Today, as it was the first Friday, I happened to go for the adoration in the nearby parish church. Something that was said during the prayer made me write this. I would paraphrase the statement made by the person who was guiding the adoration.
He praised God, that God is great, wonderful and all. [I have no doubt in that]. Then he said, How Great is He that He should look at us, the miserable creatures. I have heard similar statements in many praise and worship programs. Do Christianity promote such a view? [I am not a theologian, but still I answer a simple believer]. I don’t think so. No blame to that person who said it so and all. I would try to explain my point with some examples
I know a priest called Fr Philip Terrasa, SJ. A saintly Jesuit priest, who might be around 87 years. He had given us courses on self-esteem, self image during the early days of formation. He used to say
1. I am precious because God is my creator. [No creator would create junk or useless things].
2. I am precious because God loves me. [Nobody loves something/ someone where they cant find beauty or goodness].
3. I am unique and different too…
And a 4th reason in Christianity comes from the very act of incarnation, where Jesus became human. Jesus might say,
4. Being human is amazing and wonderful
We could give many more answers. I only pointed out a few thoughts from the perspective of a God, I know. The prayer scene might be like this.
Devotee: You are great, I am useless and dust; Bless me.
Jesus : Yes, I definitely bless you; but don’t be foolish to say you are useless.
Yes, I like to be a Christian, who values humanity, beauty and uniqueness of others and me. Let our prayers and life reflect that.
There is another takeaway. Knowingly or unknowingly, we are making a distinction between sacred and secular. They are poles apart. Yes, God belongs to the sacred realm and I belong to the secular realm. Now the problem comes when I put religious leaders too in the sacred realm. They are to be respected and appreciated (fine..!!). They are different from us. Others are lower than them. [these two are problematic]..
When this mentality get into the heads of religious leaders, it can lead to clericalism. Pope Francis repeatedly challenges it.
To respect the call to be a priest/nun/anyone, you dont need to place them somewhere far. They are part of us. All of us follow our unique vocation. Let’s live together meaningfully and with joy.
Honouring the other doesn’t mean creation of new gulfs/boundaries…
Honouring the other doesn’t mean denigrating me….