[ by Charles Cameron — an archetypal theme, somewhat incongruous in Congress and the Washington Post ]
reminds me of:
But then again, I’ve written about “Saliva and the sacred” before now [1, 2], and quoted this description of Saint Columban from Sean Kelly and Rosemary Rogers‘ Saints Preserve Us!: Everything You Need to Know About Every Saint You’ll Ever Need:
He was known to everyone, and cut a distinctive figure — he shaved the front of his shoulder-length hair into a half-tonsure, squirrels nested in his cowl, and he wandered around brandishing his staff and downing oak trees with his fist While in France, Columban and his monks followed the Irish tradition, often criticized by many as being too severe: a monk who cut his finger badly while reaping had the wound cleaned by Our Saint’s saliva and was ordered back to work.
Whether he knew it or not, Congressman Brady was following in an ancient and hallowed tradition — very strange to the contemporary western mind, maybe, but with precedents from religious traditions around the world.