Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Religious Question....sort of

Disclaimer:  This post is NOT intended to be offensive, and I hope that it doesn't offend.  If you are offended, I am truly sorry.  This has been on my mind for days, and if you keep reading to the end, you will see where I am not participating in the subject at hand.  I am just trying to get a larger sample pool of opinions.

I am not Catholic...I am not even Christian.  So this post is a little out there for me.  But I am actually curious to what people will say.

The house has been on the market for 6 months now.  With only 1 showing between September and New Year's Eve....it was a slow start.  But since the 1st of the year, we have had at least one showing a weekend (minus this past weekend!).  The feedback we get has been positive, and the reasons for a buyer not making an offer are all things that are out of our control (house too small for our needs, not quite what we were looking for).  The only other comment has been people wanted "a more upgraded" house.  While that is something we COULD do....we are not GOING to do that.  You may certainly renovate the kitchen once you own it...but I am not doing that.

Enter St. Joseph. 

Again....I am not Catholic....so my first response to the person who brought it up was "Who?"

I have since found out that St. Joseph is the Patron Saint of the Home.  Superstition (is that the right word?  Myth?  Legend?)  says that if you bury a statue of him upside down in your yard (and research has shown that there are multiple theories to exactly WHERE in your yard he should go), he is uncomfortable and will work really hard to get out of the ground.  He only gets dug up once your house is sold....ergo, he helps sell your house.  Once he is dug up, you are supposed to take him to your new home and give him a place of honor as a thank you for his help.

(If I am wrong on something...or there is more to it...please tell me.....)

I have several friends....either practicing Catholics or who were raised Catholic and are now worshiping elsewhere....who keep telling me that I need to do this to speed up the sale of the house. (OK, one friend who is Catholic says no, don't do it....but she is the only one).

I have several issues with this whole thing, to which everyone thinks I am crazy.

  • I am not Catholic!!  I think it is sort of rude and insulting to those who are Catholic to try and "use" their religion for personal gain (which is a biggie in my spirituality).
  • There is a prayer you are supposed to say when you bury the statue.  For those who are Christian, it sounds like a fairly standard type prayer...but for me, it is worshiping something that I personally don't follow.
  • Keeping the statue.....again, I get the whole "thank you for your help" thing...but it isn't my belief system.  But even if I DID try this....I wouldn't feel right displaying the statue, but I also wouldn't feel right getting rid of it.
  • Getting the statue.  I wouldn't even know where to get a statue.....so someone told me to look on the internet (well of course!  duh!).  I went to Amazon...and sure enough....I can get a statue for $5.34, with free shipping on orders over $35.  OK wait a minute....buying a religious relic on Amazon is really not reverent in my opinion.
Needless to say, I am not doing this.  The whole thing just seems wrong to me (ME doing, not the concept).  I am sure lots of people have done it, and I totally believe that it worked for them.  But it just seems like I would be offending those who value this belief system.  I did say to one friend that if I changed my mind and it did work, I would make a donation to Catholic Children's Charities though, as a thank you.  But it really feels wrong to even entertain the whole idea of doing this.

I have been repeatedly told that I am overthinking this.  (Me, overthink something.....where would they ever get that idea....).  I have also been told that maybe this is a spiritual changing of the tides (although I really don't see converting to Catholicism in my future).  I have also been told that the worse that will happen is that it won't work, and the only thing I would lose is my $5.34  plus shipping (unless I bought another $29.66 of goods, which isn't hard on Amazon).

Wait...friend....while I don't think that the 10 Plagues will befall me as retribution for falsely praying to a Saint.....I don't think that nothing will happen.  Karma people.....karma.....

So, I am curious to your thoughts.  Are you Catholic and have tried this, and did it work?  Have you tried this and it didn't work?  Would you try it, even if it didn't align with your belief system?  Just curious!!!

38 comments:

  1. not Catholic, never heard of this, save your money!!!

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    1. Not about the money...more curious on the thought behind it all.

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  2. I'm with Gill... save your $. lol! No different than not walking by a black cat or something... craziness.

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  3. Well, I'm Christian. I am not Catholic. I believe praying to a saint is akin to idolatry (not maligning anyone, just explaining my beliefs), so I would never consider this. I wouldn't do it for the very reasons you mentioned - I don't believe in it. It's fascinating to me that you're being encouraged to do it regardless of whether it's within your belief system. Thanks for an interesting post to start my morning!

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    1. I second the idolatry part.

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    2. Not knowing enough about Catholicism. ....no idea if it really is idolatry. I did find it odd that I can buy it on Amazon though. Maybe through a Christian supply company. ...but Amazon?

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    3. It's not idolatry to Catholics. It is to some other Christians. Since you're neither, what does it matter to you what others believe about it?

      If you don't consider the religion to which this is connected to be valid, then what would your concern be about "offending" others? (I mean, who would be offended if, presumably, no one would find out?) And if you think the religion is not valid, why do you think this may work?

      Your post is confusing, because you mention the possibility of changing your mind, the possibility that it may work (and then you would make a donation to the associated religion, to show some sort of gratitude or respect or something?), but then you also say you're definitely not going to do this, and then you also said you're sure that when others have done this, it did "work." (Did you mean you think it was more than just coincidence that their house sold - that the buried-upside-down statue actually did have supernatural influence? And if so, what is it about that religion that you don't believe in?)

      I'm just curious because some of the ideas expressed seem contradictory. It just seems like a strange confluence that you would entertain the notion that the ritual might exert supernatural power, but then that you should feel bad for not having the proper faith that you believe is required before being sanctioned to engage in that ritual.

      Also, what's strange about the statue being offered through Amazon? Do you believe that a Christian supply company would be appropriate, while Amazon should be non-sectarian?

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    4. I didn't say that Catholicism isn't valid....I just said that that is not my personal belief system.

      As for the "offended" part...I was not referring to the act of of burying the statue. I was referring to the general discussion that I posted, and the chance that someone could get offended if their idiology was called into question.

      I think a belief system is just that...a belief. If you believe something will work, then to you....if/when something happens, you will associate it. If you believe that burying a statue will help sell a house, and then the house sells...then it is associated with the statue.

      I stated that I don't follow this faith, and if this wasn't clearn...and that for me, burying this statue would be more or less pointless. I don't believe in this faith, so why would this act be helpful? Furthermore, it seems disrespectful to those who do follow it.

      For faithful followers...I am sure it does work. Just like I fully believe that Karma is real, and that a series of negative or positive actions will come back to you. So for those who believe, I am sure it did help.

      I do not...not even a little...feel bad that I don't have the "proper faith" for this act to work. I have no idea if you have to be Catholic for it to work, if that is indeed how it works. I have no idea how it works, if it works. If for some reason I did change my mind....such as someone said something that really "spoke" to me....and I did it...and it happened to work (say, the house sold 2 weeks later)....I would still have no idea if my action helped or if this was just the way the hand was going to unfold. But as a respect gesture...just in case it was a higher power at work....I would make a donation to a charity. Karma....

      As for Amazon, I was just surprised that they sold religious items. I have no idea if they sell items from all religions, or if they are just willing to sell whatever anyone brings forth. I have no problem with them selling it...just that I was surprised.

      This wasn't that confusing....I am not sure why you took it that way.

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  4. I am a Christian (evangelical) and in all honesty, just ask God to allow your house to sell. He wants your family together more than you know. You do not need to bury statues. I will add your home sale to my prayer list. It will sell in time, don't panic yet :).

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    1. No panic. Just curious what everyone thought...;)

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  5. Raised Catholic (and was quite devout really), now atheist. I wouldn't bother. I had a statue of the Child of Prague in my room for years and found out I was supposed to keep a penny under it and it would bring me riches. Yep, that never happened. St. Anthony medals, scapulars, little bits of Padre Pio's robe - 'tis all nonsense really. Harmless enough for the most part, I suppose but I think if you need to think about it at all, and especially since it's not even related to a religion you follow then you're better off leaving it. What happens if the house doesn't sell - do you get to feel guilty? Catholics are reallly, really good at guilt, don't forget. I think you'd be better off investing your money in a can of fresh-home-baked-bread-smell air freshener. No idea if such a thing exists but I bet it's on the internet somewhere. :)

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    1. I was raised Jewish (no longer follow that path)...I understand guilt!

      I will check Amazon for air freshener....they seem to have everything. Lol

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  6. As a First Nations person, it bothers me when I see Dream Catchers hung on the rearview mirror of vehicles. They are meant to be hung in the bedroom windows of children to help them with bad dreams. IMHO, it is a bastardization of another culture's symbolism.
    I would agree with you that you should not do it, not because it may offend someone, but because it isn't part of your belief system - out of respect for the belief system of others.

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    1. Exactly. This isn't my belief system....so to me it seems disrespectful to try it.

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    2. This is a pretty great comment. The dream catcher analogy is great for this scenario! (I'm not Catholic but that's a great analogy)

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  7. I was raised Catholic, non practicing now, and I know tons of people who've done this and it's worked for them. You just need the right person to come and see the house... It'll sell... Sometimes trying something a little off beat will work... Good luck!

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    1. But did it work for them because they believed it would?

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  8. I'd say if it's not part of your core belief system then no reason to do it. From what (little) I know about the real estate market, I'd just say your house isn't priced right and that is the real reason it's not selling.

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    1. No one has said a word about the price. But we have to get a certain amount to clear the mortgage plus all the realtor fees. If the price was an issue, I would think that someone would either say so, or they would make an offer at a price that they felt was more appropriate.

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  9. I agree with everyone, it's not going to work if you are unsure about it. I'm an atheist , former Buddhist, but I think what might help is to use some basic feng shui techniques. Very simple, just like staging a house.
    Be sure there aren't a lot of 'personal' things out. Remove at least 50% of what you have out. Be absolutely sure the front entry is clean open and inviting.
    Just a few basic things to use.
    I see feng shui just as a tool, not religious at all. Look at it as clearing any clutter, and maximize your layout!!

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    1. Hopefully the spring will bring a more inviting entrance!! But we have cleared all the clutter, removed furniture, etc. Thanks!

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  10. As you know I am Morman we are Christians, but my background is Catholic/Jewish so I guess very tolerant of what ever one seems to think will make them feel better. I think these friends are well meaning.

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    1. I think they are well meaning too. ;)

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  11. I am a practicing Catholic, and yes I did do this when I couldn't sell a home years ago. If you wanted to do this go to a religious book store and they have them. Follow the directions on the box and I kept mine till someone else needed it. Did it work, yes it did. I sold my home soon after following the prayer that was with the St. Joseph statute. All you are asking for is help, whether a Catholic, Christian, or not. Just my thoughts and maybe the house gets sold soon. Cheryl

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    1. But if I am just asking for help...why go through the formal act? Just curious.

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  12. My family is Catholic, I don't practice anymore. Lots of people do this. Lots of people think it's silly. Lots of them do it anyways. I think it works the way anything works, they believe it helps and so it does. Not offended or surprised he's on Amazon. Everything is on Amazon. For Catholics, this isn't idolatry because they are not worshiping something other than God. Catholics believe that Saints act like messengers and can intervene as well on a lesser level. So instead of bothering the big guy directly about things like selling a house or finding a lost item, they pray to a saint to help them out. Having a statue or an image of a saint is just an aid in prayer.

    Lots of cultures have rituals. Even capitalism has its own rituals. There are secular and non-secular "tricks" to selling a house. I think it has more to do with positive thinking than anything else.

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  13. I grew up Catholic, but now consider myself more of a non-denominational Christian (I still pray, follow certain customers, believe with my whole heart, but didn't like the guilt-trip of the Catholic church), and I've never heard of this. That being said, since you don't believe in this type of thing, I can't really say that it would work for you, since the whole purpose of the statue is that you must believe in it. I absolutely believe that we get the saints on our side by doing certain things, making certain concessions, and that prayer answers requests (even though it may not always be in the way we would like the answer to be), however, if you don't believe in things like that, then what's the point right? I don't think anyone would be offended by you doing it, but I also don't see any harm in trying if you really want to sell your house. If it bothers you, you should ask a Catholic friend who really does believe if she would do it on your behalf (ie place the statue in your yard), and then I still think it would be noble to make a donation to the catholic church if your house does sell. I know then when I prayed for my husband to get his job, I promised the church I would donate 10% of his first paycheck to the church. He got hired, and I did.

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    1. Belief and faith....not something I am good at!

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  14. I would pray and ask God for help in selling your house and reuniting your family. I'm not Catholic but my husband is and I think that Catholics are the best about making money. They've figured out a way to sell these and make money at it. That said, they use the money to spread Catholicism and promote life so I don't have an issue with it.

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    1. I don't have a problem with the sale of the statue....I was just surprised that Amazon sold them.

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  15. No one should be surprised that Amazon sells them. One Amazon sells everything. Two, from a purely commercial perspective, Amazon has the wherewithal to move goods easily for small companies - so on that level, it also makes sense.

    It's not crazy. It's not idolatry. And it's not superstitious. It's a tradition followed by many but not all Catholics. (Every religion or religious people have traditions that others may find odd.)

    I have known people who have done this. While I am not sure if I would personally do this (currently live in an apartment so no dirt near me...), there is nothing wrong with doing it. Except if you don't believe in it which as you have mentioned, you don't. Ultimately, it's not the act of placing a statue in the ground that makes it work. It's the belief, and the timing and the purchase price, etc. etc.

    Mysti it's clear from your blog that you are a very strong and capable woman/wife/mother. But (as others have mentioned) you need to have the faith and belief that your house will sell and that your family will be reunited. (That is really all that the focus on the statue is doing...) This is no different than "the secret." It is essentially putting positive energy out into the universe to try to garner a positive result. There is no harm in doing this and no statue needed.

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  16. I was raised Catholic. My parents were very involved with church, my mom worked at the church as the accountant, weekly services, Sunday school, and I went to Catholic School through high school. If your pet was sick of lost people would pray to St Francis of Assisi, can't find your find an item pray to St. Anthony, if you car was having troubles you pray to St Francis...etc.

    I am not a practicing a Catholic anymore but I still find myself saying a small prayer to St. Anthony when I can't find my car keys and I am in a rush. If the prayer is actually why I soon found my keys in the couch, who knows, ;-)

    In my experience I don't think anyone would take offense if you tried. If it worked and shared the story any Catholics would nod and give a knowing smile. If it didn't, know harm in trying. I find it no different than blowing on dice and crossing your fingers for luck. When I am in a hard spot, I send a silent message to any god or goddess who will listen... lol.

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  17. Noooooo! I'm catholic that's all bs!! Lol

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  18. We used one once, our house sold but I suspect it was the price drop vs the prayer. Our neighbors dug him back up and accidentally beheaded Joseph. They sent him, head and body, to us in a ziplock...our next move we couldn't bury a beheaded statue and our house didn't sell forever....and we eventually lost money. Catholic karma... If we move again I'm using a new version!

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  19. True story....a family member bought his deceased wife's urn on amazon...they have it all. I was never baptized in to a specific religion and truth be told I am happy with that as I feel I can practice how I want. Being Latina I grew up with praying to Spirits, Saints, & God. We did Novena's and rituals. I still do them. I light candles, I burn sage, and I pray to God. Based on certain things you have posted (and I do apologize if I am completely wrong...no disrespect meant) I have an idea what you practice/believe and there is a Sage smudging ceremony that I have heard a few friends use and one just recently sold her place in a matter of days after doing it. Hopefully with some nice weather coming more ppl will be out and your buyer will come along.

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  20. I'm Catholic and have never heard of this tradition, it's not common in Australia (to my knowledge.) But of course we have plenty of other traditions with Saints - Catholics see it as an intercession, not idolatry. I thought your post was lovely because it was so sensitive to the fact that it might cause offence but also so realistic about what the commenter above called, "bastardisation" of many cultures and religions. I highly doubt the burying of the statue etc. is actually condoned by the Catholic Church and to my knowledge, it's not part of our canon of beliefs! It's more a folk practice than doctrine. It does seem crazy but many would argue that it is the faith behind it that matters.

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  21. What a really fascinating post! I'm not Catholic buy my dad's family is. My Grandma gave me a book of prayers to the Saints once when I was little and she told me she'd pay me a certain amount of money for each prayer I memorized. As a kid, raised Christian (which I am to this day), I knew you were not supposed to pray to people, only to God so I asked my mom if I was allowed to memorize the prayers, just to get the money from my Grandma. She told me to do what I thought was right.

    I really wanted the money but I did not memorize the prayers because to me that would have been wrong.

    Again, what a neat post!

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