Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Another comment I left on Candy's blog.

After years of no longer being a Catholic, I attended a Catholic funeral. When I went into the church something hit me hard. It had always been there, but I had never noticed it before because I was used to it. There were statues of Mary and the saints. They looked solid, real, as if they represented people of power. Jesus only appeared as a helpless baby in Mary’s arms, as a dead man nailed to a cross, and as little wafers of bread hidden inside a fancy box. Visually and emotionally the message was very clear - if you want real power, if you want someone who can do something for you, then go to Mary and the Saints.

Of course every church is decorated a bit differently. In my church we have a huge mosaic of Christ surrounded by the apostles. There is also a statue of the adult Christ as the Sacred Heart on the side.

Be that as it may, I thought Ms. Collins assessment was interesting. Because it seems to me from reading the scriptures that Jesus wants all of us to do what we "can do" to spread the gospel, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, minister to the sick etc. Jesus left US to do those things. Canonized saints in the Catholic church are ordinary people who have striven to do those things and have done them well.

There is a saint coming up for canonization soon Candy that you might be interested in. Her name is Zelie Martin. She was the mother of St. Theresa. She had five daughters. She also lost several children in infancy. She maintained her household, she took care of her children and her husband and she even ran a successful lace making business. She is an example of an ordinary person living an extraordinary life in Christ which is what we all strive for.
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Maggii said...

Thank You....I was going to mention that we have an adult statue of Jesus at our Church and I've been to many Catholic Church's that depict Jesus in his adult form.

Barbara C. said...

I think the perspective of Candy's commenter is interesting. In almost every Catholic church I have ever been in the Crucifix is the prominent eye-catching piece. All of the other statues (Mary/the saints)are smaller and scattered along the sides.

Growing up, I always knew which one was Mary and which one was Joseph because that's how you describe which side of the church the bride's guests and groom's guest sit on. ;-) But all of the other statues were just "knick-knacks" in God's house. I was always more taken with the lighting, especially once our church installed stain-glass windows. Sadly, when I walk into most churches, I have no idea who or what the statues are supposed to represent.

I could see, though, for someone who was raised going to church in a more plain environment (no statues, stations of the cross, or symbolic stain glass windows) how they could get the wrong idea going into a Catholic church. The onslaught of sights could seem very overwhelming, and you could mistakenly focus on the wrong things and think they are more important than they are.

It would be like someone walking in my mother's house and thinking that the place was bought to showcase her tea pot and ceramic turtle collection.