The first clear thought I had when I woke up this morning was “I am a Bride of Christ.” The nuns in the Catholic School believed that they had a monopoly on their marriages to Christ. How I knew this was because of their black skirts, white habits and dangling crucifixes. They dressed the part.
The other reason I knew they were the Brides of Christ is because they told me so. They said that they had been blessed with a vocation and had given up “carnal pleasures.” For many years, I thought they said “caramel pleasures” so that didn't sound so good to me. Caramel is one of my favorite flavors. I particularly like caramelized green apples.
This other business about the nuns having a 'vocation' really made its impression on my young mind. I loved reading about Joan of Arc, and the other female martyrs and I was always moved by the prospect of being burned at the stake or sleeping on nails or going to hang out in a leper colony.
The main thing I understood as a child was that you couldn't have a vocation unless you suffered and unless you didn't like boys. Except you could like priests, in fact, you SHOULD like priests because priests are the only ones who have a direct connection with God. You can only be a priest if you are a man. So, as a nun, you have a better connection with God than everyday people, BUT you will never have the kind of connection a priest does. Even as a child, a female child, this pissed me off!
I might also mention that it was a “sin” in parochial school to like yourself. Modesty was a most coveted virtue. I will spend the rest of my lifetime undoing that learning. Another thing I learned as a good, little, catholic girl was that it's a shame to have a body because your body is a near occasion of sin. An “impure thought' could send you straight to hell. If you acted on your “impure thoughts” you not only went to hell – you couldn't be redeemed. EVER!
To make a long story short, when I was 20 years old, I was at a Catholic Mass one day and the priest was lecturing on what a 'good catholic' did and didn't do. I left in the middle of the sermon and I didn't go back. The orientation of the sermon was monotheistic - “there is only one true path – the holy catholic church.” Everyone else, without exception, goes to hell.
I walked out because I could not tolerate one more moment of right and wrong, good and bad, black and white. Even then my beliefs leaned towards a non-dualistic way of thinking. I believe that every human being has the birthright to make their own choices before a God of their own personal understanding.
ORIGINAL SIN by Patricia Flasch
When St. Augustine came up with this idea of ‘original sin’, he must have been really off his game…
Full of self-loathing and shame, he projected his own deepest suffering on the collective, all human kind.
Then, he decided, since he was, and then we were, rotten to the core – he came up with this hair-brained idea that Adam was a bad dude for eating the apple and Eve was a fallen woman for biting into the same fruit, and then they both needed to be ‘punished’ for their sins…
And, we all bought in and this archaic set of beliefs has been going on and on and on for many lifetimes and all across the world…
I am here to challenge St. Augustine – I do have compassion for his suffering but he really needed to work it out inside himself instead of pissing on humanity…
WE WERE NOT BORN INTO ORIGINAL SIN, WE WERE, INSTEAD, BORN INTO A STATE OF GRACE and it’s GRACE that lives in the well spring of our beings, and GRACE that is guiding us home right now even while we read this poem…
My husband says that ‘original sin’ turned out to be a great marketing tool for the church. Since we are sinners and we are born that way, we need a priest or a minister to take us out of that dark place – and since we don’t have a direct connection with the Divine, we need these intermediaries and we need to fill these collection plates and go to confession and sing Mea Culpa forever…
Now we have a new song, Grace is our deepest truth,
the one that lives inside behind the story about the suffering and the inherent badness
and now I’m a prophet but so are you
because you KNOW that you are holy and following your deepest desires brings you home
and so we no longer have to fill collection plates or go to confession and instead we are out singing in the streets and dancing til dawn…
Yes, that’s right, I’m boldly suggesting that we do a ‘break dance’ –
Break from sin, shame or punishment… you see what I mean here?
This story is about freeing myself from dogma and opening to the light of my own Spirit and passing it on to you! This story is not about bad mouthing the catholic church. The story represents my own spiritual evolution and I respect and honor my readers' points of view.