil serpent, and most completely triumphed over him, and thus crushed his head with her immaculate foot.” - Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, December 8, 1854

Sadly, post Vatican II translators, in order not offend other Christians, retranslated our modern bibles to to read "he" (not she). Here's the reading you will hear rom the pulpit: "he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.” In fact, Satan is not even crushed in this version. 

Regardless of the scriptural revisionists, the Virgin has most often been depicted in every form of art standing on the head of the serpent, crushing the devourer - literal translation of Genesis 3:15 etched in stone, you could say.

The revisions didn't end there though. Post Vatican II translators got rid of the words "full of grace" from Luke 1:24, and replaced them with "favored one" or something similarly innocuous.  In fact, until 1997, when John Paul II made us put them back, the words "full of grace" were not even used in the Gospel of December 8, the very day we celebrate her being "full of grace." 

But the mandate was only for the readings of that day. Your Catholic bible probably still just says "favored one." What a mess we have been given by the church of "We know better than you. " 

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