My hobby is comparative religion. Although I really don’t have any religious beliefs, I like to study them. I am a lay Buddhist and a pagan. I particularly like the Celtic and Druid aspects of paganism. I used to have a friend who had about 23 different religions written down with some information about each of them.
Every day he would roll a pair of dice to see which religion he was that day. One day he was a born-again Christian, the next he was a shaman, and the next he was a Catholic and on and on down the list. He would dress up as each, wear the jewelry, and practice that religion for a day.
A few years ago there was an exhibit at Washington University here in St. Louis with the relics from the historic Buddha. There were “Rangels” from him and a number of other enlightened men of that period in history.
Rangels are little pearl-like substances that are left over when an enlightened man is cremated. They appear in the ashes in many different colors. This was the opportunity of a lifetime because after the tour they were to be sealed in the heart chakra of a 500-foot Buddha statue in India and never be looked at again. So I was one of the privileged few who got to view them.
The first thing that I noticed when I entered the room was a profound sense of peacefulness. I could feel that the objects were sacred. I could also feel the sense of history, knowing that they were very old.
Now the sacred relics and rare art of the Catholic church are coming to St. Louis. According to the St. Louis Front Page News, “St. Louis is one of only three U.S. cities to host one of the largest collections of rare art, documents and historically significant objects from the Vatican to tour North America. In a unique partnership between the St. Louis Archdiocese and the Missouri History Museum, the exhibition, “Vatican Splendors: A Journey through Faith and Art”, is bringing approximately 170 objects to the midwest including: mosaics; frescoes; paintings by Renaissance masters; works by well-known sculptors; intricately embroidered silk vestments; precious objects from the Papal Mass; uniforms of the Papal Swiss Guard, historical maps and documents and relics.”
I’m not a big fan of Christianity. As a matter of fact Christianity has been responsible for a great deal of the world’s suffering over the years. But I plan on going to see the art. Some of it is very beautiful and deserves to be honored.