By George Kimando
Growing up in the village, we knew that music was only twofold: za Mungu na za shetani. Even the definition as ‘secular’ was a later exposition.
The regular ‘discos’ were attended by ‘wayward’ people, and we kept our distance from them.
Interactions with people of different denominations, leave alone religions, was rare and fought by many.
Mixed marriages were headline news.
I have dedicated a lot of time and space in my writings on SPIRITUALITY and RELIGIOSITY, two orientations that seem to strangle each other to date.
More often than not, most faithfuls ascribe to the latter, mostly because they do not understand the former or even either.
Religiosity is largely premised on rules and dogma, the dos and donts that chaperon worship and practise of divinity. It’s largely man made over history, through cultures, traditions and customs.
Spirituality calls us to have a personal relationship with God, even before we get into collective religious practises.
It means starting with loving God and neighbour, and the rest falling in place.
The following homily attributed to Pope Francis, informs this recollection.
Imagine a single mother who goes to church or parish, and says: I WANT TO BAPTIZE MY SON, and the attendant says: ‘No, you can’t, because you are not married”.
Let us keep in mind that this mother had the courage to keep a pregnancy. And what does she find? A locked door!
So, if we follow this path and attitude, we are not doing Gods people good.
Jesus created the seven sacraments and with this kind of attitude, we create an eighth: the sacrament of pastoral customs!
“WHOEVER APPROACHES THE CHURCH MUST FIND OPEN DOORS AND NOT FAIRS OF FAITH”.
We need saints without veil, without toner. We need saints in jeans and sneakers.
We need saints who will go to the movies, listen to music, and stroll with their friends.
We need saints who put God first and excel in University.
We need saints who find time to pray every day and know how to fall in love with purity and chastity, or consecrate their chastity.
We need modern saints, twenty-first century saints with a spirituality embedded in our time.
We need saints committed to the poor and necessary social change.
We need saints who live in the world, who get holy in the world, and who are not afraid to live in the world.
We need saints who drink coke and eat hot dogs, who are netizens, who listen to iPod.
We need saints who love the Eucharist and are not ashamed to drink a beer or eat pizza on the weekend with friends.
We need saints who like cinema, theatre, music, dance, sports.
We need social saints, open, normal, friends, cheerful, companions.
We need saints who are in the world and who can taste the pure and good things of the world, but without being worldly.”
This is supposed to be us!
No one is perfect.
What Pope Benedict is essentially calling us into is to purify and uplift one another with our words and deeds.
Which makes me prayerfully wonder: are heaven and hell realities we are meant to make right here on earth? What kind of a Saint am i?
Have a thoughtful Sunday, and a great week ahead.