A fellow seminarian asked on our forum, “How do you (your [Catholic/Orthodox] church ) usually counter the doubts about possible idolotry involved into veneration of Saints?” I responded:
This is what works for me, and I support others living according to their faith. I’m a lay Oblate of St. Benedict, consider St. John of the Cross a mentor, not unlike St. Francis ripped my clothes off (figuratively in my case) and said “screw materialism!” I aspired to the Episcopal priesthood, and interned in that religion. I’ve gone to Jewish Temple and Torah portion. (Jews say Christians worship idols.)
I came to this, after years of devotion to prayer:
For me, the Christian religion is one big idolatrous fest. As a woman of prayer who interacts directly with God, it is ridiculous for me to bow, stare at, venerate, play dress up, wear symbols to or of anything but God.
Does one do any of this to interact with their spouse? Do they need to go through a mediator, a relic, even a pilgrimage? Then how much more would I not do so toward my Divine Spouse.
Understand, coming to this was a veritable nightmare, because I loved the Church, religion, traditions, potlucks, choir, teaching, being a lay Eucharist minister and mission coop, to name a few.
The idea that the priest or any ordained wears the best clothes and sits on the best chair or even a throne, at the front of everyone. Well, I give you Jesus at the last supper, wearing a cloth around His waist, washing disciples feet. Or saying, “take the lowest seat.” If a priest is supposedly more of Christ than others, (don’t get me started! Hebrews 7:17) she should be the lowest.
Some say they left they world to serve Christ in the Church; in my case, I left religion and its luscious idols and traditions to be an itinerant like Jesus. “Where you heart is, there is your treasure; you cannot serve God and mammon.”
I have often wished I’d never prayed so much, that I could have stayed with my friends and idols. However, Jesus taught me that He invites people to His kingdom, not a pew, a relic, or a costume show. I miss robes and rituals; I don’t miss the idolatrous distractions when I pray and sing.
Others have their call and I respect them. Amen.