The Miracle Eyes of Jesus

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.

Share, por favor!

By Alexandra on September 22, 2011 · Posted in the habla habla

40 Comments | Post Comment

Elizabeth says:

This is great! We had one growing up, but I do not have one in my home. Maybe because I haven’t found one that really fits. We do, however, have four mini Virgen de Guadalupe statues, including one that is a fridge magnet, as well as two framed Virgencita paintings. We also have plenty of crucifixes; more than I can hang up.

Growing up, my grandparents used to pray the Rosario every. day. It’s part of my history as much as anything else and when I started traveling, I would buy my Tita a rosary from every country I went to (except England. I couldn’t find one there.) When she passed away, one of the hardest things to do was go through her rosary collection. We each got one, and I ended up with the one I bought her in Madrid. I remember buying it because it was made of rose petals and reminded me of how she smelled. It still holds that memory. I think that’s why I started collection rosaries for myself. I wonder if that will be what my children and grandchildren remember of me?

I think I went off on a tangent, but alas, that’s my story!

Posted on September 22nd, 2011

Alexandra says:

Again, such a pleasure to be at TikiTiki.

I love having a place to tell my stories, and they belong here.

Thank you, to TikiTiki, for allowing me this space.

I look forward to my posts here, and smile the whole time I’m writing them up.

Posted on September 22nd, 2011

Abuela says:

Love your story,when my sister is going on an airplane she takes El Sagrado Corazon de Jesus with her (she is afraid of flying)he takes care of her fears.

Posted on September 22nd, 2011

Chantel says:

We had one, too. What’s worse, it faced a mirror. So no matter what direction you came into the sala, you would see the eyes. And yes, in the daytime, totally okay. At night what another story.

Beautiful piece about faith and family and culture, by the way.

Posted on September 22nd, 2011

Alexandra says:

My boys and I just read your comment and you made us laugh out loud.

Aren’t these stories wonderful?

My kids are jealous, thought, at the time, I didn’t think I was living anything to be jealous of.

Posted on September 22nd, 2011

Alexandra says:

Oh, the sound of the words “El Sagrado Corazon de Jesus” how I miss them.

Thank you for stopping by, Abuela.

Posted on September 22nd, 2011

Alexandra says:

Chantel: how you’re making us laugh out loud over here, the mirror! The mirror~
Oh, if my mother only would’ve known of this possibility. Jesus’ protection, magnified.

Posted on September 22nd, 2011

Tracy says:

Love it. I didn’t have one of these in my house growing up. My Protestant mother thought it was wrong to have images of Jesus – until one day she saw one of him holding a lamb that she loved so much that she hung up. (We teased her for sinning at the time just to mess with her.)

My Catholic husband on the other hand, told me about the Jesus picture in his childhood home long ago – and he similarly was scared to walk past it because it “stared” at him. I didn’t believe him until I went to his childhood home in El Salvador and saw it for myself.

Here, I uploaded it just for you :)

http://latinaish.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/jesuspicture.jpg

Posted on September 22nd, 2011

Alexandra says:

Oh, you just made me laugh so hard!

Yes, we were scared so we knew the burglars would be scared, too!

Posted on September 22nd, 2011

Roxanne says:

I love this story. I know the picture you speak of. I grew up Italian Catholic. “Our Father” was always looking after us, although from a heavy wooden cross as if to yell, “Don’t misbehave! I died for YOUR sins.”

To this day, guilt washes over me if I see a depiction of Jesus on the cross.

Thank you for sharing. xoxo

Posted on September 22nd, 2011

ed pilolla says:

we had a mona lisa in the dining room. i had nightmares, you better believe it.

Posted on September 22nd, 2011

Alexandra says:

Oh, I know. I KNOW. To little children, oh my goodness.

We didn’t have crucifixes… I think the 10×10 portrait was worth 50 crucifixes..at least.

So, yeah, we were covered.
xo

Posted on September 22nd, 2011

Alexandra says:

Ed, you know, that would make a great post, right?

What you imagined her smile was saying to you. You, in your childhood mind.

I’d love it.

Posted on September 22nd, 2011

oceangirl says:

Hello Alexandra, I enjoyed your story of childhood and of your relationship with your brother. The warmth and cheer in old homes, is just not quite the same as in modern homes.

Posted on September 23rd, 2011

Marinka says:

OMG, I love this so much. And I need that Jesus for every room of my house. Even though I’m Jewish.

I didn’t know they made heart-sized crowns of thorns! (Even though I’m Jewish).
Marinka´s last [fabulousness] ..Banking

Posted on September 23rd, 2011

Alexandra says:

I agree.

It was so sweetly simple, with no distractions.

No nintendo, no CD’s, no 1500 channels on the TV, no Wii, no Xbox.

We just played.

Very different times.

Posted on September 23rd, 2011

Alexandra says:

You know, I just found out that we could’ve multiplied and magnified the security factor by placing a mirror OPPOSITE the SBH of Jesus.

Think of the guaranteed SAFETY!!

Posted on September 23rd, 2011

Lady Jennie says:

Let’s see … that’s 13,795 over a period of 15 years saved in security fees.

Seriously I know someone who’s aunt repelled a mugger on the NY subway by beating him with her purse and saying, “I’m a child of Jesus!”
Lady Jennie´s last [fabulousness] ..A Mini Versailles

Posted on September 23rd, 2011

Charlotte says:

I love this story, Alexandra. We didn’t have this exact portrait in our home or anything, but my opa (grandpa) in Germany was a pastor and there were all sorts of Jesuses (plural?) in various locations throughout the house. I always avoided the almighty glare, convinced that he could read my thoughts and see if I had done something wrong.

Posted on September 23rd, 2011

Alexandra says:

OH, you made me laugh on that one.

Thank you for being here!!

Posted on September 23rd, 2011

Alexandra says:

Charlotte, I’ve wanted to ask you this before, b/c you always leave the most interesting comments on the tikitiki site about your cultural background: have you ever thought of dedicating a post a week/month to what your growing up was like. You hint at such richness and experience.

Just something I wanted to put out there…

Posted on September 23rd, 2011

Annabelle says:

That is freakily sweet.

Did you catch my post on my saint medals? We are protected : )

Posted on September 23rd, 2011

My Inner Chick says:

“Good night, Jesus!”
—This was such a lovely post. Thank you :) x

Posted on September 23rd, 2011

Anna Lefler says:

I had nothing like this in my house growing up.

I was, however, completely convinced that a robot from outer space lived in our house, and he would come out at night and appear in my bedroom doorway. I’m totally serious – I was terrified and I’m sure I saw him once, waving his metal arms at me.

I’m not sure what religion he was, but still: SCARY.

Wonderful post, Alexandra.

XO

Anna
Anna Lefler´s last [fabulousness] ..Frankenwhat?

Posted on September 23rd, 2011

dusty earth mother says:

My favorite favorite favorite thing you’ve ever written. But then, you knew I would say that :-)
dusty earth mother´s last [fabulousness] ..Nit one, Purl two

Posted on September 23rd, 2011

The Flying Chalupa says:

“Goodnight Jesus!” – HA! The adorable image of you and your brother saying that made me laugh.

My Catholic grandmother had some Jesus / Mary pieces hanging around the house but nothing as spectacular as that. Then again, even though she was blind, I always felt that my grandmother was watching EVERY move I made – “what are you doing with that extra cookie?” she’d call. Damn!

Posted on September 23rd, 2011

Varda (SquashedMom) says:

Hi, Alexandra. so nice to follow you over here and read your stories. You KNOW how I love your abuela stories, and am holding on to the idea that you will be writing a whole book of them soon, no?

Growing up in a Jewish home, we obviously had no Jesuses on the wall. We did, however, have a cockeyed Paul Klee portrait of a man (here: http://www.aaronartprints.org/klee-headofmangoingsenile.php) in our bathroom, right across from the toilet. I believe it may have disconcerted new visitors to our home, while were rather used to doing our business under his watchful stare.

Posted on September 24th, 2011

julie says:

“Stephen King had nothing on my childhood.”

I’m dying.
And loving.

At the same time.

So, bravo.
And also, “Goodnight, Jesus!”

XO

Posted on September 24th, 2011

Alexandra says:

Oh, honey…I WILL write a book.
Stories coming out . of. my. yingyang.

Posted on September 24th, 2011

Alexandra says:

Isn’t that the truth, Varda?

SO MANY scary things as kids.

Now, how I laugh about it.

We were so scared of the ever knowing ever watchful gaze.

Posted on September 24th, 2011

Alexandra says:

Scared and reverent at the same time.

Kinda like I like my kids.

xo

Love you, Chalupa.

Posted on September 24th, 2011

Alexandra says:

I know you love my stuff on this, and I LOVE that you LOVE my stories here.

Thanks so much, Dusty. You’re a good woman.

God bless you *makes sign of cross with her hands in the air*

Posted on September 24th, 2011

Alexandra says:

Thank you, Anna.

I am always so encouraged when you leave a comment for me.
Means a lot.

I’ll always tell you that.

Thank you.

Posted on September 24th, 2011

Alexandra says:

Also:

two questions:

Did your parents know about the waving arm robot?

And, are we talking young kid or older teen?

Posted on September 24th, 2011

Alexandra says:

Thank you, so much.

I do have sweet memories.

I think it’s because we had so much time together, there was no Wii, no nintendo, no TV with 500 channels, no netflix, no DVD’s, no Xbox.

We were together.

Posted on September 24th, 2011

Alexandra says:

Thanks, A.

You know, I love your stuff, too, right?

I do.

You write with a sincere heart. I love that.

Posted on September 24th, 2011

Ann says:

I love it – I grew up in an Irish Catholic house hold with the same picture and a crucifix hanging as well. Like you – the rosaries in my mothers jewelry box were a thing of wonder….

Posted on September 24th, 2011

Alexandra says:

I loved those rosaries.

I remember all of us trying to pick out the one for my abuela to be buried with her.

We chose the clear beaded lilac, with the silver cross.

Posted on September 25th, 2011

MamaBadger says:

This would be hysterical if it wasn’t so true. I’m from an old Italian family, and it’s just the same. When I was young, when I’d have a fussy afternoon, my mom would take me to the afternoon mass, and the old ladies whispering their rosary would put me right to sleep. We had the “Jesus with the following eyes” picture, too.

Posted on September 27th, 2011

Amanda says:

Good one Alexandra! So descriptive.

Wish we lived closer so we could be new blogging buddies, comparing stories and laughing over margaritas. Hey – I’m not hispanic but I’m from Texas,so possibly we have some common ground. :-)

amanda, from the hillpen blog.

Posted on January 1st, 2012