Despite being raised Catholic, I’m not a particularly religious person. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not spiritual or lacking faith. Without conscious intent, I’ve taken things I find particularly comforting from many different faiths and rolled them into something that works for me. Most of it is Wicca, with a dash of Buddhism, and a Ganesha hangs on my wall for good measure. Quite the melting pot, don’t you think?
That said, for some inexplicable reason, I find an odd sense of assuagement in the Cristo Redentor statue that looks over Rio de Janeiro. It has nothing to do with it being a statue of Christ or the implication that he is thought to be the redeemer. In fact, growing up Catholic, Christ and his supposed wrath was something to be feared. We always heard, “Don’t piss off God/Christ or you’ll be in a whole world of shit.” I always found that interesting because, in the next breath, it was “God is all loving and forgiving.” Which is it? Sounds a little schizophrenic to me.
So what is it about that statue that comforts me? Is it the arms, open wide, seemingly offering acceptance or the immense countenance that provides protection. Since I’ve never been one to get subtlety, perhaps it takes the giant, luminous presence of something like the Cristo Redentor to remind me to have faith. Probably not the actual faith it represents, but faith in the people and things surrounding me – faith that things will get better, and, although I might not be able to see it, there is a path.
Maybe the most important thing Cristo Redentor does is remind me to have faith in myself. Eu sou o redentor. I am the redeemer. It is only with belief in and forgiveness of self that I will get through…