Compared to Eating a 2000-year-old Man

Since my last column was one of vexation, I thought I must say a word of admiration as well. I thought this was the cutest thing I have come across in quite a while, and surprisingly profound.

This is from the pen of one Laura McAlister, who described herself as a Catholic, writer, tea-drinker, evangelist, Austenite, feminist and aspiring countess.

http://www.lauramcalister.com/2013/07/16/should-i-veil-a-debate-between-me-my-brain/

 

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Should I Veil? A Debate Between Me & My Brain

The following is a completely accurate transcript of the conversation between me and my brain…

Brain: Hey Laura

Me: Hey there brain, what’s up? You come to trouble me about something again?

B: I was just wondering, do you veil for Mass? Like, do cover your head before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament?

M: Um, I wear like a berety/beanie thingy… sometimes, mostly when I go to the Latin Mass. That counts right?

B: Totally, but do you wear it out of reverence for Christ or because it’s the middle of winter and you’re so cold you’d wear a balaclava if you could?

M: … Mainly because it’s cold? I don’t know… Honestly, I haven’t decided…

B: Well, I think you should wear a veil at Mass. It’s a beautiful, traditional Catholic devotion for women that expresses reverence for God, specifically in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. What’s not to love?

M: Me wear a veil? You have got to be kidding me.

B: Nope, entirely serious.

M: But I can’t wear one of those. It’s just so weird!

B: Laura, you’re at Mass…. You’re already eating a 2,000 year old man who is also fully God under the form of a thin wheaten wafer… On the weirdness scale of 1 to Eucharist, veiling is averaging – at most – a 2½. Plus, it’s so pretty!

The rest is here: http://www.lauramcalister.com/2013/07/16/should-i-veil-a-debate-between-me-my-brain/

My comment: It always delights me when my atheist friends try to shock me by saying that I believe something absurd. Their efforts are in vain: we Christians have been shouting from the Church steeples for two millennia the absurdity of the good news, the impossibility of it, the brain-benumbing shock and thunderstruck astonishment of wonder beyond human capacity for wonder.

It is not as if we do not think it odd that a man can be born from a Virgin, and be one with his father and yet be the son of his father, can raise the dead and forgive sins, can die and restore himself from death, and all the world with him, and remake human nature, and judge the quick and the dead, bestowing everlasting yet infinite joy on those who accepting, and rejecting those who reject it into an outer darkness infinitely colder than the mere oblivion on which the atheist pins all his hopes. Odd? One of the stronger arguments in favor of the honest of the martyrs and apostles who testified to all these things is there oddity, indeed, their seeming absurdity. If you were telling a lie, you would make up something more believable, and drop the theological paradoxes even sages cannot fully understand.

The unexpected absurdity of Catholic belief is forever and always that we believe things are much, much worse than you imagine and much, much better than you imagine, because we thing the promised gift at the end of the race of grief and loss and the long defeat called history is not entropy, heat-death, and oblivion, but paradise without limits, and joy without measure.

The pagan sees the world as full of cruelty and pain, and concludes that the gods of this world are capricious and implacable. The gnostic sees the evil of the world and concludes this is the fault of creation itself, the prisonwork of matter, the deception of the senses, and sees the creator as a demiurge, a devil. And either of these things would be mere common sense.

Likewise, the hedonist says sex is the most ecstatic of bodily pleasures, and must be sought out, and when it ceases to amuse, perversion will engaged the jaded and weary affection. And again, the gnostic, as the Buddhist before him, says all worldly pleasures are a trap. The one leads to orgies, and the other to asceticism, and, again, either of these things would be the logical endpoint of such reasoning, if it were true.

The Christian sees the world and says, absurdly, that it was made by God it is good. The Catholic sees the sacraments and says things made of matter like bread and wine can point the way back to the feast table prepared for us in paradise; we see ornament and music, stained glass and painted statues as engaging the senses not to distract from heaven, but to point to it.

As for the common sense of the gnostics and the pagans and ascetics, the Christian sees the sexual nature of man and says that virginity is sacred and abstinence an act of lifelong spiritual heroism, but that matrimony is always sacred, but we also say you must have only one wife, and surrender your lovers and paramours and never leave her — and here the mundane world screams and calls us mad and thrusts its fingers into his mundane ears.

How could anyone in his right mind be against unnatural sexual perversions? And who does not want as many wives as a Sultan? In America, we must have them sequentially, one after another, rather then all at once, but a divorce-addicted culture is indeed a polygamy in all but name.

The unexpected absurdity of Catholic belief is forever and always that we believe things are much, much worse than you imagine and much, much better than you imagine, because we thing the promised gift at the end of the race of grief and loss and the long defeat called history is not entropy, heat-death, and oblivion, but paradise without limits, and joy without measure.

So the only one who should be shocked is the nonbeliever, who has no idea how truly otherworldly, heavenly, and superhuman our beliefs are. If we lived them out, and performed as we should, they would see and be dumbfounded. Instead we follow their fashions, so we merely seem eccentric, and mildly silly or sinister, not the looming and terrifying threat to this false world and all its pomps and vanities we really are.

Besides, the atheist view, if taken completely seriously and taken to their logical conclusions, end up with a view of the world that contains frankly more paradoxes, confusions, and absurdities.

As for the veil, I am frankly astonished at how few women in my parish veil themselves at mass. It is like seeing a Boy Scout refusing to salute the American flag.

And it looks cute.

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