The Lenten season is the time for people to renew themselves with the teachings of Christ. Presented in words in a thousand pulpits across the nation, some may be true to the teachings, but some may self-righteous, mournful and/or violent.
If I was asked about the rationale of my faith, I’d say that first, I believe in an universal order and meaning, and that in a power that is both greater than us and within us. I believe in a God I could worship formally wherever I am — a God that answers, that guides and shapes, and comforts us, a God that sees all.
And more than that, I believe in the God invoked by our public characters as an ally in righteousness. That which is, to believe with passion, kindness, decency, humility, courage and honor.
Isn’t the magnificence of the universe and the wonders of man and life like some cosmic pattern? I see it revealed equally in a raindrop, in a gentle caressing breeze, in the shape of a leaf, the palpitating body of a tiny bird or the swell of a cumulus cloud. I can hear it in the chorales of Johannes Sebastian Bach. So now I ask, what can a preacher give me that Beethoven cannot? What can a sermon give me that that I cannot find in a Shakespeare sonnet, or in the lines of a great philosophers or poets like John Donne?
Still, can anyone imagine what it would have been to interact with the Lord? The ONE who knows your every thought, your every word, even before you ever spoke. How do I attempt to clear away the cobwebs of formalism and tradition to take a fresh look at who Christ is, and what is He saying to me, through my amateur theologizing.
Imagining the scenario, I know I will come very prepared. I would read religiously, not browse, on the dogmas and every theological attribute I could muster. Of course, I will still be so intimidated!
If I could have a one-on-one with Jesus Christ, knowing that He existed, I will ask these questions:
• Lord, given the fact that you have bestowed life, why did you give us death? Since we are born, why should we die?
• I will ask Jesus about everything — from the Virgin Birth, to the betrayal of his friend Judas Iscariot (whom Dante Alighieri in his “Divina Comedia Inferno Canto Uno” he put at the deepest layer of hell for that offense of treachery and betrayal).
• I would ask about Good Friday, Easter Sunday and “free will.” I would ask why he gave Adam and Eve free will, but banished them for their sin of disobedience they were predestined to do. (While on that topic, wasn’t the virtue of disobedience born on the day Eve, that careless woman, bit the apple from the tree of knowledge of good and evil?).
About Good Friday, I don’t know why on the day on which man denied God, should it be called “Good?”
• Christ was both “Man” and “God,” had to experience mans refusal of the spirit, why is man unperturbed by what he did and does?” Lord Jesus as a Man, you knew God. “I am “Man” and “God” so it is with each of you.
I struggle to understand that, we do not really know what we mean by “God” or “Man,” and the drain of its contradiction and resolution is everything.
The Blessed Virgin: The Great Mediatrix
One of the pleasures of being in my age is reading books long forgotten, like Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and the Prarie Queen, which is alluded to the Blessed Virgin Mother. I’ve read the great flowering of trust in the Virgin, of glorious building in her honor, of the consummate artistry and rich harmony that flourish on every hand. From childhood I was so moved by the abundance of beauty that I was healed out a wound that ached in me — the inferiority of women.
Some men feel the need to make women inferior. We are galled, distorted, mortified and forever puzzled by it. They tend to take credit for achievement that are not theirs and some of us silently allow it, but why do they need to give us pain, we who are their mates and mothers? It intoxicates, heals and shames me.
Putting my trust and faith, I’ve learned dogmas declared that the Blessed Virgin was loved for her mercy, beauty and gift of inspiring its creation in others. Above all, she is loved for her generosity and power since she gave and forgave.
The Virgin’s virtue gave me strength and faith that I was so moved by the abundance of beauty that I was healed out a wound that ached in me — the inferiority of women.
E-mail Mylah at firstname.lastname@example.org