Where There Were No Doors

Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were no doors before - Joseph Campbell

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Satan's clever attacks

Dear Lord, I pray that you will keep me alert to Satan's clever attacks and help me to depend on you to conquer him.

I read that little prayer several times a day. It's printed on a little card stuck to the edge of my monitor... next to the breakfast-cereal sticker of Winnie The Pooh. You can see it in the image below.

Satan's clever attacks!

I was raised Catholic. And though my folks aren't heavily religious, they are regular church-goers, and decided that a Christian Brothers Catholic school would best suit my academic development. This meant that although my home life wasn't particularly religious, my school life was.

Irish Catholicism has its own atmosphere to it. I've lived in Spain, and in Greece. In both those countries the dominant christian church (Roman Catholicism and Greek Orthodoxy respectively) also had their own unique atmospheres. Different smells, different colours... the interplay of light and shadow altered strangely by geography and history. The curious echoing of new accents and languages. But still it's the Catholic churches and schools of Ireland whose atmosphere enfolds me when I think of religion. And I suspect it always will be.

Which is why I keep that little prayer on my monitor as a constant reminder. When I call to mind a memory from my days with the Christian Brothers, and I feel that dark, icy chill of intolerance and repression running down my spine, I read the words before me and remember just how tragically absurd the whole business is.


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