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Las Lajas, Libya & Burgundy

Our Lady of Las Lajas


I have an atheist friend who will not believe the story of the image of Our Lady of Las Lajas and insists it is a painting. Do you have any more information about those geologists who bored into the rock?

      Thank you.

      Fr. J.A.

TIA responds:

Fr. J.A.,

As the story of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Las Lajas became better known, skeptics like your friend made the accusation that the Dominican priests who had been evangelizing the region in the 18th century painted the figures of Our Lady and the Christ Child on the rock. These objections about the authenticity of the painting of Our Lady of Las Lajas led to tests on the rocks..

Several bore holes were drilled into the rock to remove small bits of the picture. Geologists who examined the rock noted that there was no paint or other pigment on the rock. The colors making the painting are the natural colors of the rock. No other tests have since been conducted on the rock.

This information comes from the work Historia de Nuestra Señora de Las Lajas (Pasto, Colombia: Tipografía y Litografía Cabrera, 1980).

We would suggest your friend to get this work to learn more about the scientific testing.


      TIA correspondence desk


The U.S. Allies in Libya…


So folks… watch this video to see what the USA helped establish in Libya and is sabre rattling to do also in Syria.

It’s called the Muslim Brotherhood and they not only hate Jews, but everyone else who does not go along with their plans for world domination. And our government is helping set them up.



Viaticum in Burgundy

Dear Editor,

The description of the painting titled The Viaticum in Burgundy is very rich in details that I admit to have not noticed at first glance. The whole scene is truthful, for I remember to have seen it with my own eyes when I lived with my grandparents as a little boy in Cluny. I even remember the sound of the clogs that pounded the ground during the processions, as well as the biretta of the priests. I thank you for bringing to your readership such a picture of times alas past.

I point out to you a technical error: Burgundy is not in the north of France, but in its south-east center, with the town of Dijon being its capital. Bois-le-Roi was at the northern part of the land that once belonged to the powerful Duke of Burgundy. It is Normandy that stands at the North, a land that was given to the Vikings (the "Men of the North" in order to appease them, and stop them from raiding the area around Paris).

Burgundy was born with the splitting of the Empire of Charlemagne. Having three sons, he divided his Empire into three kingdoms, with Burgundy being between a then smaller France and Germany. Burgundy was often at war with France, and -  alas - the Duke sided with the English Protestants during the Hundred Years' War. It was Bishop Cauchon, from Burgundy, who condemned St. Joan of Arc to be burned at the stake in Rouen. …

Burgundy has always played a role in the History of the Church, be it for the better or the worse. For example Cluny, with St. Hugh the Abbot, became the largest Abbey in the world until St. Peter's Basilica was built (the Basilica of Rome is only a few feet larger, for Rome wanted to make a point in surpassing Cluny). Then there is the very holy place of Parray le Monial, where the devotion of the Sacred Heart started.

There is also an infamous place, which is only minutes away from Cluny, and this is Taizé. … I recall going to Taizé in 1973. It was the beginning of dark moments of my life. I had a Protestant "girl-friend". I recall a strange smell around the campfires during the evening where everyone enjoyed the sounds of guitar accompanying the songs of Bob Dillan and Joan Bæz. Some years later, after emmigrating to California, I realized that this strange smell was that of marijuana. There is in San Francisco a French priest who was in Taizé during that dark time, but alas for him, as well as for his flock, he has not reneged on the spirit of Taizé.

The Viaticum is perhaps the most important Communion, because, as your article spells it out, it is a provision for the longest journey, from earth to eternity. I recall the story of a certain archdeacon from Lyon who resigned from his position in order to live a holier life. So, he went in a desert place until his death. He died the same day at the same hour as St. Bernard.

Shortly after his death, he appeared to his former boss, the Bishop of Lyon, and said to him: "Know, Your Excellency that at the time of my death 35,000 died also. Bernard and I are in Heaven, and three are in Purgatory." This sobering news meant that out of five, with the exception of those children who went to Limbo, the vast majority went straight to Hell.

The Viaticum was the sole provision for the souls during the time of St. Bernard,  when daily devotion and piety were the norm. The Viaticum in Burgundy's painting stresses the importance of performing the charity of bringing Christ as food to the soul of a dying man, no matter the weather conditions nor the adversity met.

I personally recall having been refused the Last Sacrament by my Nova Soto Pastor some years ago when faced with danger, but instead he recommended medical treatments.  I also recall Nova Soto priests making fun of the past, as well as being glad to be relieved of the discomfort of the traditional habit, as well as of being "spared the work of saying the Latin Mass". We all have heard from the pulpit of the New Church that "God knows our heart" (therefore why pray at all!), or again that "we no longer need those superstitions of the past," and so on.

The Sacrament of the Last Rites is no laughing matter. Our Lord's last words on the Cross were to commend His spirit to the Father. The Viaticum follows the example of the Son of God, in the sense that the dying person is preparing for the final journey before taking leave of the earth, and recommending his soul to God the Father in Heaven.

I thank TIA for all the good works you have done for the Church.

     In Christ,


Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted March 27, 2012

The opinions expressed in this section - What People Are Commenting - do not necessarily express those of TIA