Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Saint or Sinner?

For those of you may have missed this, I am a Catholic girl gone bad. Trying to once again be good, but I did some awfully bad things. Today is a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics – that means, you better get your butt to a Church today unless you have a very good reason.

Today is All Saints Day – a day in which Catholics honor the Saints and ask them to pray for us. Or as George Bush would say, a little Quid Pro Quo. I was never much of a Bush fan, but at least he gave me a Latin phrase to make me seem more Ivy League.

Anyway, one of the Saints that I have been fascinated about is Mary of Edessa. So instead of my usual low brow – for instance in the paragraph above, I mentioned I was not a Bush fan. I may have made some sort of lesbian comment that would have been both cute and titillating. Not today, though. Let me slide into my knee high white socks and educate the masses – sans ruler.

Mary of Edessa was the niece of Saint Abraham Kidunaia – and he was sort of a character in his own right. On the day of his marriage (he was a rich guy, think lots of pomp and circumstance), he seals himself in a small room with only a window from which his family can pass food or communicate with him. He says he is not coming out, that he wants to dedicate his life to his religion. They capitulate, and he only comes out of his room twice. The only thing I wonder is "what kind of waste removal was being employed." Think about it.

Back to our Mary of Edessa. Mary lived for about 20 years as an anchoress near Abraham's cell. In the middle ages an anchoress was a woman who lived in a small, sealed room inside a church; she would have visual access to the Sanctuary and to Holy Communion. Usually there was also a small side window at which she could converse with visitors, receive foods, and the like. End of vocabulary lesson.

In a moment of weakness, Mary of Edessa was seduced by a renegade monk who had turned from his vows. Think about this – an otherwise Holy woman starts having sex with this renegade monk, can't forgive herself, and starts making bad choices. She moves far away, and begins living a "a wild, dissolute, and sexually active life ". So anyway, here this woman is, having sex with all of these men (remind you of anyone?), and I am sure this news finds its way back to her family.

Saint Abraham (see above) hears about his niece, and for the only second and last time, leaves his room to talk with her. How does he do this? He disguises himself as a soldier and picks up his niece. He has been in that room for a long time – so I am sure she really doesn’t remember what he looks like anyway. And, no, he doesn't jump her. He is a Saint. She takes him back to her place, and then he says "girl, get control of yourself."

She converted and returned to the life of an anchoress, spending the rest of her days in prayer. An inspiring story for me. A woman who has redeemed herself.

14 comments:

Mark said...

Billy Joel said sinners always have more fun...

Samantha said...

Wow. So...who was your Saint Abraham?

Nunzia said...

Ha.. I guess I am also a "catholic girl gone bad" -- I became a born again Christian in college. My Italian family will SOMEDAY get over it!

Leesa said...

samantha: Wish I only had one Abraham.

Yoga Korunta said...

You were much more appealing in the duct tape dress!

Garrison Steelle said...

Ah, but then someone like me comes along and questions the whole mess.

Sex is every bit as spiritual as prayer.

And both can be done in a closet.

-G

(obviously NOT catholic)

Thomas said...

As a former Catholic who believe that there's too much papal bullcrap infiltrating the church, as well as the continuing practice of "Indulgences", I can say that you are a strong woman indeed. Just remember the most important things in life are worth fighting for.

However, having an active fantasy life, unacted on, does wonders for the libido.

sjblogger said...

Wow... it's strange that you seem to have written a big chunk of my life, and I for one think that you are a saint. Being Catholic, I think it is those of us who have sinned and redeemed or attempted to, or are attempting to who will have an easier time finding Paradise. It is those that think they are righteous that may find it difficult to find an entrance...

Keep writing, keep fantasizing, and keep redeeming yourself! I for one identify with, and enjoy following along with your redemption!

kathi said...

I don't know anything about catholosism (?) or saints, and this story just confused me so much. I don't understand why anyone (ie: the niece) want to be like Abraham. I mean he spent his life in a room. How could he be a blessing to others in a room by himself all of his life? Sorry. And that he'd want his niece to live the same kind of life he was putting himself through. I guess I could look this up, cause now I want to understand it. Being raised athiest has it's ignorances...and now that I'm a christian, I've not learned much about saints. Interesting though.

Thomas said...

Every religion out there has some measure of exclusivity, which makes them inherently wrong. No one has it right because, as people, we are flawed. We can comprehend only what our limited senses allow us to.

The higher goal of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" tempered with the commandments (to avoid having people who claim "I'd like someone to shoot me!") is still hard enough without layering some potentate's bullshittery on top of it.

Leesa said...

"Every religion out there has some measure of exclusivity, which makes them inherently wrong."

I don't mind some measure of exclusivity - otherwise, why bother. I mean if the people gathered don't share something of consequence, why even gather together.

Joe...! said...

Wow, you've been reading my mail. Mary of Edessa is the kind of person you don't find out about unless you're looking for her. Glad I'm not the only one. By the way, I love Savannah and wish I could find a way back there.

Leesa said...

joe, thanks for reading the blog entry. Mary of Edessa has a wonderful story to tell.

Rosita of Jesus said...

They say if you find the perfect church, once you join, it won't be perfect anymore. In the Catholic Church there is no exclusivity. Anyone can join. My Church is perfect, because Jesus instituted it. It is wonderful to hear about Mary of Edessa. That means there is hope for everyone! Thank you, God.