LENT is that season of words with the teachings of Christ presented in a thousand pulpits across the nation — self-righteously, mournfully, nasally, coldly, feebly, flamboyantly, blandly and violently.
If I were asked about the rationale of my faith, I’d say first, I believe in a grand universal order and meaning and in a power that is both greater than us and within us. I believe in a God I could worship formally wherever I am, in a God that answers, that guides and shapes, that comforts and chides that…. when you really come down to it…. a benevolent…. and all seeing being built recognizably in man’s image.
And more than that, I believe in the God invoked by our public characters as an ally in righteousness. I believe with passion, in justice, in kindness, in decency, in humility and in courage and honor.
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? What of the chorales of Johannes Sebastian Bach? What can a preacher give me that Beethoven cannot? What can a sermon give me that that I can not find in a Shakespeare sonnet, or the line of great philosophers and the metaphysical poets like John Donne and company? What can church rituals give that a great dance or ballet cannot?
In all these creative acts that lift and enlarge humans, from timeless artists, those who create beauty who unlock mysteries, who serve truth and never make wars, because they supplant compassion, that makes pettiness go away…like a painting of Van Gogh that sings like a thousand violins.
Can anyone imagine what it would have been to interact with the lord, who knew your every thought, your every word? I will come very prepared, read religiously, not browse, on the dogmas and every theological attribute I could muster. But I will still be so intimidated!
If I could have a one-on-one with Jesus Christ, knowing that He existed, I would ask these questions. Lord, given the fact that you have bestowed life that dies, 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 put at the deepest layer of hell, for that offense of treachery and betrayal.
I would ask about Good Friday, Easter day, the Rise and “free will.”
My Lord, why did you give Adam and Eve free will, but banish them for their sin of disobedience they were predestined to do?
Lord, on Good Friday, I don’t know why on the day on which man denied God should be called Good?” Christ, who was both “Man” and “God, had to experience man’s 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.
Of the Blessed Virgin, one of the pleasures of age is reading books long forgotten like Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” and the “Prarie Queen,” alluded to the Blessed Virgin Mother. I’ve read the great flowering of trust in the Virgin, of the glorious building in her honor, of the consummate artistry and rich harmony that flourish on every hand. “Lord, why do men feel such need with showing it. We are galled, distorted, mortified and forever puzzled by it.”
My imaginary interview with Christ continues.
“Lord Jesus, I do not know and cannot know what I seek but I am where the mystery is the certainty. Then to that, we remain silent, I am able to imagine that Jesus speaks to me saying simply, ‘I keep calling you and you do not come.’”
And one would reply quite naturally: “I couldn’t Lord, not until I knew there was nowhere to go.”
Then He might have answered, “If I had commanded less than impossible, would you have recognized me as God?”
To that, I remain silent and Jesus adds, “This is what creation is. The might and marvel created out of the opposition. Your blindness is strong enough. But if the struggle was less would we belong together?”
E-mail Mylah at email@example.com.