This afternoon I was chatting with my friend F– about Black Jesus and the Black Madonna of Częstochowa (also known as Our Lady of Częstochowa). I described the sparkling and revered four-foot-high image of the Virgin Mary and Child I visited at the Jasna Góra Monastery in Poland.
I was asking F– if she might be interested in a wooden, bejeweled, mini version as souvenir. And, she was delighted by the promise of Black Jesus and less enthusiastic about the paler version I also had to offer: a new babe in a diaper who appears to be newly plucked from the manger, in a crib with straw.
I told F– briefly of how the monastery was packed with pilgrims who’d traveled distances to be in the presence of this scintillating icon, to pray, and to be enlightened. I explained how a wall in the sanctuary displays crutches, braces, and other relics of grave injury and seems to promise cures and strength. I detailed how I dutifully carried a bouquet of yellow flowers from a woman with Parkinson’s in Dobra, how a young man in a cobalt coat placed the fragrant bunch on the altar before Mary. I shared how some say Mary is named for where she was found and for her virtues. The virtue of being Black.
Spending Christmas mass at a Catholic church in Dobra, Poland, emphasized that I am a foreigner and a sightseer. I was mostly spectating the hour-long service in pure Polish and then I drove to Częstochowa to visit with the Virgin and Child. And, I felt, as I have so often in Oaxaca, that I am a wayfarer, a church tourist.
And, this reminded me of Dean Young’s “My Process” and the other ways we might be congregants.
by Dean Young
Sometimes it’s like pushing a wheelchair
of bones through the high-tide sand.
Like giving birth to an ostrich,
an ostrich with antlers that glows.
The sense there’s something wrong and
not giving a hoot like going to church
to see what you can steal. Experimental
Read the rest of the poem at: http://poems.com/poem.php?date=17198
Here is another poem on process: http://www.blueridgejournal.com/poems/aw-isaid.htm
- It may feel as if you are looking at a mirror within a mirror within—you get it, but writing about your writing process is helpful to understanding what you are doing (or not doing) and why. https://nhwn.wordpress.com/2011/09/23/friday-fun-what-is-your-writing-process/ What is your writing process?