Sunday, December 30, 2007

Spiritual Tourism

"My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind." -- Albert Einstein

If you have looked at my blogger profile, you will see I list my profession as Spiritual Tourist. I have always found worthwhile bits and pieces from a myriad of spiritual traditions. Even things I might find a bit silly have a place in my sacred toolbox. At one time I had a positively glorious collection of trashy religious art. I loved it. I think I still have a flocked picture of Our Lady of Guadeloupe somewhere. I admire the kind of devotion which puts a statue of Mary in an upright bathtub in Saint Louis, or in more exotic locations, builds roadside shrines. And I love prayer flags!

I also believe spiritual things, and life in general, must be approached with humor. Nothing is sacreligious to me. If God made pugs, He/She must have a sense of humor. So, I have to laugh at Mr. Deity.

In Saint Louis there is a custom that when selling your house, you bury a statue of Saint Joseph upside down in the front yard. I can' t remember if he is supposed to face the house or the curb. All of the Catholic supply stores sell small statues for this purpose, with instructions on how to do it properly. You think I am kidding? Our house sold in less than a week at higher than the listing price. I dunno why these things work, but they seem to. And I am not Catholic. At least not recently.

There is an order of nuns in Saint Louis, commonly known as the Pink Sisters, who have remarkable success with the power of their prayer. They are a contemplative order who wear hot pink habits, and live smack in the middle of a very tough gang neighborhood where I once did hospice nursing. I used to go sit in their chapel during my lunch break. Maybe that is why I never had any harm come to me.

Anyway, a number of years ago, Pope John Paul II was coming to Saint Louis in January. That month is notorious for awful weather and people were worried, so they set the Pink Sisters to work on it. We had the best weather ever for that visit. (Hmmm. Maybe those Pink Sisters need to be praying for us as we build a house in Dominica.)

So of course I love Saint Expedite. Saint Expedite is the patron of those who hope for rapid solutions to problems, who wish to avoid or put an end to delays. And I certainly need his help right now.

There is a humorous tale about the arrival of Saint Expedite in New Orleans: The story goes that in outfitting the Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the priests sent off for a statue of the Virgin. Many months later, they received TWO crates instead of one. They opened the first and it contained the statue of Mary, which they had commissioned. They turned to the unexpected second crate, which said EXPEDITE on the outside. There they found the statue of a Roman centurion, and mistook the shipping instructions -- EXPEDITE, meaning, "expedite this shipment" -- to be the name of a saint.

Expedite may be my favorite saint. I used to have a stack of his prayer cards, but I passed them out to friends who needed something expedited. I would love someone to send me some more.

livingdominica: I also honor the solar wheel, have participated in sweat lodges, and meditated with the Buddhists. I am totally nondiscriminatory when it comes to the spiritual life, and therefore probably offend everyone. Sorry.

1 comment:

Jungle Christine said...

Hi jen, i have a really good (and long) Einstein biography which you can borrow anytime. I found it really gave me a new insight into this extraordinary man. He's my favorite 'quotee' as well! I'm not quite sure where you live, but I live in Delices but spend almost every waking hour at Jungle Bay. Come visit if you're ever in the neighborhood! PS still no water, im hoping for today. its especially fun being 6 months pregnant with no water.