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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 12:41PM

St. Francis Xavier died 465 years ago. He is said to have baptised over 100,000 people. His baptizing arm is somehow preserved to date and presently on a tour of Canada.

The Catholic relic arrived in Newfoundland first as part of its 14-city tour, a gift for Canada's 150th birthday. The "incorrupt" forearm and hand (so called due to lack of decay) usually resides in a reliquary at the Jesuit mother church in Rome.

Reasons for long line-ups to view the relic were given as "the oddity of the relic and the deep belief in the church and the teachings of St. Francis Xavier".

Francis is apparently considered the be "the greatest evangelizer since St. Paul for his missionary work".

One woman who went to see the arm stated "It lets you be part of something that is more powerful than all of us”. She said that a lot of Newfoundlanders pray to St. Francis, hence the crowds to see the relic.

One of the faithful stated that Francis' aim in life was to "baptize and Christianize people".

Here are some statements in the newspaper article describing the relic's tour that I found interesting:

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to venerate the relic of one of the greatest missionaries and evangelists since St. Paul the Apostle."

"The Catholic Christian Outreach is hoping for three extraordinary graces as an outcome from this pilgrimage, including the conversion of souls, raising up of missionary disciples who are abandoned to God’s will[,] and healing."

"The church hopes those who attend each relic stop will have the unique opportunity to personally encounter Jesus."

There are 13 more stops across the country, including the city where I live. I'm allergic to line-ups so will avoid. Also, I'm not Catholic. However, a while back I did go to see a facsimile of the Shroud of Turin, displayed in a church right near where I live so I couldn't resist. Only the second time I've been in a Catholic Church in my life. Oh - third, I guess. First was as a babe in arms when my parents baptized me in a church in England where I was born. I didn't venerate the Shroud, as it was only a copy anyway, and because I don't believe in it, and because I'm not the venerating sort. But I get the fascination with it.

I think I would have had to be brought up as a Catholic to believe in the saints and all that. Or maybe even then I wouldn't believe. I much more easily blended in with my first encounter with religion - the JW's - who don't believe in veneration either. Also, they heartily dislike the Catholic Church, much like the Mormons (although they may have lightened up about it a bit recently?).

I'm much more interested in knowing how the relic didn't "corrupt". But it still doesn't look pretty. I'm squeamish enough that I wouldn't want to see it in person. On the TV news it looked quite black - ewwwww. But it means a lot to many folks. I do somewhat understand the instinct though and the longing for miracles. Even I, a skeptic in that regard, was 87% in favour of my devout Catholic uncle travelling to Lourdes to seek healing when he became ill way young. It was really just a desperate impulse on my part, and a very tiny little faint hope. But he never made it there and as is the reality of human existence he went away before his time, as they say.

The Xavier relic reminded me of the Mormon "arm to the square". I didn't know what that meant the first time I heard it. It sounded quite strange. The missionary I queried about meaning looked baffled and demonstrated holding his arm up. "But what does it MEAN?" I asked again and he just shook his head, muttering "the square". I tend to be literal and I was asking "what SQUARE?". Much later, on a trip to Salt Lake City (as a pilgrim?!), when we went into the heart of the Mormon existence there, the light dawned. I said "Aha, the SQUARE!". And for a very long time I thought the arm was raised to Temple Square, a symbol of Mormonism. Now I realize that it's more a geometric thing. Right?

I know there are aspects of all religious beliefs that seem strange to outsiders.

Some stranger than others, of course.

Edit to Add: Oops, forgot the link to the newspaper article I was referencing:

http://www.thetelegram.com/news/local/relic-draws-newfoundlanders-to-basilica-to-see-saints-preserved-arm-175000/



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2018 01:59PM by Nightingale.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 12:54PM

So it's like Star Wars junkies having Comic-Con show up in their out-of-the-way home town?

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 01:04PM

Nightingale Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Now I realize that it's more
> a geometric thing. Right?

A Freemason thing, actually, but yeah.
The "square" (a tool used in all sorts of construction, including masonry, to make sure things line up at right angles) figures big-time in Freemasonry.

As for the subject of Xavier's "relic..."

People "venerating" a mummified arm.
And expecting to get healed or see Jesus.
Ugh.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 02:11PM

Hi hie:

I took the comment about seeing Jesus to be figurative. I hope.

But yeah. Venerating a human, or a piece of a dead human goes against the grain for me. Looking for religious "truth" since a young age (not instilled by parents) I first went with JWs (due to boarding with a lovely JW woman and meeting all her equally lovely friends and relatives) and then various evangelical groups (some quite fundamentalist). Then the infamous Mormon interlude of course (which felt like "coming home" as it's surprisingly similar in many ways to JWs). But basically I'm naturally pretty down to earth. I do enjoy metaphors and figurative concepts and the exploration of new ideas but I don't take much of it, if any, literally.

"Seeing Jesus" to me could well be a feeling or a metaphor or something not at all literal. I wouldn't find it inspiring if it were literal, but rather, scary, as to me it wouldn't be a scriptural idea (as far as what I've learned through lots of Bible reading).

It does remind me of a Mormon ward mission leader I knew who conducted a lot of classes/studies that the missionaries were accustomed to doing but he barged in and took over as study leader, full of bluster and weirdness. In one class he told us about a dream he had of being at 7-11 and seeing a man there with long flowing green hair who turned out to be Jesus. There happened to be a woman there who was a pre-investigator - she left right in the middle of the class! A couple of investigators never returned. Only myself and one other new convert were ever seen again. The missionaries were furious. In that case, we got a new WML pretty darn quick. Obviously, some ideas are beyond the pale even in circles known to already be a bit iffy in some ways.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2018 02:13PM by Nightingale.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 02:19PM

I see your point of view.

But I did take it "literally." 'Cause, to me, if you're going to claim to "personally encounter Jesus," that should mean you're going to PERSONALLY ENCOUNTER JESUS. If you're just going to have a feeling or something, and then call it "personally encountering Jesus" no matter what it was, just say so. I'm a fan of accuracy in statements, which goes against the grain of religion :(

As for it not being scriptural...Saul was not a christian, and "saw Jesus" (in a vision, and became Paul). Thomas was a doubter, and "saw Jesus" (in the flesh, supposedly). So unless it only works for apostles or soon-to-be-apostles-who-don't-know-they're-going-to-be-apostles, it seems "scriptural" :)

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 02:41PM

I see your point too about personally encountering Jesus - (1) that if you say that don't be surprised if people take it literally and (2) that guys in the Bible apparently did actually see Jesus.

What I meant to say, and for all my efforts, wasn't exactly specific enough about it, was that apart from Bible times, people outside the scriptures, us - I don't see anywhere that it says "ordinary" folks will see Jesus in this life.

There is a Christian hymn, the name of which I can't come up with at this moment, in which one line goes "I have seen Jesus" (or "will see" or "have seen"; I should look it up). Again, I have always taken that figuratively. I could be wrong. It happens every once in a while. I'll check it out.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 02:49PM

Nightingale Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What I meant to say, and for all my efforts,
> wasn't exactly specific enough about it, was that
> apart from Bible times, people outside the
> scriptures, us - I don't see anywhere that it says
> "ordinary" folks will see Jesus in this life.

Why do you suppose that is, that it only happened way back when in old stories, and doesn't happen now?

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 03:01PM

I'm guessing you'll say, hie, that we can't prove that it did happen back then, which is highly convenient for the "high priests" amongst us, in old times and new?

But,in the dim and distant past of my trek through religion, so my memory may be faulty, I think the explanation (or insight?) is that now we "go by faith", meaning you don't need to see Jesus to believe in him. Because it's faith. Not fact.

I actually found that quite appealing. A good feeling. Of believing so much you don't need to touch the nail holes. Faith. Not scars or blood. That's a big part of why I don't line up to see old dead flesh. Plus not 'worshipping' some old guy.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 03:14PM

Definitely not meant to be literal for today's Christians. Talking of the tomb back in the day.

At least I think so. (Hope so!) Because then that WML at 7-11 wouldn't be so weird after all. Jesus. Even with the green hair. Long green hair. And he was plenty weird (the WML, not the guy with the long hair).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2018 03:14PM by Nightingale.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 03:59PM

Nightingale Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm guessing you'll say, hie, that we can't prove
> that it did happen back then, which is highly
> convenient for the "high priests" amongst us, in
> old times and new?

I would indeed. :)

> But,in the dim and distant past of my trek through
> religion, so my memory may be faulty, I think the
> explanation (or insight?) is that now we "go by
> faith", meaning you don't need to see Jesus to
> believe in him. Because it's faith. Not fact.

That is one of the answers I usually get when I ask that question. I don't find it at all compelling, even though you might. I can point to literally thousands of hucksters who insisted people have 'faith' in their claims, and their claims turned out to be absolutely false (Joseph Smith among them!). I don't see any value in 'faith.'

> I actually found that quite appealing. A good
> feeling. Of believing so much you don't need to
> touch the nail holes. Faith. Not scars or blood.
> That's a big part of why I don't line up to see
> old dead flesh. Plus not 'worshipping' some old
> guy.

I must have origins from Missouri somewhere..."show me." :)
If faith brings you comfort, then go for it.
I don't see any value in it. For me, things that are real don't require 'faith.' And things that require 'faith' in human history turn out to be nonsense. I'll go by evidence, you go by faith, we'll both enjoy our lives, ok?

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 04:08PM

I appreciate your comments, hie.

In many aspects of life I do depend on facts. Even when it comes to religion for the most part. But I get what you're saying.

I live in the fact-filled medical world where unproven claims are anathema when it comes to human health. I want to know facts, not claims, when it comes to medications.

Maybe this approach in a big aspect of my life since forever is why I have never found a permanent faith home. I've never been able to get lost down deep into an entire belief system. And I'm literal and a bit OCD and I have always thought that a basic requirement of being an adherent to a particular group was that you had to believe all of the tenets. Which I to date have not been able to find, or do. So, maybe I'm a slow learner. It's been an interesting journey though. Painful, yeah. But never dull.

Yes, here's hoping we will both enjoy our lives. Although challenges abound.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 05:11PM

Nightingale Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Yes, here's hoping we will both enjoy our lives.
> Although challenges abound.

Amen to that.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2018 05:15PM by ificouldhietokolob.

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 01:08PM

Mormons venerate temples, Hill Cumorah, and GAs. GAs are the only artifacts small enough to take on tour, and they have the added advantage that they can walk and ride in transportation, so they are self-delivering artifacts. Handy.

Mormons think Catholic artifacts are beyond goofy, and are totally oblivious to what the world thinks of, say, the San Diego temple.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 01:12PM

GAs on tour vs a Catholic Relic on tour: The Catholic Relic does not poop.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 01:29PM

...and it doesn't use tithing money for pay for meals!

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 02:43PM

If you want, could you kindly ask Eric for my alternate email address and ping me? I messed up with AOL and lost all my messages and never got back to some people I wanted to stay in contact with. So I lost all their emails too. Damn AOL! And I'm so late trying to rectify it. Time does indeed fly.

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Posted by: Deb ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 04:50PM

AOL? Didn't know anyone still uses it.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 05:09PM

Yeah. I did back a while ago (years). They started charging $1.00 for it but then it went up to $4.50. I had no idea why. Then I got super super busy and couldn't deal with it at the time. The next time I went to use it they had wiped me out of existence. I lost not only my mail but also all the email addresses I hadn't written down. It's taken me a long time to get back around to trying to catch up with everybody again. (Yes, my job is too busy, not enough time for the important things in life).

Then I heard later that yeah, AOL is passe, apparently. I still don't know what they started charging me for. I had a very basic email service.

However, I am a dinosaur, 'tis true, when it comes to computer things. I don't adapt very quickly and change puts me right off my stride. I do regret losing touch with people and especially for the emails I didn't even get a chance to answer. I wasn't ignoring anybody on purpose, I promise. Unfortunately, the AOL address was the one I used for RfM.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 02:00PM


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Posted by: 3X ( )
Date: January 10, 2018 05:13PM

Positively grotesque (worshiping the arm of a corpse).

As an aside, I am the product of a Xaverian high-school education.

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Posted by: Double Appendage ( )
Date: January 12, 2018 04:52PM

Geez, talk about the arm of flesh... :-)

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