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Black Velvet
December 16, 2012 – 3:09 pm | 17 Comments

Childhood memories are vivid, almost indescribable in their detail, and impossible to forget. A Christmas memory I have is that of a black velvet dress  a family friend gave to me for my seventh Christmas.
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The Miracle Eyes of Jesus

Submitted by on September 22, 2011 – 12:03 pm40 Comments

sacred heart of jesus by katybate on flickr

“I don’t know,” I shook my head, whispering, “You go, you’re the oldest, and the boy.”

I was speaking to my older brother, Pachito. He was 6, I was 5. It was night time, and I didn’t want to be the first to cross the darkened dining room to get to our beds. To do that would mean we’d have to pass what hung on our wall, the picture with the All Seeing Eyes of Jesus.

Like in all good Hispanic homes, we had a giant heavy framed portrait of the Sacred Heart of Jesus nailed to the middle of the wall in the dining room. The belief is that to the home that hangs this particular picture of Jesus, of el Sagrado Corazon, eternal protection is granted. Better than any ADT electronic home security service, and with no hefty monthly fee.

It was this portrait that my brother and I had to pass each night to get to our rooms upstairs.

For those who are unfamiliar with this depiction of Christ, it’s the one where our Divine Savior is offering up His red beating heart to us, dotted with drops of blood from where it has been pierced by its own tiny crown of thorns, cupped in the creamy white palm of His hand.

Stephen King has nothing on my childhood.

Nuestro Senor was just fine during the day, when surrounded by daylight, family, friends. But at bedtime, Our Lord’s eyes followed us everywhere, with that live heart in His hand. One of the bravest things my brother and I did every single night was to dart faster than field mice across the black dining room, past those All Seeing Eyes.

I would bet that every Hispanic reading this, those who grew up in a typical Spanish household, knows what I am talking about.  Those Miracle Eyes of Jesus, the eyes in that portrait that followed you everywhere.

I am not one who likes to encourage stereotypes, but one thing I’d place bets on is the strength of a Hispanic home’s faith.

There is a seed of truth to the jokes showing signs of the cross being made in the air as our children leave to go somewhere, or our Abuelas whispering novenas when life calls upon them to do so.

We are a praying, worshipful culture. The memories I have of growing up include the peaceful murmurings of my Abuela as she passed the pepitas on her rosary. I’d sit on her lap, with my head against her chest, and listen as she’d softly say the words to each bead as they’d pass her fingers.

My grandmother had a collection of rosaries that I found more beautiful than any jewelry box full of necklaces. And as numerous as her rosaries were, even more infinite were the names she had for Our Lord and Savior.

I would look forward to my ‘Belita’s morning prayer time, always excited to see what she would call Jesus today. It was like a new chapter in a book for me: how would she call upon Him this morning?

There was Mi Paz, Mi Creador, Mi Senor, Nuestro Senor, Mi Alma, El Eterno, Salvador, Senor de Senores, Quien Brilla desde Lejos. All so beautiful, but the one she used that gives me chills to this day was Dios Todopoderoso. God Almighty, when translated into English — but, oh so much more in its native tongue: God Who Can Do All Things, God All Mighty, God All Powerful, God All Able. Never was the expression, “loses a bit in translation” more aptly applied than to this.

Ultimately, what my brother and I would agree upon in order to escape the all powerful gaze of Dios Todopoderoso, would be to run across the room, together, holding hands. We’d make it to the staircase, stop, and out of breath with giggles, we’d both turn to the portrait, wave and say “Good night, Jesus!”

We made it to our beds and slept like rocks, believing there wasn’t a burglar alive who was fool enough to break into a home with the Sacred Heart of Jesus displayed right in its center.

And if a bad guy did make the unfortunate mistake of picking our house, we knew that one look at The All Seeing Eyes of Jesus, and he’d be jumping right back out the window he came in from.

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