10 Pages

The Fifteenth Station

WithAustin J. Austin

I never understood how Jesus could be born, age thirty-some-odd years in three to five months, and then die in time to shrink and climb up into Mary’s womb for a little nap until the following Christmas. I was unclear on the concept of commemoration versus occurrence for at least a decade, encouraged in my fallacy by a family that spoke of religious events as current ones: tonight, Mary is looking for a place to have her baby. Today, Jesus is standing before Pontius Pilate. The time-lapse nature of the devotional year gave me vertigo. I really grossed out my father when I relayed to him my interpretation of Jesus’ great zygotic trek, as if up Mount Kilimanjaro, to the unsuspecting womb of Our Lady. That’s not how it happens, my father intoned, looking stricken. But how else could a two-thousand-year-old dead guy end up germinating in the same uterus, over and over again-and more importantly, how could Mary ever endure two millennia of this? I was unaware of kegels at the age of eight.