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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Say Your Prayers

If there's one good thing about a lazy Catholic, is that we will always remember God in the height of our miseries.

So there I was, lying nearly prostrate on my bed yesterday, sneezing, snuffling, dripping, when my mother handed me a package from...the Vatican!

Had Pope Benny finally written me back, thanking me for my considerate ascension letter email, wayyy back in May 2005? Alas, no. It was the next best thing, though.

A rosary!





I love rosaries. I used to collect them as a kid, begging my mother to send me a pound note to buy the glow-in-the-dark one from a catalogue company whose coloured treasures tempted me, as another child might be tempted by Smarties or Jujubees.

I also love chaplets, ring rosaries, saint cards, mantillas, scapulars, souvenir holy water bottles, statuettes of Virgin this and Our Lady of that and all manner of Catholic tschoke, as you'll recall my mentioning in the recent iPod blogpost.

The Church of Apple has nothing on the Holy Roman and Apostolic Catholic Church when it comes to accessories. NOTHING.

(Heh. Amusingly, just as I typed this, up comes a pop-up from Apple saying that there is a new update for iTunes and QuickTime, and would I like to install them now or later. Well, not now. I'm composing this piece! Like Catholicism, Apple CAN be a tad inconvenient)

As I child, being a lonely Catholic amongst the heathen Anglicans in my school, although very nice High Church Anglicans admittedly, I used to be excused one hour for private meditation which I could take either in my room, at the library, or (my favourite) out of doors under a big oak we had in the back of the school.

The other girls were pea green in jealousy, as they saw me traipse off with my tschokes in hand. I grew to love the half-heartedly bigoted cries of "Papist!" (the French girl in our form pronouncing it, 'pah-peest", which to this day makes me laugh), because to me, it meant I was different, therefore very special and very very lucky.

I could sit under a tree for an hour, "meditating", whilst they had to do calisthenics with our butch gym teacher and her ear-drum shattering whistle. Suckazz.

Of course, when I actually got to the tree, and meditated, I often cracked open a book quite unrelated to Catholicism, and to the devotions I was there to do.

Did I feel guilty? Of course I felt guilty. I'm Catholic, do pay attention!

But here's the sticky wicket:

Feeling guilty has never stopped a Catholic to date, from doing what they want.

So I took a bite of that forbidden apple, and immersed myself doing what I really wanted to do: read all the short stories from Saki, James Thurber and novels, especially of Conrad, Dostoyevsky and Mann, my own Holy Trinity.

So now you know why I love write so damn convolutedly.

Years later, opening up a package posted from the Vatican of a rosary I had purchased online brought back all these childhood memories, as if from a shower of rose petals from Lisieux.

Childhood is thorny, ready to prick you at the most unexpected of moments, making you rear you back in pain each time, sucking your hurt before the blood drips too noticeably.

But oh how fragrant is the memory for all that.

All I have to do is to close my eyes, and remember that oak, that meditation hour, and my glow-in-the-dark rosary, to remember how much I love being a Catholic, and no matter how lazy a Catholic I am, it's a collectible, truant, mesmerising religion of the best kind.

P.S.: And yes, like Cordelia in Brideshead Revisited, our nuns did "offer" us black goddaughters, which you could name for one.

Jesuitically, I balked at the practise, thinking it rather foul to impose so much on so distant a person, so there are no black or Chinese Victorias running around this world, at least not because some English girl plunked down money to have them so baptised.

This must have been the beginnings of my cafeteria Catholicism, although in my case it's more like a diner. I sit down, order stuff I like, and proceed to make fun of the waitress with the bouffant hair named Big Mildred.

Surely only Jews have more happy fun with their religion, than I do.

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6 Comments:

  • I believe there's a part of my DNA which is Catholic. I really grew to love the faith when I was living in the buckle of the Bible Belt. Catholics are a minority of about 3% in North Carolina. And so exotic and misunderstood, too.

    Ever noticed how some of the best comics are Jewish or Catholics? [Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert spring to mind.] I think it's no coincidence.

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Thu Mar 22, 03:01:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Ruth Anne! There you are. How I did miss seeing that schoolgirl photograph.

    I believe there's a part of my DNA which is Catholic.

    How wonderfully put.

    I suppose anything that primordial has to be.

    I really grew to love the faith when I was living in the buckle of the Bible Belt. Catholics are a minority of about 3% in North Carolina. And so exotic and misunderstood, too.

    Ahh, a touch of England then.

    As I've told you, the British are perhaps the most non-religious people on the face of this earth, and though religion exists in squares and corners of the island, the RELIGIOSITY has long since gone.

    But that's not the case in NC, is it?

    At least, you have people to whom your religion may be alien, but not the need for it...

    Ever noticed how some of the best comics are Jewish or Catholics? [Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert spring to mind.] I think it's no coincidence.

    I've never watched more than a moment's worth of the Daily Show and none at all (even the O'Reilly switcheroo) of Colbert, so I couldn't say for certain.

    However, if there are better comedians than Groucho Marx or Eve Arden, one Jewish, the other Roman Catholic, I'd like to know.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Mar 22, 08:49:00 pm GMT-4  

  • "However, if there are better comedians than Groucho Marx or Eve Arden, one Jewish, the other Roman Catholic, I'd like to know."

    Matt Stone, who is both (by family, anyway).

    By Blogger JSU, at Thu Mar 22, 11:57:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Matt Stone, who is both (by family, anyway).

    And yet I don't find Bill Maher funny, and he too is both.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Mar 23, 12:23:00 am GMT-4  

  • Shows where my feeble mind is at...you mentioned "Cordelia" and I thought Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, not Brideshead Revisited!

    Oy!

    By Blogger Ron, at Sat Mar 24, 01:36:00 am GMT-4  

  • LOL, Ron. I have no idea about that Cordelia, having never watched Buffy.

    (I know, I know, all my friends did. Also, the other one...Angel?)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Mar 25, 01:33:00 am GMT-4  

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