Sunday, September 17, 2006

Mark 8:31-38 and today's Roman Catholic readings

Alcibiades at Keshertalk has an interesting reflection on the Pope's controversial remarks. The link includes the thrust of my commentary as well. My reverence for the Cistercian who gave, as in my experience they always do, such wonderful explanations and correlations with the text of today's Gospel. An English portrait painter, ? Turner, said that a portrait was a 'picture with a little something wrong about the mouth.' Only when you have a great exposition do small minds have the luxury of making small, delightful rearrangements. The monk's byway into who is Satan was most transcendental. He told the story of Job from the standpoint of seeing Satan as a passive-aggressive servant of God. God is pleased with Job's faithfulness. Satan tells Him, 'Of course he is faithful. He is the richest man there (he appreciates his reward). Make him poor.. Make him sick and ill..' And yet Job said, 'The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed is the name of the Lord.'

The Garden of Eden story, further referenced by the monk, strikes me as Satan in a different category. The allegory of Satan's telling Eve that if she eats of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil she will be like God as a temptation to be bad in only a 'hood sense. It seems to me the development of the human, the growth of her brain as it is given in this story, is really one of making a cathexis for something desirable. In this case our advancement more clearly leads us to know the mind of the other. But, like, for example, marriage, it has its own complications which one has committed oneself to. My favorite story of my psychiatry professor, Dr. DeLoache, was his joking that the Church had it's priests be celibate because it knew 'how many souls for hell marriage produced.'

And finally, James 2: 14-18, for me informs us, as physicians, that to merely bask in the idealism of our profession, and not to seek out the subtleties in our patients and the IOM report on Gulf War Syndrome is to fail in not having works to go with our belief.

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