Saturday, August 13, 2016

St. Jude Church, New Orleans

I loved this church in New Orleans. Ironically I had gone to the near by great cemetery where the still remembered Voodoo queen is laid to rest only to find the cemetery closed.  I then happened on St. Judes. St. Jude is the Saint of Lost Causes. I certainly have thought myself that on occasion.  Probably why of I love the great Blues numbers played so well in New Orleans, “Oh When the Saints” .  I do want to be in that number but am so easily distracted by the world.  While I know I was interested in the ‘shrine’ of the voodoo queen, as an artist,  the Lord of Creation, the Jesus of my understanding, intervened and took my steps to the nearby St. Jude’s.
It was open and inviting. I walked in, crossing myself with a bow, then kneeled in the pews and prayed.  I like to pray in churches. I like to sit and meditate.  I did this for a while until a cell phone rang and the only other person in the church, a woman, began to carry on a conversation with some distant person about groceries and shopping.  It was my cue to leave.
Outside there was a crypt to the Virgin Mary and a garden. Lovely places to sit and contemplate faith, hope and deliverance.  I was lost but now I’m found.
Jesus Christ mean’s ‘christ within and christ will come again’.  Often for me the sense of lost and found is moment by moment. I listen to the latest in politics and this seems like hell, then I see someone helping another and I feel I’m in heaven. It’s perspective.  I like St. Jude.  Probably because it took the Beatles to introduce me to this saint.  Then throughout my life I’ve had the sense of being lost and found.  There’s a sense of alienation, something triggers a feeling and memory and I’m back in the past my life being threatened and feeling that sense of helplessness, horror and imminent death or dismemberment.
St. Jude’s was a lovely church to visit , pray and meditate in. I love these sanctuaries.  I am so thankful for the work through the ages of Catholics and Christians that have created these shrines in the west. I am thankful for religions the world over that have made ‘third spaces’ that remain today where I can visit and feel safe. I can even feel a bit of serenity at times.  New Orleans is a city of energy and also peace.

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