Only rarely do I get the gift of true understanding- that sense of YES, that is right…that nails it perfectly…this morning it was the phrase God as mystery used by a man I had never heard of in a pod cast I seldom take the time to listen to. In reply to what you may be thinking, let me quickly ask that you suspend the Duh that is hovering in your mind and ask that you walk with me for a few brief moments while I explain.
I took time this morning after praying the Office to check out Krista Tippett’s On Being. Normally I file them each Saturday when I receive them, thinking this or that interview looks interesting, I’ll watch it later. But later never comes. The interviews are long-45 minutes and are pod casts, a venue I am still trying to accustom myself to; this morning I was attracted to an interview with Richard Rodriquez and decided to act on the attraction. While I listened to the entire interview between Tippett and Rodriquez, called The American Consciousness, I learned from Google library that Rodriquez is Catholic, a devout Catholic, gay and is an award winning essayist.
Following 9/11, Rodriquez traveled to the middle east to ‘see for himself’ the people whose God is his God-the God of Abraham, to visit the vast uninhabitable deserts of the middle east. Wryly, he tells Tippett of the American discomfort with what is understood and loved in the middle east—witness Los Angeles and Las Vegas as the uniquely American response to vast uninhabitable space.
In this engrossing conversation, Rodriquez speaks almost lyrically as he explains his love for Catholicism, including this phrase that seems thrown is as an afterthought: ‘My church forbids the use of love to describe a relationship between two men, together for over thirty years’ and the profound sense of oneness he felt while in the land of Abraham. He works among people, he says, who are totally against religion and talks almost offhandedly of a trip made to San Quentin prison with Mother Teresa. There on death row, he said this tiny woman looked at one of the faces in the solitary cells of death row and said,
“Do you want to see God? Then look at the face of the man in the next cell to your own, the murderer, the rapist. There you will see the face of God.”
The interview ends with a remark from Rodriquez about the a book written by one of America’s most notable atheists- his one comment about Mother Teresa was that she was so ugly. This woman who lived the last 40 years of her life in apparent desolation and despair, an agreement she made with Jesus so that she could save souls.