Halloween is over. I was standing in the kitchen tonight pilfering through the bowl of chewy, crinkly wrapped treats that my children acquired last night. Poor things. They do all the work of running up and down the sidewalks, climbing stairs, ringing bells and then I dole them out a piece or two a day and confiscate anything with caramel for myself. Hardly seems fair.
As an explorer, Columbus was not the first to reach the Western Hemisphere. Native Americans had been here for 10,000-20,000 years, and Vikings and Chinese are among those others who hold prior claims. Even after four attempts, Columbus never realized his goal of finding a western ocean route to Asia. As a “founding father type figure” he never set foot in what is now considered America but landed in the present day Bahamas, Cuba, and Haiti.
As a Christian example he enacted terrible cruelties to friendly natives: assuming unlawful rights of authority; robbing and subjugating whole nations of their freedom and entire capital; allowing his men to rape, murder and pillage at will; and deliberately leading the way for the genocide of millions, considered by many to be the worst demographic catastrophe in recorded history.
So why do Americans celebrate Columbus Day?
To work is to pray.
It's a Latin phrase that the Order of St. Benedict adopted as its motto.
St. Benedict, the founder of the order, recognized the sacred value of hard work, the notion that through the sweat of our brows and the strength of our arms and backs, we can worship the Creator.
As per usual, on Friday, we had all sorts of Buy Nothing Day festivities (check out the video here). But that's not what I want to talk about.