A peculiar Country and the holy water.

Image result for holy water stoups with flaming hearts

The hope of getting some good news in the New Year is diminishing as the days roll by. Just now, a newsflash that the skyscraper in Sydney named ‘Opal Tower’ needs significant structural repairs done. One can’t imagine the trouble this causes to those people who are renting or bought an apartment affected by the ‘cracking’. The usual noises are made about how Australia has stringent building regulations with strict compliance to proven engineering methods at ever level of construction.  Yet those that give the compliance certificates are private contractors themselves working to maximise profits. Which construction company will seek compliance approvals from those that are strict and known for refusing to give those certificates to building works that don’t comply?

Next on the list is that children in detention were threatened by troops all dressed in combatant gear pointing assault weapons at unarmed children. Yet those that are charged with running this detention centre are fully supportive of this blatent abuse of force and totally behind it. What sort of behaviour is that? And we point the finger at North Korea or some crackpot regime in Africa.

Have a look at this video; https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-14/don-dale-youth-detention-cctv-police-weapons-detainees-nt/10712664

We are having a bad heatwave but the good news on TV this morning was that everyone should try, and look after those that are vulnerable to heat exhaustion, especially the elderly. Neighbours ought to inquire about each other on how they are feeling. Many escape to air-con shopping malls or at least stay indoors. I get the shivers when I see all those thousands on a scourging hot sun baked beach. And then they lie in the sun!

Image result for Heatwave beach conditions

The vacuuming was done this morning in our household. I wondered why it wasn’t working as it should. I decided to investigate and discovered the foot or the suction end of our lithium powered vacuum cleaner ( Hoover-Freedom) was blocked by bits of paper and cherry stalks.  I must say that the stone fruit this year has been excellent. Those white peaches…mmm! Yesterday my brother and I spent half a day assembling a new barbeque. The old one just did not give enough heat for fast grilling a nice piece of meat or chargrill a rib of pork.

We plan to carry the old one to the street as a freebee. It has a regulator and a lid and very clean. People often put usable items on the ‘nature strip’, and this gives new meaning to re-cycling. The charity shops are now complaining that too much is being donated, and it is claimed that donating to charity is often used as getting rid of total rubbish. I suppose, consuming too much is the real reason.

This reminds me of when we were young, and a still devoutly catholic family living in Holland. From my youngest memory we had at the entrance to our bedroom a holy water stoup decorated by a sacred flaming heart screwed to the door-frame. We were supposed to dip a finger in it, cross ourselves and then go to bed with a clear conscience. I remember being a bit suspicious of it, and whether some benign Beneficiary spirit would forever guide us for a good life, provided we would dip our fingers. My earliest memories of bombed out buildings and screaming hunger did not make for nurturing a strong belief in a good and just deity that would reward the ‘true’ believers.

It was after we moved from Rotterdam to The Hague that some deviousness crept stealthely but assuredly in my being. Again, dad screwed on the holy water stoups with the flaming sacred hearts. I was really starting to question that this water was somehow different from tap water, and decided to test it. I drained the holy water and filled it up with just tap water. I was awake all night fearing punishment but nothing happened. I knew my mother had a special container of holy water which she kept under the sink. This was specially blessed holy water sanctified by the priest of our local church. I think it was a yearly event when this blessing took place inside the church to which our parents took us. I still then tried to look a bit religious but from what I had done to the holy water recently, it might now well be seen as acting very sanctimoniously.

I had started to lose my belief in a deity that would reward the unquestioning pious. I think today the science might well be behind this.

In the meantime the heat is merciless as well.

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20 Responses to “A peculiar Country and the holy water.”

  1. leggypeggy Says:

    Love the story of switching water. And no one ever guessed. hahaha

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I think there might still have been an attempt by my family to restore the holy water ritual after arrival in Australia, Peggy. But by then sins had been discovered that made dipping or not into holy water by my fingers, monstrously hypocritical and I never went back to that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    Hi Gez.

    Hope this finds you and H well and enduring the heat with equanimity. Up here in Cairns it’s hot too. Not as hot as down south, but the three or four decent downpours interspersed with blazing sunshine each day make the monsoon a pretty sweaty place. When I hired a car, I asked for an air conditioner with four wheels. An absolute necessity.

    I was brought up in an Anglican family – which is to say religion was an option not embraced by my trade unionist father and abjured by my mother who was raised as a Catholic, attended state schools and was fostered by the Adventists when Nan had to go into hospital for a thyroid complaint.

    Mum wasn’t exactly anti-religion. I think she had an each way bet.

    I, on the other hand was raised through my formative years watching the Vietnam warunfold on TV. The notion of there being a god went down the toilet with that unforgettable footage of the summary execution and the little naked girl running away from a napalm strike in sheer terror.

    I was then an avowed atheist, but I have mellowed a lot, feeling that there is no evidence for the non-existence of God either. As a student of Buddhism, I am entitled to believe in a God or not as I see fit. But Buddhism does not require belief in anything – not the least a god – benevolent or not. So, that’s an easy trip for me 🙂

    I’m glad to have never had any time with the Catholics (I feel that Protestants are mostly harmless, except the Salvation Army – who run a close second behind the papists in the criminality of kiddy bothering). I think I intuitively felt uncomfortable with priests with their habits and Boy Scout Masters with their funny uniforms and a penchant for hanging out with young boys. My Dad forbade me from joining the scouts – he had inside knowledge about the local Scout Master that he refused to share with me.

    And that was the alpha and omega of the deal.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, we are both well and with low blood pressures and a medley of tablets hope to carry on for some time yet. Thank you, Trouserzoff.
      In time we all mellow and melt and I generally allow far more leeway to others than was the case in the past.
      We had a barbeque with bowling friends. One is an avowed admirer of Trump and the Dutton policies of refugees, yet the steak was beautiful and the host most generous.
      As the years go, friendships are harder to come by, and our attachment to those that still hang around we are very appreciative of. We include of course our decades long friendship with you and The Pig’s Arms. https://pigsarms.com.au/
      We too went through alternative beliefs, including Guerdjeff, Taoism, tie dying, fondue parties and Don Maclean with. ‘American pie’.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. freefall852 Says:

    I’m almost a Rosicrucian, y’know…I was once almost a Buddhist, but I couldn’t come at all that tofu for meat replacement…now I’m almost a Rosicrucian….they don’t ask much of one…I believe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Remembering a visit to an alternative retreat somewhere north of Sydney many decades ago. I think it was a Buddhist retreat whereby at one stage we had to sit on cushions and go umm many times. I fell asleep quickly. Our son stayed there for a week-end but someone stole his wallet.
      All the umming apparently did nothing for someone to still do some thieving.
      We are all doomed, Jo.

      Liked by 1 person

      • freefall852 Says:

        My first experiment with marriage brought me in contact with the “New Age” and all its accoutrements of crack-pot medicine and quasi religious themes via my ex wife…She was a fundamentalist in the theory then..and while the orthodox doctor may indeed bury their mistakes, the alternative pickle theirs! Having had everything from suction cups to dubious creams and healing hands smeared all over my skin, over more than a decade of compliant naevety, I have to say that such applied medicine is by far the preferred option to the plethora of applied psychology of the “empowering guru”! Yes…ah yes!…I suffered from that one too….why are they always smiling?….I gaze at my empty wallet now and I am enlightened, for while even Jesus and Socrates struggled to realise the nexus between philosophy and pecuniary interest, with the modern “practicioner”it is a seamless weld!….

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        And that is besides all that what has been going on within the holy institutions of the churches. One nowadays rarely see men or women still dressed in the sacred ‘cloth and collar’. One would have to be a fool and risk being stoned.

        There used to be the Hara Krishna crowd hopping about, at the same times when Hair made its inroad.
        They did provide nice tasty food for the homeless and needy.
        This army of the homeless has grown alarmingly and soup kitchens sprouting up, hardly able to keep pace.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    HA!!!!! You switching the water sounds like something I would’ve done as a kid! You doing that made me laugh aloud! 😀

    When I was a kid one of my brothers and I were playing catch with a ball in the house…something we were NOT supposed to do. We accidentally knocked a special ceramic cross off of the wall and it broke into pieces. Much to my brother’s chagrin, I glued it back together and hung it back up on the wall. Decades later, when we kids were all adults, my brother told that story at a family gathering. My mom walked over and took her cross off the wall and examined it. From the front it didn’t look too bad (Hey, she hadn’t ever noticed it had been broken!), but the back of it looked like it had broken in several pieces and was glued back together. Ha! Before she passed away, she gave me that cross to keep. And we had a good laugh. 🙂

    There is much sadness in the world…especially related to how people are being treated…especially those who can’t help themselves, like children. 😦

    Be safe and keep cool in the heat wave. We are having rain, snow, and cold temps here. I could box up some snow and send it to you! ??? 😀
    HUGS!!! for you and Helvi!!! 🙂
    PATS!!! for Milo!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Your story of the crucifixion is hilarious, and not to be found out till decades later seems to prove that some secret things in families live on almost forever.

      My parents had a huge plaster crucifix within a wooden frame hanging above their bed. With some of the things that go on in marital beds I would be most hesitant to have the Lord’s eye peering down on our gymnastic antics. Mind you, with the advancing years those antics are now more about a restful snoring.

      In any case my parents were lucky that that heavy cross never fell down. It would have killed both of them.
      As for the stoup with holy water. My parents towards their final years lost most of their religious fervour and left going to church. I don’t know what happened to the plaster-cast crucifix. Perhaps it went to a charity shop somewhere in Holland.
      Hugs from Gerard too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Reminds me of the time at Vacation Bible School that I think my mother sent us off to so she could get some down time. At the very end was a church service the minister used to wrap up the week of ‘school.’ He told us to close our eyes so we could hear the Lord knocking to come into our heart. There were strict orders not to open our eyes. 20 little kids squeezed their eyes shut. Three didn’t. That would be the Mekemson kids. The minister glared at us and then tip toed to the back of the church where he pounded on the door. He then tiptoed back up front and told the kids they could open their eyes. There was a lot of oohing and aw-ing. Except, of course, for the Mekemson kids. The minister kept the three of us after the service and yelled at us for 30 minutes. I think he wanted to give the other kids a chance to leave before we could share the truth. Afterwards my brother got even. He had a bb gun and the church had a bell. He’d hide out in a nearby outhouse and shoot the bell during the minister’s sermons. I often wondered if the minister asked his congregation if he heard the Lord pinging. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, those Mekemson kids must have been the terrors of the town.

      Much to my shame, when it came to collecting money in church by this special man dressed all in black holding this huge black pole with the money-bag at the end, I not only just deposited old buttons, but at times took out some money, which were used to buy a well-earned ice-cream after church.

      Very cunning to not close your eyes, Curt. Heaven would not care what might have happened. Too many years and by too many people who should have known better, dreadful things were done to children all in the name of church and religion.


      • Curt Mekemson Says:

        Best to keep your eyes open where religion is concerned! Walking on water isn’t easy. Much of the homeschool movement in America is by religious folks wanting to control the flow of information to their children.
        I’m pretty sure some poor people were glad to get those buttons, Gerard. You were doing God’s work. 🙂
        We got sodas and comic books for going to church but the parents paid for them. I always bough Tarzan, being the pagan I was.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Big M Says:

    I’ve been in trouble a couple of times for throwing a patient’s holy water away. Leave some dirty water in a urine sample container under someone’s bed, then wonder why it’s tossed down the crapper, go figure!

    An older friend had gone to Lourdes for a couple of nights, hoping, in spite of being an atheist, that she might see something miraculous. Well, she did see the water tanker refill the spring just before dawn. She asked the driver what he was doing. “Refilling the Holy Water, it doesn’t fill itself!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I think candles had to be blessed as well. You had to pay for them and then sling the priest alms or two who would then bless them. Tragic events often result in flower giving and burning candles.Babies too had to be blessed. I suppose some of those rituals did give people a sense of belonging and hope. Life can’t be lived just on pure reality. Or can it?
      How are things going Big M?


  7. shoreacres Says:

    In truth, since the basic meaning of ‘holy’ is consecrated, or set aside, the actual nature of so-called holy water isn’t really important. You could use sea water, or distilled water, or tap water, or rain water — heck, you probably could use tonic water — and it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, It’s the setting aside that’s important.

    Rituals are important. Some prefer candles and holy water, some prefer yoga, some live by stringent schedules. Whenever I visit a cathedral, I light a candle, and there have been times I’ve gone to a beautiful Catholic church in Galveston to light a candle for a particular person. There’s something primal, and satisfying, about it, particularly when someone finds comfort in knowing it’s been done on their behalf.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, any water or liquid in any form would have done the same. We even have wine that gets imbued with being sacred and special after the blessing. It is the relationship with it having magical qualities that I think might be a bit over the top. People turn up at Lourdes and after decades of living a good life expect to get healed or receive special benefits that I believe is misplaced.
      I do like rituals too and feel they are important. We have candles everywhere in our house and we love lighting them. The Hindu rituals in Bali are amazing and done on a daily basis. But, as far as I understand no-one is threatened by hell fire if not complying to any rules.

      Liked by 1 person

      • shoreacres Says:

        Well… (ahem…coughcough)… No one in the Christian tradition ought to be so threatened, either. If they are, someone’s not being a very good representative of that tradition. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        But, but.. Breaching the ten commandments was a curse, I was taught, promising hell-fire and condemnation. I was told that certain acts practiced by pubescent boys would result in eternal fire in hell. How did that line-up with a compassionate tradition?


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