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Alimentando America – Díptica

Alimentando America – Díptica

This is a diptych painting set I began in the fall of 2020 and finally finished in Q1 of 2022. The central characters of the pieces are focused on Latino workers that feed America from the fields to the restaurants.

In times when politics have polarized people and lives are calculated by the value they offer to a nation, my hope is to feature the beauty and dignity of the work of countless Latinos that work hard to feed us.

The farm-focused piece is especially meaningful to me because I come from a long line of farmers. It’s also because of the Bracero program that President Eisenhower did that gave my father the opportunity to come to the United States. The fields are the birth of so much of our food. They were the birth of my family’s American dream. They taught me the value of hard work, my own strength, and taught me how to dream.

I am proud to be Mexican-American and proud of the farms that raised my family. These characters aren’t my family but represent the many Latinos that were my family and my people. When I work towards big dreams and goals, I know I don’t just do it for myself, but in a special way, honor the hard work of the communities that raised me. I hope to show the dignity to these beautiful people.

 

I – Agricultores

II – Cocineros

Notable Symbols

Square Halos

The square halos are an ancient symbol of the living saints that cultures deemed worthy of respect and even reverence. The work that countless laborers do on a daily basis on everything from harvesting crops to serving plates is essential, but unfortunately is often overlooked and undervalued.

The Sun and Moon

These symbols are a common motif in Latino art that pairs and contrasts the masculine sun and feminine moon in complementary energies. The two are also used as a juxtaposition of settings from rural to urban environments.

 

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Our Lady of Guadalupe – Beyond Culture and Art
Our Lady of Guadalupe - Beyond Culture and Art

Our Lady of Guadalupe – Beyond Culture and Art

When I found a renewed interest in Mary, I resisted a devotion to our Lady of Guadalupe. This was mainly because I am a Mexican-American and it seemed too cliché. read more

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A True Devotion to Mary

A True Devotion to Mary

A True Devotion to Mary

For the last few weeks, I have been preparing for consecration to Jesus through Mary. I wrote a post in December explaining my decision to do it, but originally I was planning on waiting until next December for the feast of either Our Lady of Guadalupe or the Immaculate Conception. Although what good would it be if I did this on my terms, rather than our Lord’s?

One Sunday in January, I felt the Lord bringing it to my heart incessantly. With some quick prayers of discernment, I knew then that He was calling me to do the consecration in the upcoming feast, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of Our Lord.

It just so happened that a group was handing out free copies of the devotional prayers in the church narthex that Sunday. I hadn’t even had the chance to start thinking about what I needed to do when I was suddenly provided all that I needed for free and without real effort. There was a peace in my heart that confirmed that Our Lady was calling.

In the time before I began the thirty-three day process, I started to encounter a very difficult period in my faith. In the middle of coordinating two very large, important events for different ministries, I entered a very dry period in my faith. These are common for everyone, but it definitely tried me while trying to minister to others and stay focused.

That was only the beginning as the actual process brought even greater challenges and struggles. Although it only makes sense because the evil one cannot stand the Blessed Virgin. Mary is a women perfected by the grace of Christ that demonstrates God’s intention and goodness of humanity. She stands for everything that made them leave the presence of God. This is also why she her prayers are so powerful in combating evil.

Prayers with our Lady were a definite source of strength. Recently I noticed that I had been switching to talk to her in Spanish. I can switch into it without really thinking, but I did not really understood why I would do it mainly with her. I now that it is probably because I am used to conversing with my own mother only in Spanish. Mary wants to be present as our Mother, and I pray more people, especially Catholics, open their eyes to her presence.

Before reading that book [A True Devotion to Mary], I thought that praying to the Holy Virgin meant to hide the love for Jesus Christ. While reading the Treaty of Grignion de Montfort, I finally discovered the contrary, that is that our interior relationship with the Mother of God is but the consequence of our tie with the mystery of God.
-John Paul II

This quote from Pope John Paul II has become a very vivid reality in the past few weeks. St Louis-Marie de Montfort speaks of Mary as the spouse of the Holy Spirit, but when entering into His presence nobody ever talks about inviting her to join in the same way. As a Church, we often do neglect the Holy Spirit, but we neglect Mary even more. During a few prayers before the Blessed Sacrament in the past weeks, I called on her to join, and like any good mother would, she came.

I believe we need to talk about that more as a Church, and I will be writing more about it in the future. The communion of saints is a Biblical reality that has somehow fallen off most of our generation’s radar. It’s a terrible tragedy to see heaven be ignored.

All of this led to today’s celebration of the Incarnation of our Lord, through the Annunciation and acceptance of the Father’s will by Mary. Now that the process is complete and the mass has passed, there was no special feeling or supernatural spiritual experience. Just like many other moments when receiving graces or even sacraments, God is working in the unseen and what is not sensed. I encourage all of you to listen, discern, and decided to devote your lives to our Blessed Mother. It take just a little effort, but it is for everyone.

I only ask one thing of you:
that in every instant of my life,
I may say three Amens:
Amen to all you obtained on Earth.
Amen to that which you are currently doing in Heavan.
Amen to all that you are working within my soul.
So that Jesus may be fully glorified in time and through eternity.
Amen.
-Excerpt from St Louis de Montfort’s Prayer to Mary

 

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Hablo Español, but I also speak English

Like many Hispanics and Latinos, I have a very mixed linage from the past centuries. It’s led to an interesting blend of  physical features.  Although, there have been many situations where it has come in handy. Depending on what country I was in or which language I was speaking, strangers would feel like they could relate with me. This is great thing when you are somewhere foreign. On the other side, when I lived in Denver, I had never been asked so many times in my life whether or not I speak English. While yes, some assumed I was a Spanish speaker, some were unsure. I found this almost as offensive as I found it entertaining.

I tweeted this a while back, and I believe more than ever that it is true.

It is possible to be compassionate, but it is hard to relate if it was never a personal experience. The problem with the situation in Arizona is that it reduces the dignity of particular groups of people. Many people are often offended by far less, but when those making the decisions have not experienced it themselves, it is legalized and then labeled a security measure.

There is a lot of current discussions  on immigration and the place of Latinos in the United Sates. The obvious is that the system is broken, but like most of us, I don’t know what would be the best solution. I’m not really here to propose any solutions. I am here to remind those I can that we are not only dealing with an issue but we are dealing with real people that always deserve respect and dignity. All dialogue should never be removed of this.

I pray for our country and its leaders.

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Latino Media Today

For the past month, the World Cup captivated so many people’s attention and had us rooting for our teams. It was very inspirational to country pride, and also to see South Africa rise and proudly represent their continent on the world’s stage. I was also happy to see that interest for soccer grew so much during the world cup. As proof of this, the Argentina/Mexico and the final game broke many records on viewership for soccer in the USA. I found it interesting that even those that did not like soccer found it important to refer to the World Cup and explain why they weren’t interested.

To get the most out of watching all of the games, my preference was always Univison over ESPN. I even Tweeted this:

ESPN finds a way to make the game boring. Univision has definitely been the best way to watch the #WorldCup
less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

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The History of My People

Do I look Illegal

The recent move by the governor of Arizona has many people angry with a new law that could encourage racial profiling. It’s no surprise that Latinos are upset. The majority of us here were born American or are legally living in the US. I am sometimes surprised when I realize how unaware some people are of the different factors in these different situations. When I still lived in Colorado, someone once asked a friend when their family crossed the river. I was appalled that someone would ask that.

My father came over in the 1950’s when President Eisenhower started the braceros program. It was an open invitation to come to the United States temporarily. Once he finished a few years of the program and returned to Mexico, he was able to file for a visa to return to work outside of the program. After a few attempts, he was granted the paper work to be able to legally live in the US. for long enough to gain residency. My mother and oldest sister came over after he had already set up everything legally.

I am very proud to be born here in the United States, and I am also very proud of the Mexican heritage from my family’s history. While I was blessed with a wonderful life, there are many who were brought here by their parents or spouse. There are many complexities that are often lumped together in generalized statements toward illegal immigrants. The problem comes when people begin to treat them with less respect because of assumptions they have about their history.

The law should be respected so that stealing is not condoned and the system is not manipulated. It is the job of non-profits and religious organizations to help fund those in need, rather than tax payers. We  must seek an effective immigration reform that protects our safety but never dehumanizes those that are involved. We pray that our leaders may be guided in their decisions.

I thought that American Papist also wrote a relevant article from a different perspective.

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