Friday, August 07, 2009
My Cup Turneth Over
I'm not sure I'll ever catch up to the many questions I have awaiting an answer. Please do me a favor. If I've skipped your question and you are dying for an answer, please ask again and I'll do my best to meet your needs. Otherwise I'll be going back through the comments section to dig out the unanswered.
Today I have an old question and a newer question paired together because...well, you'll see:
Speaking of patron saints, we are trying to sell our house and, while I don't want to bury a statue, I thought I would look on line for a prayer to St Joseph for selling a house. The ones I found all refer to St Joseph being a carpenter and teaching his son the trade and that's why the real estate thing. I seem to recall reading that later translations make Joseph a stone cutter, not a carpenter but I guess that could still work. Anyway, one of the "prayers" tells St Joseph he will be "left in the dark and suffer as Jesus suffered" until the house is sold!! This is a prayer??? OMG! Any other ideas? :-)
I don't think you mean to say "OMG". I'm sure what you mean by this abbreviation is "over my grave" (as in "over my dead body"). We have a problem with some widely accepted abbreviations, although we do chalk them up to widely accepted cluelessness and not some type of 'war' on Christmas, Christians or values that we may not share.
But about St. Joseph...you are correct that modern historians think that St. Joseph's trade was actually that of a stonecutter and not a carpenter working with wood and building kitchen tables for people. In my St. Joseph holy cards that I collected as a child (holy cards are the baseball cards of Catholic children, anyway they used to be), St. Joseph was alway showing Jesus how to build a kitchen table.
And chairs. Or sometimes Mary was serving lunch to Jesus at the kitchen table that Joseph made (because why would they go to Ikea when they had St. Joseph right there?) while St. Joseph worked in the background.
I always imagined that the people in Jesus' neighborhood all sat at tables made by St. Joseph and played Chinese checkers in the evening. Chinese checkers was my favorite game. Sitting here today I can't even remember how you play Chinese checkers. I wonder if it still exists. Surely, it's called something else by now.
What were we talking about? Oh yes, St. Joseph and real estate sales. I've talked about this at length before. I know that there is some type of prayer that comes with the kit, although I've never actually opened one of the kits to read the prayer.
But why do we have to have a prayer written for us? Let's just have a chat with St. Joseph mano on mano.
Dear St. Joseph, Could you please ask Jesus to help us sell our house? You of all people should know how difficult when you have to move from one house to another. We need to sell our house to be able to afford the new house. You had to pick up and move without doing that in a time when you couldn't even go to an ATM. OMG! ("oh, my golly!) Will you please talk to Jesus about sending us the grace to get through these coming days and months of anxiety and upheaval. We know that moving is high on the list of things that cause anxiety, right up there with death and public speaking. Thank you very much!
That said, I'm not above burying a statue of St. Joseph for the reasons I've stated. Which brings me to my next question:
I overheard somebody say that when you lose something you should turn a cup upside down and pray to St Anthony. Ofcourse I have heard of praying to St Anthony for lost things, but I never heard of turning a cup upside down. I asked her what the significance of the cup was, but she did not know. Do you have any idea what it means? Have you ever heard of this custom? I am just curious. I know you are busy, but if you happen to know please let me know. I can't figure it out.
I searched the internet, saint books and polled very old people. I know lots and lots of very old people. No one has heard of the cup thing. That's not to say that there is no such thing as the cup thing. It could be a custom from some particular place.
We may forget why we do the things we do when we perform any type of ritual. Why put a bay leaf under the pillow? Or do anything with your socks? We can only guess.
I haven't a clue the significance of a cup where St. Anthony is concerned except to say that these rituals that go beyond saying a prayer to burying things and turning things upside down and sticking something under something are all about making you mindful in your intentions and prayers. While some people really get their bloomers in a bunch about these practices because they appear to have devolved into superstition, I don't have a problem with most of it unless the person performing the ritual believes that all he has to do is bury a statue, sleep on a bay leaf, wear a little piece of felt all time, etc. That is the definition of superstition.
I have one thought on the cup. What if, back in the day when you didn't go to Target for a new set of dishes every ten minutes, you just had your one cup from which you drink or even eat? (Back in the day, the average woman only had three dresses to wear; one for everyday, one to put on clean, and the Sunday dress. That's why underwear was invented.) When you turn that cup over, you are going to have to pray and search until that item is found, or go thirsty. That would make you very mindful, don't you think?
Happily, St. Anthony works fast, I have found.