This is probably the only cathedral in the world with a rooster coop perched above a side altar …. With live roosters inside !!! The story of how they got there, centuries ago, is too long and bizarre to explain in this blog. I would suggest you google the title of this blog and see for yourself. It’s a cute but strange story that gives people a reason to smile/laugh at Catholicism.
Coming into this beautiful town brought us on a path in which the Earth never looked so beautiful. The rolling, red hills gently enveloped us with a tranquil blanket of peace.
The earth is Mother bringing forth life in countless ways: plants, trees, vines, flowers , fruits, vegetables…not to forget worms and other earthly critters. And of course Humankind.
How terribly we treat this grand Mother of creation. Mary has been a constant companion of mine on this journey , a Mother who received her humanity from Mother Earth and gave us her Son, the Son of God, to All humanity. In a church visited yesterday in Najera, the church of Santa Maria Real , an image of Jesus with his arms stretched out on the cross, embraced us gazing up at him. His living gaze enveloped us like the earth as we walked into the village of Santo Domingo.
Directly underneath Jesus on the cross rested an image of Mary holding the child Jesus in her lap. She is the Mother, like earth, who keeps bringing new life into the world, for she is the gift Jesus gave to the world on the very cross of unconditional Love. We are her sons and daughters and she, too, envelops each one of us on our journeys.
We are surrounded, enveloped , by earth, creation , Mary, the Saints and Jesus. He gave his life on the cross not simply out of ransom, but unconditional Love. I believe if there never was Original Sin, Jesus would still have died on the cross just to witness to his unconditional love. Perhaps I’m entering heresy. So be it. In every heresy there has to be a kernel of truth. Yes, he died to heal and forgive us of our sins but the mystery is much deeper than even this truth. Mary, who was conceived WITHOUT original sin still experienced the redemption of the Cross.
Mary is leading us to express Truths that have become tired and rote in new and creative ways.
As I walk the way with so many young people , who have chosen to distance themselves from any religion, I have a desire to think about ancient Truths in ways that they can receive. I want them to have an experience of the Church as Mother enveloping them with meaning, purpose and mission. We have to start speaking our faith in new “languages” that may seem
like heresy but may very well be the same Mystery spoken anew. My mission is to try and reach the young, the future of our Church and Faith. And I have NO doubt whatsoever that this Church will be in better hands.
Buen Camimo. Fr. Frank