Friday, November 21, 2008

Jesus is dead

The last two weeks were very busy. My friend Jessica visited from the States for a few days, and we went to many of the must-see spots. I enjoyed seeing two places I had never been to before, but a few of the places we went brought home to me just how necessary missions work is here. I had been to the cathedral before and had shuddered at the very dead Jesus in the entry way. This time around, after visiting an extremely dark ex-convent, I really noticed the cathedral's mutilated Jesus. What hopelessness is represented here. The Jesus of these cathedrals, convents, and chapels is dead, horribly dead. Why pray to him? Mary and the saints, on the other hand, are alive and well. No wonder people chose to light candles to them - to pray to them.

The cathedral in Huejotzingo is one of the oldest monuments in Mexico. On the outside it looks like a castle. The stone and wood on the doors and archways is beautifully carved. Entering the cathedral is another story entirely. It was almost completely dark, and even beyond the physical dimness was a suffocating spiritual darkness. The requisite dead Jesus hung suffering on a cross surrounded by bouquets of flowers left by the congregates. In a more prominent place, the archangel Michael brandished a sword and appeared far more capable of answering prayers than Jesus. As we walked in the semi-darkness, a man began to pull a long rope that dangled near the back of the room, over the stones marking the interred remains of dead priests. The sound of the bell peeled out, calling worshipers to enter for mass.

Another day, Jessica and I visited both the ex-convent Santa Ana and the ex-convent Santa Monica. Santa Ana is the place where mole was supposed to have been invented. The kitchen is covered in beautiful talavera tiles, making the place look lovely. Living there as a nun however was anything but lovely. The nuns slept on beds of wood and wore crowns of thorns to bed to prevent dreaming. They ate one meal a day of vegetables or fruit. They were never allowed outside, nor were they allowed to see anyone outside of the convent. Many of them did not enter the convent voluntarily, but were left there by family members.

In Santa Monica, we saw many religious articles and paintings. No explanation was offered for the articles and paintings, but the significance of several, such as this one, was obvious.

There are many missionaries working here to bring the true Gospel to this nation, teaching that Jesus not only died for our sins, but he also rose on the third day and intercedes on our behalf in heaven. I am part of the missionary team as I teach the children of Puebla Christian School. Thank you for your support and prayers that make this ministry possible.

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