You don't have to signal a social conscience by looking like a frump. Lace knickers won't hasten the holocaust, you can ban the bomb in a feather boa just as well as without, and a mild interest in the length of hemlines doesn't necessarily disqualify you from reading Das Kapital and agreeing with every word. --Elizabeth Bibesco

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mann traoch, Gott läuch.

That, my friends is Yiddish for "Man plans, God laughs," at least as far as google is concerned.

I'm pretty sure God's laughing at my Lenten Discipline.

Here I am, trying really hard to strictly abide by modesty rules and what happens on my pilgrimage to Lourdes? Of course, to get in the baths, everyone strips (in relatively discreet places, I might add). I was naked as the day I was born in front of at least 3 women who I'd never seen before in my life and will never see again. It was such a shock to my system after so much modesty that I was shaking even before I was plunged in the icy water.

However, this experience that was enabled by these moments of total immodesty was an amazing moment for me. I'm not sure I feel "cured." (I don't think I'd know what "cured" felt like, anyway.) However, being in the bath (albeit briefly), felt like walking into a Mass that I didn't know was going on-- this suprisingly wonderful reminder that I am part of something much larger than myself.

Being dunked in the water, I was reminded of my baptism (and every baptism I'd ever seen or heard of), especially Jesus's baptism, I was reminded of all the other people who had been dunked in this water, all the people who wash their hands in it (including St. Bernadette), I was reminded of all the people who bathe in the Ganges, but maybe coolest of all, I was reminded that God gives us these reminders not only in holy places, but every time we encounter water.

Christianity (and many other religions) picked some really basic elements to make holy. Water in baptism. Food and drink in the Eucharist. Oil in the chrism. Sticks, well, branches, in Palm Sunday. Although I'm a thorough believer in transubstantiation, I think Protestants got one thing right in the whole it's-a-symbol concept. It is supposed to be symbolic everytime we pick up a piece of bread anywhere. My pain au chocolat this morning? Symbolically, the body of Christ. A reminder of the Eucharist I will partake in this evening, which is the literal body of Christ.


Post a Comment