Last summer I wrote a post, one of my first as a Ratburger: Summer with Sister Jenny. I’m sure you don’t remember it but I just re-read it and…well it’s really good, though I say it as shouldn’t!
It was about my relationship with my body. And here we are, Sister Jenny and I, on the cusp of another summer. She’s been good, no cheating on me, no incomprehensible or humiliating betrayals.
When my husband falls into bed beside me each night, cool smooth dense well-muscled flesh, I thank God for his robust vigor, his solidity. Because surely we stand in sight of spindleshank territory, slippered pantaloon territory.
i hosted a young priest at a gathering once. As hostess I felt bad for him; two other people there had recently lost close relatives in painful agony, and mere dinner-party etiquette could not prevent them from asking him the obvious question ? Why?!?
The young hierophant said suffering is “salvific”. And I reckon thats why the Christian devouts mortified the flesh, with cinctures, hair shirts. It was to make them realize they were not the flesh.
But really, wouldn’t that have the opposite effect? Wouldn’t it reduce the “I” to nothing but pain? Has anyone who has ever endured physical agony, or a constant “thorn in the flesh” as St Paul put it, not been totally obsessed with the goad itself?
Arent we freest to contemplate the sublime when our bodies are functioning so well we needn’t give them a thought?
What is the relationship between (at times orthodox) mortification of the flesh to attain spiritual bliss, and cutting , burning, and other acts of self harm which seem to be so common today?
i revere my Jenny, I value her strength, I rejoice in her (to date) congenial company! I dont know how much time we’ve got, but I shall revel in it. And do you likewise, O Ratty! Summer is here: rejoice!!