Who invented the celebration of Thanksgiving? One of the great values that we inherited from our ancestors in the Spanish-American culture is being reverent before God. A quick overview of the different countries shows a myriad of great temples with rites and ceremonies to please the gods. Before the Spanish conquest, the people sought to have an intimate relationship with the divine and sought to answer the big questions of life. Seeking God’s help and always being thankful to God for everything is a value that in many of our younger generations is being lost. We only need to turn to the dialogue between our Lady of Guadalupe and Juan Diego as she invites him to take the message of Tepeyac to Bishop Zumarraga. She tells him :
“KNOW, KNOW FOR SURE, MY DEAREST AND YOUNGEST SON, THAT I AM THE PERFECT EVER VIRGIN HOLY MARY, MOTHER OF THE ONE GREAT GOD OF TRUTH WHO GIVES US LIFE, THE INVENTOR AND CREATOR OF PEOPLE. THE OWNER AND LORD OF WHAT IS AROUND US AND WHAT IS TOUCHING US OR VERY CLOSE TO US THE OWNER AND LORD OF THE SKY, THE OWNER OF THE EARTH. I WANT VERY MUCH THAT THEY BUILD MY SACRED LITTLE HOUSE HERE. IN WHICH I WILL SHOW HIM, I WILL EXALT HIM AND MAKE HIM MANIFEST:
IN WHICH I WILL SHOW HIM, I WILL EXALT HIM AND MAKE HIM MANIFEST:
I WILL GIVE HIM TO THE PEOPLE IN ALL MY PERSONAL LOVE, IN MY COMPASSIONATE GAZE, IN MY HELP, IN MY SALVATION: BECAUSE I AM TRULY YOUR COMPASSIONATE MOTHER, YOURS AND OF ALL THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE TOGETHER IN THIS LAND, AND OF ALL THE OTHER PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT ANCESTRIES, MY LOVERS, THOSE WHO CRY TO ME, THOSE WHO SEEK ME, THOSE WHO TRUST IN ME, BECAUSE THERE I WILL LISTEN TO THEIR WEEPING, THEIR SADNESS, TO REMEDY, TO CLEANSE AND NURSE ALL THEIR DIFFERENT TROUBLES, THEIR MISERIES, THEIR SUFFERING. AND TO BRING ABOUT WHAT MY COMPASSIONATE AND MERCIFUL GAZE IS TRYING TO DO. Nican Mopohua 27-33 .
The courage to search for God leads us to be grateful men and women. In the culture of the United States in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln chose the last Thursday of November as the official date to take a break and give thanks. In our Christian-Catholic culture, each time we participate in the Eucharistic celebration, we thank God. We also have the legacy of many countries that present their children at age 3 to give thanks to God for their lives, and not to mention the Quinceañeras, that provide an excellent time for parents and daughters to join the community to give thanks to God for the life of the child and ask Mary for her protection. We count with many cultural values in our Hispanic/Latino heritage and it is our responsibility that these values of Thank God continue to be transmitted. Let’s invite our children, family and friends on this Day of Thanksgiving, to recognize all that God has done and continues to do in our lives and also give thanks for all the graces we have received through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe. Let’s celebrate joyfully, because this is a value that sets us apart from non-believers and let us instill in our children that God is always with us.
2013 © Alejandro Barraza. All Rights Reserved.
Featured image by granger, Guadalupe/Juan Diego image by archer10 (Dennis).