Gargoyles are those grotesque-looking granite beasties commonly found atop the buttresses and parapets of gothic and neo-gothic churches and other buildings. As fiendish as they look, they actually serve a very useful architectural purpose. They help to direct rainwater away from the roof and sides of the building in order to prevent rain damage and erosion.
We have had our share of rain and melting snow damage here at the parish. Maybe we should consult some professional gargoyle experts to see if they might recommend having some installed here at Nativity.
Gargoyles serve a more metaphysical function too. They have instructed the faithful over the years about the ugly and even ridiculous nature of evil. One of the great tricks of the devil is to make evil seem attractive and desirable. Those deformed gargoyles expose the dark spirits for what they truly are – nothing more than repugnant and stupefied imps.
As St. Thomas More once said, "The devil, the proud spirit, cannot endure to be mocked." What greater humiliation could the demons suffer than to be consigned to the menial task of being caricature rain spouts.
This is the victory of Easter. Evil, the great torturing force, in the end becomes the tortured one. Through the Risen Christ the once-feared menace of mankind is put in its place. Evil may still exist in the world, but outside, not within the sanctuary and refuge of the Church. Evil still may be permitted, but only to show how ugly and weak it is in the face of our mighty and glorious God.
Throughout the season of Easter I pray we all will more clearly see how beautiful and life-giving it is within the Church – and how futile, foolish, and demeaning to our dignity is anything that keeps us away from Our Risen Lord and the Mass. I pray we can turn away from all of the sinful habits and lifestyles that are deforming us and making us ugly and find a new risen way in Christ.
New Easter life to us all!