I examine the edifice, created by my own hand. It is listing slightly left and missing gilded trim about some of the edges. It is worn and tired, the paint chipped and rubbed thin by my venerating hands. I have worshiped there, seeking salvation through the mercy of another, seeking connection to my God, vicariously riding on the excess virtue of a plaster saint. Her smile appears sardonic now, mocking and chiding my naive belief and fervor. She appears transformed from flesh to clay before my eyes. Her light fades in the pale noon pallor. Incense wafts sickly heavenward, masking cracks and crevices of indiscretion. Once there was belief. Once there was faith. Once there was an ideal worth kneeling and pleading. Once there was love. Unconditional. Masochistic. Self depreciating. Humbling. But not now. Not anymore. It seems to have dissipated, like the green smoke before me on the alter, scattered to the winds as empty prayers to unfeeling Gods. I mourn the loss deeply and turn toward the bustling world...in hope of salvation.
So from Maria emerges Sophia.