Rodriguez: Iconic picture of Jesus stirs memories
When I was a child, we were constantly walking by Grandpa Madrid’s La-Z-Boy chair, which rested just a few steps from the front door, as we walked in and out of the house, especially during summer days of playing outside. That chair had the best TV-watching view in the house. If you were sitting in it and grandpa walked in, you moved.
There was something else that always moved me, too, though. Just above that chair was a captivating image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with softly lit and yet deep eyes which always seemed to be watching over me. Not in a scary way, at least not once I got used to those eyes. Over time, this familiar face which I have since seen displayed in many traditional Hispanic homes throughout my lifetime, with its inviting eyes, has become a source of welcome and comfort to me. In a sense, it is a time machine which takes me back to those days of childhood simplicity anytime I see it. It’s a feeling of nostalgia mixed with security.
When I visited my grandparents in Lubbock, my Grandma Chaya had the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in her bedroom. Her house was filled with other saintly portraits, including Our Lady of Guadalupe. But in Grandma Chaya’s bedroom, the framed painting, which seemed to help me fall asleep, was the image of the guardian angel watching over two children as they crossed a bridge. I have seen that image displayed in many homes, as well.
Both of these pictures have a special place in my subconscious. But what is it about the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which seems to be especially powerful? June happens to be a month dedicated the Sacred Heart of Jesus. According to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, “The Sacred Heart is a symbol of the Christian faith that is especially dear, to ordinary people as well as to mystics and theologians, because it expresses the 'good news' of love in a simple and authentic way, encapsulating the mystery of Incarnation and Redemption."
Many people have special devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Just as May is the month of Mother’s Day and the month of Mary, I feel that June, the month in which we celebrated Father’s Day, is an appropriate time to honor Jesus in this special image which was reportedly first seen in a vision by Saint Gertrude in 1302.
As I close this column, I am thinking about the countless mothers and fathers who have probably waited for their children, with this comforting image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus prominently displayed, always eager to welcome them back. And then I think of the children, like me, who felt a special comfort and security. Finally, I think of the Biblical figures, namely John, who rested his head on Jesus’ bosom, listening to the pounding of his heart beating for you and me.
Helena Rodriguez is a Portales native. Contact her at: