I read about mandalas and gohonzons in another thread here on Dharma Wheel. What I’m about to say is somewhat off topic for the other thread http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=59&t=17037
so I’m going to say it here
I live in a practicing Catholic family, but I think that we no longer venerate the holy objects. Many of us wear Saint Christopher Medals. My mother’s mother’s mother prayed to the Infant of Prague. I never got the story straight about the reason. My mother´s mother prays to Saint Anthony when she has lost something. My dad has an aunt who operates a wiji board. She’s a hoot at parties.
My parents adopted me into an Irish-Italian family of practicing Catholics. We practice the sacraments. We attend rosaries, novenas, and we never miss a holy day of obligation. We attend the church carnival, and we contribute to the church building fund. Some of us attend or attended Catholic school, and some of us volunteer for Catholic charities.
For me, working as a volunteer is not so altruistic. I need it for my college entrance application.
I love going to church with my mother because I have her complete attention both going to and returning from church. Since she first acquired me, (something like finding puppy in a pet store), I have always wanted to go wherever she went. I have always told her everything, and I mean everything. She became like my priest. I tell her all my sins.
Recently, I almost had sex with my boyfriend. If I had not known that I would need to confess to Mom, I would have stripped butt naked; and we would have done it. Even so, I was so upset, that instead of waiting until Sunday morning, I woke her up, and I confessed at one on the morning.
For the same reason, I love going to rosaries. When I first came to the United States I felt like her rosary had some kind of magic, but now I know that it is a string of beads which helps people count. For example, when my mother’s father was in Southeast Asia, he often drove in remote areas which had no real roads, but even so people moved along the paths in horse carts as well as motor vehicles. Sometimes he let natives ride in his truck. When nuns rode in his truck, they measured the distance by reciting the Rosary and counting beads.
So, I think that a crucifix which decorates our wall or the mezuzah at my boyfriend’s house (his family is Jewish) have only the power we give it, except that some icons are world class masterpieces.