Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Church of Apple canonizes its first saint

The Holy Church of Apple has given the Vatican a run for its money (or more accurately a run for its franchise on heaven) by ensuring by iPad acclamation that its founder Steve Jobs gets canonized as a saint. St Steve Jobs has been given a job as the patron saint of gadgets and this is just few days after his death.

The Vatican says that there is a heaven but Catholics have to accept that on faith while non-believers seriously doubt that given the recent peccadilloes many of which are scandalous, by priests and bishops. In a sense St Steve Jobs has had it better leading a rather mysterious life and having a lot of cash. Many of the Roman Catholic saints led mysterious lives in the cloister or seeing mysterious things as visions or by dying for the Faith, but the main requirement is and was, to give away the moolah to the poor. Sounds familiar? It's in the Gospel! All these are quite remote for the typical layperson. Similarly St Jobs led a rather mysterious life far detached from the Mac Faithful, who have lighted candle apps on their iPads and iPhones.

Saints (or more likely their fans) have to manufacture legends in their own time if they want to make it in the big league. Last October 4, Catholics and other Christians celebrated St Francis of Assisi’s day. St Francis was known to have preached to the birds, tamed the wolf, and of course levitated and had the stigmata. In contrast, St Steve was known to answer customer emails personally. This added to his mystique. The image of accessibility and vulnerability as well as seeing visions like seeing the prophecy of the Mouse and drop down Menus in a computer fair ensured Job’s canonization. Who knows?  Jobs may have even levitated! St Francis wore the brown habit throughout his life. St Steve wore his Levis 501s throughout his life.

And One More Thing, St Francis inspired a lot of fans, St Steve inspired even more fans. St Francis was a product of countercultural 1260s, St Steve was of countercultural 1960s. Mother Teresa of Calcutta was also 60s countercultural and has a lot of fans, first of all was journalist Malcolm Muggeridge who made Mother Teresa known to a wider audience. He was so moved by Teresa's work while filming a documentary that he was instantly converted to Roman Catholicism.  Thus you can be countercultural even in the heights of high society like the aristocracy. And so Our Lady, the Queen of Hearts, Diana Spencer was also canonized as saint and still has fans after her death in 1997.

But really what makes saint? How does one get converted? Saints got converted either by reading the Bible, seeing a vision or by some personal crisis. But many fans of St Steve Jobs were converted by using a Mac! But as I doubt if this were the same as filming Mother Teresa and seeing heaven. All that I have seen on an iPad are apps and many of these have to be bought using credit! That ain't heaven to me!

Nonetheless Steve Jobs is indeed a saint for things that entertain but die in two years. As like any saint, there will be devil's advocates all over with their kiss and tell stories. You can read one here. Even Mother Teresa wasn't immune. Remember that book about her "dark night" of the soul where she even doubted that God existed? We can read all sorts of negative things on St Diana, the Queen of Hearts. And what about that innuendo about St Mary Magdalene having sex with Christ and lusting over him? See, saints will be subject to such treatment. St Augustine jumped the gun by telling all about his sexual escapades and his famous "Lord make me chaste, but not yet" prayer!

And so it may be best and more fun to remain a sinner!

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