When I saw certain depictions of the saints for the first time, I just had to laugh out of ignorance. The crucifix in St. Rita's hands looked like a kabob to me. No wonder she gazed so lovingly at it. Were those eyeballs on St. Lucy's plate? Indeed. Were those breasts on St. Agatha's platter? Yup. Remind me not to eat at their restaurant. Did you know Mary has super powers & can shoot laser beams from her hands? Meanwhile, Jesus has the ability to dive into a chalice of wine unharmed. He also seems to favor hovering over the altar "Matrix style" while sporting His crown of thorns & a loin cloth. Statements like this might seem offensive to some, but unless I understand the reality of these images, this is all I see... just a bunch of circus freaks.
Until I got into RCIA, Mary was more akin to some mythological creature than Mother of my Lord. She was just another Bible character along with everyone else. Even Jesus was somewhat one dimensional, trapped between the pages of the New Testament... Though I identified myself as a Christian, I struggled with the reality of His presence in my life for years. In the backwoods of my Christianity, I learned to acknowledge the Bible as the only reliable source of Christian history. Precious few exemplary Catholic saints & mystics were mentioned & anyone else I heard of was either a Reformation martyr, a modern day missionary or some high & mighty preacher who packed in the crowds night after night. The rest of Christianity was essentially gutted. Something about that never seemed right to me... made me feel sick inside. There had to be something missing.
Becoming Catholic has been like leaving home to live with distant relatives in the city. I'm getting to know another side of my family, becoming educated, meeting new people, trying new "recipes", doing new things. My faith has come alive since my conversion... Bible characters &
saints are no longer mere characters or circus freaks - they are my brothers &
sisters, just as alive with Christ in Heaven as I am here on this earth. Now I have a richer history, a bigger family, a deeper hope.Those saint pictures & depictions of Mary & Jesus are part of an album that got tucked away. They were an embarrassment to my side of the family... but now I know who they are. They're all a part of me.