There’s another weeping Virgin Mary statue–this time in Israel. Huffington Post reports on the phenomenon here.
What do we make of it? Well, weird things happen. In July 2012 I commented here on a statue of Mary in India that was weeping blood. So what’s going on?
It’s simple. Reality is more flexible than we thought. Weird things happen. Here’s an article I wrote some time ago with that title. It examines the strange phenomena that occur around the world without saying ‘yea’ or ‘nay’.
This reminds us that religion is about the intersection of the supernatural and the natural. Religion is not just a moral code or a set of doctrines to believe. So the conversation I once had with a Christian who doubted miracles. He wanted a religion without miracles. What good is a religion like that? I want a religion that overturns my smug, snug little world–I don’t want a religion that makes me comfortable. I want one that makes me question, and miracles do just that.
Well, it seems to me you only have two choices. Either a miraculous religion or a set of table manners.’
No matter what the religion, it has to include the supernatural. Otherwise its not really religion at all. Whether it is a statue of Ganesh sipping milk, a saint receiving the stigmata, the prophet Mohammed receiving the Koran from the angel Gabriel; whether it is a sadhu going into a trance and climbing a rope or a Buddhist sitting on top the Himalayas in his underpants without feeling the cold, religion is intrinsically miraculous. Religion, after all, is about the interface between this world and the next, and when you get into that territory weird things happen. Therefore, when dealing with religion, the odd thing is not that odd things happen, but if odd things were not to happen. No matter what conclusions you draw about the odd phenomena, the fact remains that they touch on that human fact we call religion. When sincere religious people try to weed out the supernatural from religion they should realise that what is left is not religion at all. It’s a moral code.
The point of the article is that religion that does not deal with the supernatural is not a religion at all. It’s a set of table manners–a set of social behaviors that support the boring, hum drum respectability of religion. Fugeddaboudit.
A fake religion like that isn’t worth my time.Furthermore, it was that sort of “rules, regulations, doctrines and dogmas” religion that Jesus blasted. He was for turning over the tables and trying to get the people to see that real religion is not less than the rules and regulations, doctrines and dogmas, but more than all that stuff. What did he say to his disciples, “You see those Pharisees and Saducees? You’ve got to be better than them.”
In other words, your faith has to take you beyond their religion.People spout the lie, “I want to be spiritual not religious”. The good part about that is that they are rejecting a religion which is no more than rules, regulations, doctrine and dogmas. But they are rejecting it for something less. I’m in favor of rejecting it for something more.I’m for the religion that fulfills all the rules and regulations, doctrines and dogmas from the inside out.
That is what we see in the saints. They hit the bullseye without trying. They live out the rules and regulations and live out the doctrines and dogmas in their everyday life. They incarnate the rules, regulations, doctrines and dogmas as a musician, when he steps on the stage to play a Rachmaninov concerto incarnates the notes, the score, the years of music lessons, the music theory and the years of practice and sacrifice.
So a Virgin Mary statue that weeps oil? I’m for it. Bring on everything that upsets my smug little world. Bring on the incorruptible bodies of saints, levitating mystics, friars with stigmata, the spinning sun, holy healing hands of wondrous priests and holy exorcists, and if one day I am accused of believing too much….well I’d rather that than be accused of believing too little.May I be held guilty of gullibility rather than cynicism, for it is in my gullibility that I have become like a foolish child, and I pray that in that I may be blessed.
This is what The Romance of Religion is about–setting off on the impossible dream and the absurd quest for beauty, truth and goodness.