Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Of breasts and bosoms...

Ever since the Fall, we have been objectifying ourselves; noticing our bodies and turning them into objects rather than something more whole, more spiritual and God-given.  Young children are quick to point out the sexual differences they see around them and I have wondered if Adam and Eve had got round to procreating in Eden before the serpent showed up, whether their children would have done this "willies and boobies" nonsense. It is, of course, innocently done but it is surely a mark of our Original Sin as our first parents were unaware of their nakedness before they fell.

The cult of St Agatha is a good example of this objectification.  Her excessive torture at one stage involved the removal of her breasts and countless art works throughout the ages have depicted her proudly showing off her severed organs like cakes she has just baked.
We continue to objectify poor St Agatha, forever thinking of her breasts, as we objectify ourselves through our wounded sexuality and wounded sense of self.  However, there is no harm in this.  She is a martyr and as a member of the Church Triumphant she can rightly show off her sufferings for Christ. 

I do think, however, it is important to remember the rest of her story.  St Peter came to her in a vision and restored her breasts to her.  She did not die from this particular gross injury.

This fact is told us in several of today's antiphons and I find the language rather profound.

Benedico te, Pater Domini mei Iesu Christi, quie per Apostolum tuum mamillam meam meo pectori restiituisti.

I bless Thee, O Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, because by Thy Apostle Thou has restored my breast to my bosom.
Mamilla (breast) restored to pectus (bosom), BUT pectus is so much more than an anatomical region, it is the heart and it is also the soul.  In this restoration of her breasts to her body, she is made not just whole in body, but totally whole in body, soul and spirit.

Notice who does this restoration.  It is St Peter.  Wake up, people!!! It is the Church that can make us whole again, restore all our wounded natures, whether wounded through abuse, self-abuse, imperfect nature and or nurture.

I really don't think we pray hard enough to be healed and purified (victims and perpetrators), because surely if we did, we would be.


St Agatha and St Peter, Orate pro nobis.

What a day for the Magdalene laundry report in Ireland and the abominations happening in the House of Commons as I write...

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