Monday, December 16, 2002
the 87th in the book 95 poems
joyful your complete fearless and pure love
with one least ignorance may comprehend
more than shall ever provingly disprove
eithering vastnesses of orish mind
--nothing believable inhabits here:
overs of known descend through depths of guess,
shadows are substances and wings are birds;
unders of dream adventure truths of skies--
darling of darlings!by that miracle
which is the coming of pure joyful your
fearless and complete love,all safely small
big wickedly worlds of world disappear
all and(like any these my)words of words
turn to a silence who's the voice of voice
Which title is preferred ....
Lux et Tenebrae
Tenebrae : A Broken Music ??
:: :: :: :: ::
Please don't hurl the Ed Ames tomahawk in my direction, but I'm thinking of reverting to the lightless dark, in spite of the German poet Novalis (1772-1801) who sang in joyful anticipation of the time ...
Wenn dann sich wieder Licht und Schatten
Zu echter Klarheit werden gatten
(When once more shade and once more light
In wedded radiance unite)
I think that Tenebrae : A Broken Music is quirky, even unwieldy, but it works ... Much like error503 -- La vita nuova. Not concise, but memorable enough, and expressive of the personality of the blogger, in its divers facets.
So. I put it to a vote. Vote early, vote late, vote often. Give reasons, or even suggest a tertium quid !!
I'm hearing the words of Lord Falkland : If it be not necessary to change, then it is necessary not to change. American version : If the bee-roken music ain't broke ...
French version : If the music is baroque ... the musician is out of Monet ...
trans. dylan tenebrosus
from La Vita Nuova, sonnet found in section XXVI
So gentle and so virtuous appears
My lady when she renders salutation
That every tongue trembles, each voice is mute,
And eyes that yearn to look at her do not dare.
She hears herself being praised, and yet she goes
Benignly vested in humility :
It is as if she might be something come
From heaven to earth to show forth miracles.
So cherishable is she, most admired,
Whose eyes instill such sweetness in the heart
That none who do not feel it can imagine
And it seems that from her lips there emanates
A soothing breath, a Spirit full of Love,
Always which speaks to the soul and bids it sigh.
:: :: :: :: ::
Tanto gentile e tanto onesta pare
la donna mia quand’ella altrui saluta,
ch’ogne lingua deven tremando muta,
e li occhi no l’ardiscon di guardare.
Ella si va, sentendosi laudare,
benignamente d’umiltà vestuta;
e par che sia una cosa venuta
da cielo in terra a miracol mostrare.
Mostrasi sì piacente a chi la mira,
che dà per li occhi una dolcezza al core,
che ‘ntender no la può chi no la prova;
e par che de la sua labbia si mova
un spirito soave pien d’amore,
che va dicendo a l’anima: Sospira.
... Paulus est paulus?
I knew a man whose brains were small,
He couldn't think of nothing at all.
He's not the same as you and me.
He doesn't dig poetry.
He's so un-hep
When you say Dylan,
He thinks you're talking about Dylan Thomas,
Whoever he was.
The man ain't got no culture ...
from "A Simple Desultory Philippic" by Simon & Garfunkel
(as in "mass consumption"? "mass media"?)
Vespers is now Evening Prayer. Double-plus ungood.
This little flurry of exasperation was posted at Oblique House ...
[self-interruption : Last night Ron Gollobin, a veteran news-reporter with Boston's ABC affiliate, and a reporter who should know better, made the word "obliquely" rhyme with "likely" ... O tempora!! O mores!!]
... posted as a comment at Oblike House after Mrs von H used the happy phrase Gaudete Sunday.
Oh, God bless you, Mrs von H., for using the phrase "Gaudete Sunday."
[Warning : This comment is the genesis of a prospective rant on the eviller-than-evil dumbing-down of liturgical language.]
Even Boston's current administrating bishop used the phrase "Rejoice Sunday." Which is good -- an acknowledgment of the special character of the 3rd Sunday. But not nearly as splendid as Gaudete.
In the Magnificat prayer booklet, we see Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer & Night Prayer (not lauds & vespers & compline), Canticles of Zechariah, Mary and Simeon (not Benedictus, Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis).
I'm tired of liturgists (and others in the broader culture) telling people they're too dumb to learn big or foreign or unfamiliar words. There are plenty of French words known to non-speakers of French (rendezvous, debacle, rapprochement) : Why do ecclesial types assume that we can't learn a little Latin?
He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water
photo via Boston Herald
:: :: :: :: ::
Transcript of Bishop Lennon's homily. Text via the Boston Globe.
The St Augustine quotation in the fourth-to-last paragraph should include, I believe, the words after the premature closing of the quotation marks, up to the end of the paragraph.
HAVE mercy upon me, O God, after thy great goodness; * according to the multitude of thy mercies do away mine offences.
2 Wash me throughly from my wickedness, * and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my faults, * and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight; * that thou mightest be justified in thy saying, and clear when thou shalt judge.
5 Behold, I was shapen in wickedness, * and in sin hath my mother conceived me.
6 But lo, thou requirest truth in the inward parts, * and shalt make me to understand wisdom secretly.
7 Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; * thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Thou shalt make me hear of joy and gladness, * that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
9 Turn thy face from my sins, * and put out all my misdeeds.
10 Make me a clean heart, O God, * and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence, * and take not thy holy Spirit from me.
12 O give me the comfort of thy help again, * and stablish me with thy free Spirit.
13 Then shall I teach thy ways unto the wicked, * and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
14 Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou that art the God of my health; * and my tongue shall sing of thy righteousness.
15 Thou shalt open my lips, O Lord, * and my mouth shall show thy praise.
16 For thou desirest no sacrifice, else would I give it thee; * but thou delightest not in burnt-offerings.
17 The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit: * a broken and contrite heart, O God, shalt thou not despise.
18 O be favourable and gracious unto Sion; * build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifice of righteousness, with the burnt-offerings and oblations; * then shall they offer young bullocks upon thine altar.
Sunday, December 15, 2002
from section XIX (trans. Mark Musa)
My lady is desired in highest heaven;
And now I want to tell you of her power :
A lady who aspires to graciousness
Should travel with my lady. When she walks,
Love drives a killing frost into vile hearts
That freezes and destroys their every thought;
And dare a thought remain to look at her
It has to change to good or else must die;
And if she finds one worthy to behold her,
He feels her power, for her least salutation
Bestows salvation on this favored one
And humbles him till he forgets all wrongs.
This too has God Almighty graced her with :
Whoever speaks with her shall speak with Him.
:: :: :: :: ::
Madonna è disiata in sommo cielo :
Or voi di sua virtù farvi savere.
Dico, qual vuol gentil donna parere
Vada con lei, che quando va per via,
Gitta nei cor villani Amore un gelo,
Per che onne lor pensero agghiaccia e pere;
E qual soffrisse di starla a vedere
Diverria nobil cosa, o si morria.
E quando trova alcun che degno sia
Di veder lei, quei prova sua vertute,
Chè li avvien, ciò che li dona, in salute,
E sì l'umilia, ch' ogni offesa oblia.
Ancor l'ha Dio per maggior grazia dato
Che non pò mal finir chi l'ha parlato.
for a link about ...
John Frederick Nims (1913–1999) was the author of eight collections of poetry, including The Six-Cornered Snowflake, Zany in Denim, and Knowledge of the Evening. He also translated several books of verse, most recently The Complete Poems of Michelangelo, and wrote the highly acclaimed Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry. Long affiliated with the magazine Poetry, he was its editor from 1978 to 1984, and he taught at many distinguished universities and workshops in America and abroad. Among the numerous honors he received for his work are the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, the Aiken-Taylor Award, the O. B. Hardison Award, and the Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize.
The estimable and highly esteemed poet, blogger & Catholic apologist Lane Core has recently proffered a translation of St John of the Cross made by the American poet who, if he still lives, must be well into his ninth decade.
Here I shall quote a small poem by Mr Nims, and dedicate the offering of the quatrain to Noise Of The Fretful, to Howie Carr, and to anyone else who thinks that bullhorns, wrecking-balls, hand-grenades, and dynamite will accomplish more than prayer, faith, hope, love, and simple Christian decency.
It is offered, too, in solidarity with another blogger's recent quotation of Thomas Merton, expressing rare & cherishable skepticism about the aims of many "progressed" Catholics ...
:: :: :: :: ::
by John Frederick Nims
"A dead tradition! Hollow shell!
Outworn, outmoded -- time it fell.
Let's make it new. Rebel! Rebel!"
Said cancer-cell to cancer-cell.
:: :: :: :: ::
J. F. Nims, "Avant-Garde," from the poet's Selected Poems (Univ. of Chicago, 1982), p. 147
Front page article from today's Boston Globe; it carries the headline 'I have no hatred,' Law says.
Which, to my mind, is nearly incredible. Nutcases outside the Cathedral every Sunday with signs saying "Bernie the Pimp"; cancer-cells on the Mystical Body yelling through a bullhorn "This is a house of rape"?
Wonder how these souls, so ostentatiously solicitous in their rhetoric about the welfare of children, feel about voting for candidates who support partial-birth infanticide. Bullhorns in front of Senator Kennedy's office? Protests on the streets in Hyannis near the compound?
But I'm not one-tenth of a percent of the Christian that Cardinal Law is. Not a twentieth part of a tithe. I maintain, in the face of those whose articulacy is in inverse proportion to the number of words they expend, that in some ways, Cardinal Law is an exemplary Christian.
Bad administrator, granted.
The article, by Charles M. Sennott, concludes :
''I'd ask you to keep me in your prayers,'' Law said yesterday as his journey back to the United States was ending. ''Please do that.''
The White Male Blue-eyed Left-handed Overweight Gemini Republican Alcoholic Bookworm Symphony Orchestra will be performing at Boston Symphony Hall (a few years hence, we imagine) with the Schola Cantorum Diversorum Ambiguorum, formerly known as the Multi-racial Chorus of Celibate Switch-Hitters.
The notice above is my comment appended to a deeee-lightfully cheerful, blithe and bonny post at Oblique House, in which Mrs von Huben wonders about the Return of the Sexuals. In all their finery and festive apparel.
written months ago by the tenebrous one
April 28, 2002. In the churches, shrines, basilicas, and chapels of the Archdiocese of Boston, Masses are still being celebrated. The Paschal candle is illumined by priest or acolyte: a quiet, dignified symbol of the faith that "Christ is risen; He is risen indeed" (Eastern Liturgy). During the Eucharistic prayer, we proclaim the mystery of faith: "Dying you destroyed our death; rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory." Layfolk of every station and stratum, every age and occupation, still converge "to kneel / Where prayer has been valid" (T. S. Eliot). Confessions are still being heard, rosaries still being recited, antiphons and hymns still being sung, and the Mystical Body still expanding through geography and history. In a time of scandal, the Church survives.
The church would survive even if only two or three persons per hundred thousand were participating in its liturgies, because it is God who engenders its energies, and He can do marvelous things with even a mustard-seed. But by the grace of that same God, the numbers are greater, even at weekday Masses during the lunch hour or the evening rush.
We have a Scriptural guarantee that the gates of hell will not prevail against God's church. And we have historical evidence: the Church has outlasted the Roman Empire, the Arians, the Albigensians; it has survived the schism of East and West, and the various zeals and differing aims of the many-branched Reformation. Catholicism now thrives in England where once it was bitterly persecuted. In other parts of Europe, neither of the past century's diabolical socialisms, German or Russian, could utterly extinguish the light and life of Resurrection faith. A vigorous and undiluted Catholicism thrives in Africa and Asia at the dawn of the third millennium.
The Church in the United States and in Boston will survive.
:: :: :: :: ::
But from the looks of things, it ain't gonna be pretty. Not in coming months, not in coming years.
GIVE sentence with me, O God, and defend my cause against the ungodly people; * O deliver me from the deceitful and wicked man.
2 For thou art the God of my strength; why hast thou put me from thee? * and why go I so heavily, while the enemy oppresseth me?
3 O send out thy light and thy truth, that they may lead me, * and bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy dwelling;
4 And that I may go unto the altar of God, even unto the God of my joy and gladness; * and upon the harp will I give thanks unto thee, O God, my God.
5 Why art thou so heavy, O my soul? * and why art thou so disquieted within me?
6 O put thy trust in God; * for I will yet give him thanks, which is the help of my countenance, and my God.
Saturday, December 14, 2002
Two articles of his, chosen at sort-of-random :
10/30/2002 : Prior to the election. Note the unequivocal and clear opposition to the prenatal infanticide ethic.
11/06/02 : On the Liturgy of the Word at Mass. The unfinal ending implies a continuation which I did not find at the Denver archdiocesan website.
Bishop O'Malley (another Franciscan!), late of Fall River, Mass., and currently of Palm Beach, Fla. has been mentioned -- but it's been only two or three months since he arrived at his current diocese! Unlikely, methinks, that he'll be uprooted.
... although I love gymnastics!
At the Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club, this message (credit to Steven Riddle for reminding us of the club's existence) :
Heroic virtue does not mean that the saint performs a type of "gymnastics" of holiness, something that normal people do not dare to do. It means rather that in the life of a person God's presence is revealed -- something man could not do by himself and through himself. Perhaps in the final analysis we are rather dealing with a question of terminology, because the adjective "heroic" has been badly interpreted. Heroic virtue properly speaking does not mean that one has done great things by oneself, but rather that in one's life there appear realities which the person has not done himself, because he has been transparent and ready for the work of God. Or, in other words, to be a saint is nothing other than to speak with God as a friend speaks with a friend. This is holiness.
To be holy does not mean being superior to others; the saint can be very weak, with many mistakes in his life. Holiness is this profound contact with God, becoming a friend of God: it is letting the Other work, the Only One who can really make the world both good and happy.
-- From Letting God work, an article by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on the occasion of the canonization of Josemaría Escrivá. Osservatore Romano (special supplement). 06 October 2002
on Cardinal Law's resignation. Noteworthy information includes :
Law’s resignation was only as archbishop of Boston. He remains a member of the college of cardinals and retains all the faculties of an ordained cleric. The 71-year-old Law would be eligible to help elect the next pope if a conclave occurs before he turns 80.
Mr Richardson gives us an excellent post (with input from one of his fellow-Orthodox correspondents) which is a salutary corrective to the view of God the Father as perpetually vexed off at an unregenerate human race, & cruelly punishing his Son in our stead.
I cannot recommend this post highly enough. I should comment more deeply, but perhaps later.
while insisting that we respect that elements of truth exist in other religions.
Also addressing a few other matters (e.g., Why We Don't Need Vatican III) in a series of dialogues found at TCRNews -- now among the "Catholic Sites" in Places Oft Visited.
of the comment-boxes. Not of all us here in the Hub share Cardinal Law's peculiar administrative difficulties, his apparent Jeffersonian preference for the government that governs least, his ostensible reluctance to use his powers to eject the unsavoury.
Verbum (to coin a plagiarism) sap.
:: :: ::
And speaking of comment-box eruptions
I'm developing a large-ish problem vis-à-vis the way I react to Gene Makepeace.
Gene Makepeace, is of course, a code-name for more than one personality out there whom I cannot stand to hear praised.
If someone at the Zxcvbnm Blog brings up the name of GM, I'll often append a comment to the effect that GM has wits that are as quick as a snail swimming through molasses, that he's the offspring of a horse's patootie and an Arkansas Democrat, that his breath smells like something other than teen spirit, that if he had two hearts, one would die of frostbite and the other of loneliness. That Stalin will precede him into the Kingdom of Heaven.
It is not good. Especially because I begin to suspect that Gene (or one particular Gene out there) is forty thousand times the Christian that I am, despite those qualities to which I am fiercely allergic; and that compared to Gene, I have not a farthing's worth of charity in my bodysoul.
Marie Szaniszlo's piece entitled "Bright career tarnished in fall." A briefest excerpt :
Jack Dunn, a spokesman for Boston College, recalls attending a wake several years ago for a boy who had been killed in a gang shooting in Roxbury, and overhearing Law tell the funeral director as he left to send him the bill.
``These are the things many people don't know about,'' Dunn said. ``There's a lot of goodness in the man that will be overshadowed by his horrific fall.''
The article is marred somewhat by the clumsy and pedestrian dichotomy of liberal-left vs. conservative-right. But as I read what is quoted above, I am reminded of why I am so unsparingly critical of, and unrepentantly vehement in expressing distaste for, the witches and sons of witches who think they're striking some great blow for humanity or God or country or Church by calling Cardinal Law various & sundry names other than "Cardinal."
And when otherwise reasonable souls speak to me of the redeeming qualities of one or more of the witches and sons of witches, I confess to enduring some turnings of the stomach in the range of 250-300 revolutions per minute.
at FarrellMedia, discovered via Andrew Sullivan -- Sullivan, who was added this day to the Places Oft Visited.
What strikes one upon reading the litany of noble and self-sacrificing attributes of the "good priest" is how many of them could apply to the priest who served as Archbishop of Boston from March 1984 to December 2002. At a first and somewhat hasty glance, I thought it was he who was being so affectionately and justly eulogized.
The Arch Street Shrine positively shouts ALL ARE WELCOME
... with the possible exception of former Congressman Bob Dornan ...
This article, about Saint Anthony's Franciscan Shrine, comes from a recent issue of the Boston area's gay & lesbian paper, Bay Windows.
It is not, please note, a paper that I read with any degree of assiduous regularity. But a laminated reprint of this article is currently hanging in the vestibule of the Arch Street Shrine, clearly visible to any entrant who approaches the two large pools of holy water.
Memorandum to His Holiness : Bruskewitz
Or anyone else who can fearlessly articulate, without ambiguity, that the individual believer, whatever his inclinations or struggles or special circumstances, does not have line-item veto power over the inconvenient clauses of the Catechism.
It is described as humility, in some circles, to say, "I don't have all the answers, and neither does the Vatican, so I, in my greater than infinite wisdom, can ignore any soi-disant moral precept that cramps my style."
In these same circles, it is described as arrogance and self-righteousness to bow one's head in submission to Christ and his Vicar, and to preface one's thoughts and words with an implicit or explicit salvo meliori Ecclesiae sapientia.
As Estlin Cummings observed in a letter to a friend, Kel woild.
come not from within the archdiocese, these choices seem most attractive :
Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville, Illinois
Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap of Denver, Colorado
Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska
One of these choices would most efficaciously send Noise of the Fretful into convulsions.
Not Morrissey Boulevard, and not Archdiocesan spokeswoman Donna Morrissey.
But (Steven Patrick) Morrissey, who uses only his surname, the mordantly mopey Mancunian who rose to prominence in the 1980s as frontman & songwriter for the Smiths. I was wide awake a morn or two ago in the wee sleekit hours of the morn, and diverted myself by trying to imagine what it would be like if Morrissey wrote songs about Boston, incorporating the names of MBTA subway stations into the titles (perhaps recalling the Smiths lyric: "If you ever need self-validation, just meet me in the alley by the railway station").
I came up with :
The Harvard Harpies
Forest Hills Makes Me Ill
The Jackson Square Fellow
Heath Street Pastoral
Roxbury Crossing Renegade
Sweet Sickening South Station
Charles MGH, Don't You Ever Crave
Downtown Crossing is a Drag
The Queen of Back Bay / South End
Tie Me Up, Chinatown
Orient Heights Odium
Dirty Look at Stony Brook
I'm afraid a little Brendan Behan slipped into two of the titles. And I couldn't resist some facile rhyme & alliteration.
My favorite is Heath Street Pastoral. (Imagine Wordsworth writing about wandering lonely as a cloud that floats on high o'er vales and hills ... of, oh, the South Bronx.)
Weigel : "Blaming the crisis on celibacy is like blaming treason on the Pledge of Allegiance."
Or (saith tenebrosus) like blaming drunk driving on the fact that we have laws against it.
Read this and every other splendid post dated December 13th at this excellently energetic collaborative weblog. (Main page.)
UNTO thee, O LORD, will I lift up my soul; my God, I have put my trust in thee: * O let me not be confounded, neither let mine enemies triumph over me.
2 For all they that hope in thee shall not be ashamed; * but such as transgress without a cause shall be put to confusion.
3 Show me thy ways, O LORD, * and teach me thy paths.
4 Lead me forth in thy truth, and learn me: * for thou art the God of my salvation; in thee hath been my hope all the day long.
5 Call to remembrance, O LORD, thy tender mercies, * and thy loving-kindnesses, which have been ever of old.
6 O remember not the sins and offences of my youth; * but according to thy mercy think thou upon me, O LORD, for thy goodness.
7 Gracious and righteous is the LORD; * therefore, will he teach sinners in the way.
8 Them that are meek shall he guide in judgment; * and such as are gentle, them shall he learn his way.
9 All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth, * unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
10 For thy Name's sake, O LORD, * be merciful unto my sin; for it is great.
11 What man is he that feareth the LORD? * him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.
12 His soul shall dwell at ease, * and his seed shall inherit the land.
13 The secret of the LORD is among them that fear him; * and he will show them his covenant.
14 Mine eyes are ever looking unto the LORD; * for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.
15 Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; * for I am desolate, and in misery.
16 The sorrows of my heart are enlarged: * O bring thou me out of my troubles.
17 Look upon my adversity and misery, * and forgive me all my sin.
18 Consider mine enemies, how many they are; * and they bear a tyrannous hate against me.
19 O keep my soul, and deliver me: * let me not be confounded, for I have put my trust in thee.
20 Let perfectness and righteous dealing wait upon me; * for my hope hath been in thee.
21 Deliver Israel, O God, * out of all his troubles.
Friday, December 13, 2002
to all things unwholesome in the field of journalism
is Peggy Noonan. Her latest, "Counsel for Trent" (ha!).
Lengthy quotation is needful :
A lot of liberals harp on the subject of race, and they do it in a way that gives more attention to hatred for racists than love for equality. They can't make or buy enough movies with names like "Ghosts of Mississippi," which illustrate how terrible white people are, were and probably will be again if we don't pass more laws. (White Southerners are and historically have been particularly demonized by liberals.)
The liberals' sin is a mindless race obsession that keeps them from seeing clearly. But conservatives have a sin too. A lot of them become deaf when the subject is race. All their lives they've heard the long 40-year rap about how wicked America is, how hateful, and along the way they just stopped listening. Which left them unable to hear nuance, and slow, if you will, to hear the music of a great movement.
All this is part of the kabuki that happens when you take a great moral movement like civil rights and turn it, as it is inevitably turned, into a political movement. Sides get hardened and sides get stupid. It's a little like the debate the past few years about obscene art. In that particular kabuki liberals get off on their faux courage, making believe it takes guts to create a painting of the Madonna smeared with feces. In the world we live in that takes no courage, and they know it. If they had guts they'd do a beautiful painting of the Madonna and accept the price: marginalization and dismissal by the art establishment. At the same time, conservatives in these battles get off on faux outrage. They stand up, shake their fists and say they're outraged that someone would desecrate the Madonna. And some are. But some in their hearts know it's all nonsense that means nothing, and what they really feel is delight that the left has once again done something ugly and stupid, and in public.
I have to resume reading. I was so magnetized by the passage above that I had to link, copy, etc., right away. I haven't even finished the article yet.
:: :: :: :: ::
All right. I've finished.
Maybe Peggy's next column will be about the need for Boston to change the name of Malcolm X Boulevard back to New Dudley Street. Or maybe to Cardinal Law Avenue?
Yes, she's right. Lott should not be Majority Leader. But still, we're making Alps out of anthills ... and worse, we're being dreadfully imperceptive if we think Trent's table-talk is the most polarizing phenomenon in our national dialogue today.
A Nocturnall upon S. Lucies Day
being the shortest day
TIS the yeares midnight, and it is the dayes,
Lucies, who scarce seaven houres herself unmaskes,
The Sunne is spent, and now his flasks
Send forth light squibs, no constant rayes;
The worlds whole sap is sunke:
The generall balme th'hydroptique earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the beds-feet, life is shrunke,
Dead and enterr'd; yet all these seeme to laugh,
Compar'd with mee, who am their Epitaph.
Study me then, you who shall lovers bee
At the next world, that is, at the next Spring:
For I am every dead thing,
In whom love wrought new Alchimie.
For his art did expresse
A quintessence even from nothingnesse,
From dull privations, and leane emptinesse:
He ruin'd mee, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darknesse, death; things which are not.
All others, from all things, draw all that's good,
Life, soule, forme, spirit, whence they beeing have;
I, by loves limbecke, am the grave
Of all, that's nothing. Oft a flood
Have wee two wept, and so
Drownd the whole world, us two; oft did we grow
To be two Chaosses, when we did show
Care to ought else; and often absences
Withdrew our soules, and made us carcasses.
But I am by her death, (which word wrongs her)
Of the first nothing, the Elixer grown;
Were I a man, that I were one,
I needs must know; I should preferre,
If I were any beast,
Some ends, some means; Yea plants, yea stones detest,
And love; All, all some properties invest;
If I an ordinary nothing were,
As shadow, a light, and body must be here.
But I am None; nor will my Sunne renew.
You lovers, for whose sake, the lesser Sunne
At this time to the Goat is runne
To fetch new lust, and give it you,
Enjoy your summer all;
Since shee enjoyes her long nights festivall,
Let mee prepare towards her, and let mee call
This houre her Vigill, and her Eve, since this
Both the yeares, and the dayes deep midnight is.
I have recently added Mr Bettinelli's web-log to the Places Oft Visited. Consistently sagacious, unabrasively forthright, uncommonly sensible. On Gerard Serafin's list, the site's name is given as "Betternet," and that might not be an error!
I posted this comment but a few moments ago at Mr Serafin's consistently heartwarming soulcheering hopestrengthening web-log :
A lesson today in ecclesiology, or in canon law, came via the Eucharistic prayer of the 12.05 Mass at my favorite chapel:
Make us grow in love
together with John Paul our pope,
Bernard our bishop, and all the clergy ...
If I understand aright : although Cardinal Law has ceased to govern the Archdiocese of Boston, he remains Archbishop, canonically, until someone is installed in his stead.
It fascinates, how the Church's ways are not the world's ways, nor her reasons the world's reasons.
Please pray for the Archdiocese of Boston, for Bernard our cardinal archbishop, for Bishop Richard Gerard Lennon who administers in his stead; for all bishops, priests, deacons, religious, and the entire people of God in our part of the world!
Also at the Blog for Lovers
do read this splendidly magnanimous tribute to Cardinal Law penned by Harvard professor and Memorial Chapel minister Peter J. Gomes ...
THE LORD is my shepherd; * therefore can I lack nothing.
2 He shall feed me in a green pasture, * and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort.
3 He shall convert my soul, * and bring me forth in the paths of righteousness for his Name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; * for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me.
5 Thou shalt prepare a table before me in the presence of them that trouble me; * thou hast anointed my head with oil, and my cup shall be full.
6 Surely thy loving-kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; * and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Thursday, December 12, 2002
This morning in the bean was gray and wet and chilly.
I turn to the morning readings for 12/12 in Magnificat, and what do I there find?
See, the winter is past! The rains are over and gone!
All in all a splendid day, with many small weird pleasant surprises. We shall not enumerate those surprises, for fear that something of the grace will be lost in the narration. But a really good day. Something of a rarity.
And the opportunity to attend daily Mass, and a supremely beautiful homily, scarcely longer than 2 minutes, given in a voice just a whisker louder than a whisper by a tall slender reed of a man (I'm guessing 6-ft-5, and 160 or 170 lbs), confirming my recent praise of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary ...
Cold, gray, glorious day.
A day in which I was aware of my utter bankruptcy of virtue, morality, redeeming qualities -- but this awareness didn't lead either to presumption or discouragement. I offered God my own nullity, and the 30 minutes I spent at Mass, and as Dylan Thomas said about his leisurely ramble down a riverbank in August, it was all right.
And my book that I ordered three weeks ago arrived at the bookstore! Theology of Wonder, by Bishop Seraphim Sigrist. Another of those weird coincidences : Open book at random. First thing I see : the name of Austin Farrer, the great noble orthodox poetic cheerful solemn joyous C of E theologian I praised here not a dozen hours ago.
Tomorrow evening, dinner with smart awesome weird fascinating relatives! Huzzah!
In this list, it is assumed that the Sacred Scriptures (in some readable version, containing the Apocrypha) are being read. Perhaps some prayerbook or booklet, like Magnificat or the Book of Common Prayer, either "old" or "new." Not mentioned are the great hymns which can be considered immortal literature (Cardinal Langton's Veni, Sancte Spiritus; J. F. Wade's Adeste, fideles to name two), but some poets are included.
Where a name is given without a book-title, assume that any and all (or close to all) books by this author are suitable, or on some level rewarding.
This list is being offered in response to a request by Mr Riddle at his web-log; it includes writing from the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox traditions. It is not, by any stretch, a complete list, nor is it a "top 3 x 3 x 3" -- merely some recommendations that have popped into one's noggin.
Another note is needful : Some of these books are out of print, and vexingly hard to find, unless you benefit from big-city libraries or stores like Boston's Matthew F. Sheehan's, with tens of thousands of second-hand religious books in stock.
John Paul II
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Benedict J. Groeschel, CFR, Healing the Original Wound
Catherine de Hueck Doherty, I Live on an Island
François Mauriac, Anguish and Joy of the Christian Life
Richard John Neuhaus, Death on a Friday Afternoon
Hubert van Zeller, OSB, Letters to a Soul
Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ
C. S. Lewis, any of his books, but esp. Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer
Austin Farrer, The Essential Sermons
Reginald Cant, Heart in Pilgrimage
E. L. Mascall, The Christian Universe
Eric Milner-White, My God, My Glory
Archbishop Michael Ramsey, Be Still and Know
Bishop Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way
Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World : Sacraments and Orthodoxy
Olivier Clément, Three Prayers
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh (Anthony Bloom)
A Manual of Eastern Orthodox Prayers
(Anglican Bishop) George Appleton, ed., The Oxford Book of Prayer
On the surpassingly great virtues of the 1928 BCP Psalter
The version of the Psalms found in the 1928 edition (and earlier editions) of the Book of Common Prayer has to be my all-time favorite. It is ceaselessly enticing and ever more magnetizing. It is an act of unculpable poetic hedonism to scan the pages of the Tremendous '28.
As perhaps the foremost example of how language as old as Shakespeare can be as new as Cummings, allow us to take a look at one-half of one verse, the beginning of the sixth verse of Psalm 9.
O thou enemy, thy destructions are come to a perpetual end
What a marvellous paradox in the final words of this micro-excerpt! An "end" is something finite and sudden; it is a moment, a punctuation mark, a period, a full stop -- an end has no duration; it is, rather, the moment at which duration ceases. But this "end" is perpetual! The enemies of God are perpetually planning malfeasance, malevolence, mischief, and mayhem -- but the conclusion of all this (futility, frustration) is foreknown and foreordained. The plottings of the runagates must "wither, fail, and cease" to quote a (youknowwho) 20th century American poet for the forty-millionth time.
In the 1979 BCP, this verse speaks of "perpetual ruin." I like "perpetual end."
Other memorable single verses stand out from the old-school BCP Psalter :
Psalm 27.16 : O tarry thou the Lord's leisure
25.8 : Them that are meek shall he guide in judgment; and such as are gentle, them shall he learn his way
69.2 : I stick fast in the deep mire, where no ground is
137.3 : For they that led us away captive, required of us then a song, and melody in our heaviness
139.1 : Thou knowest my down-sitting, and mine uprising
There's a memorability of rhythm and an ineffaceability of phrasing; the idiom rarely exasperates. Occasionally, we'd wish for a different choice of words (the "wine of astonishment" in the King James Version of Psalm 60 is "deadly wine" in the BCP; and Psalm 23 in the Prayerbook lacks the awesome fortitude of the version we all know so well).
Nonetheless, despite a cavil here and a quibble there, this is the version for me. Am recalling an ex-Anglican ex-monk (dos equis?) who confessed to a distaste for renderings of the Psalter that seem to be skating on thin ICEL. "Fortunately, I have the Psalms of the Book of Common Prayer memorized." He meant the Tremendous '28. I believe him. And he is fortunate.
I probably shouldn't say this, but even if the prime translator of the Psalms in this version was a rabid anti-papist who felt that Catholics were only good for kindling, it matters not -- not to me, from a vantage point so safely removed in time. God writes straight, we are told, on the crookedest of crooked lines -- and a Coverdale or a Cranmer of any age can give us language that is supremely felicitous and preternaturally graced.
from "Ash-Wednesday," section II
[ ... ] The Lady is withdrawn
In a white gown, to contemplation, in a white gown.
Let the whiteness of bones atone to forgetfulness.
There is no life in them. As I am forgotten
And would be forgotten, so I would forget
Thus devoted, concentrated in purpose. And God said
Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only
The wind will listen. And the bones sang chirping
With the burden of the grasshopper, saying
Lady of silences
Calm and distressed
Torn and most whole
Rose of memory
Rose of forgetfulness
Exhausted and life-giving
The single Rose
Is now the Garden
Where all loves end
Of love unsatisfied
The greater torment
Of love satisfied
End of the endless
Journey to no end
Conclusion of all that
Speech without word and
Word of no speech
Grace to the Mother
For the Garden
Where all love ends
a tenebrous poem of a decade ago
this is the hour of fences
the moment of obliquities and excuses
this is the hour when winter makes a comeback
this is the hour when pigeons sleep
this is the hour of elected reclusion
the lamp shines away from the page
and spills its luster into dusty corners of the room
this is the hour of tight-fisted solitude
and of the nightmares of the miser
this is the hour of minims and drams
of pennies and of degrees
this is the hour of ice and of rust
this is the hour of elegy
John Berryman, from "Canto Amor"
Awed and purified
By the burning mercy
Of true love's voice :
Vanquished and judged
By the ineffable
Justice of her countenance :
We dare not speak. We know not how.
A season of ice-storms it has been :
Love-pangs, anger, dark infernal rages,
Strong drink and tears that will not come.
But heaven's wisdom walks
In the bleak December night
Past the black nerves of trees
Under the cold and speechless stars.
Her eyes give life to him who loves,
Who sings her praises endlessly.
Lady of light, teach us to honor thee,
Forsaking all rebellion,
All base desires, brash chatter,
All ignoble thought.
Mr Taranto at opinionjournal : on Trent Lott (oust him as leader), on Nigerians who haven't read the eighth chapter of St John's Gospel, on weird headlines around the world. Via Andrew Sullivan.
Speaking of Mr S, he's expanding his repertoire. Not only is he frothing about Trent, he's cheering for the Jesuits. As you might expect?
THE JESUITS TAKE A STAND: The current issue of America, the American Jesuit magazine, is devoted in large part to a defense of gays in the priesthood. Alas, the essays require subscription. But this wouldn't be happening if the Society of Jesus wasn't deeply worried about the forthcoming directives from Rome. What it suggests to me is that if Rome decides to purge celibate and faithful gay priests and seminarians, then the American church will not take that decision as binding. Many in the clerical hierarchy and many more among the laity and religious orders will simply disobey, leading to crisis and/or a real danger of schism. This may, of course, be what some at the Vatican want, and in the absence of a functioning pontiff, they might get away with it. But not without a struggle. And not without fierce resistance in America.
Now what gets me about Sullivan, the Jesuits, and the Episcopal bishops of Massachusetts is that they fail to see that the Holy See is saying nothing about homosexuality that hasn't been said everywhere, by virtually every Christian church, community, and denomination for two millennia. Or rather say, for the 194 decades from the Resurrection until circa 1970.
There is the question of the ordination of strongly celibate, unswervingly orthodox priests of a predominantly homosexual orientation, and of course few would cavil at that. But the larger problem is of priests and prospective priests self-identifying as "gay" and promoting as Church teaching documents such as Always Our Children, a document at subtle but unmistakable variance with the Magisterium, and with millennia of tradition and revelation.
Ah, yes, but we're smarter than those fellows from oh, so long ago! Aren't we?
In some ways, yes; in some ways, no. A cursory glance at the moral state of our nation since the 1960s doesn't lead this observer to believe that our age is the beneficiary of any especial intellectual enlightment or spiritual grace or moral splendor. But at least we're (reputed to be) more tolerant, which is a good thing. In moderation.
MY God, my God, look upon me; why hast thou forsaken me? * and art so far from my health, and from the words of my complaint?
2 O my God, I cry in the day-time, but thou hearest not; * and in the night season also I take no rest.
3 And thou continuest holy, * O thou Worship of Israel.
4 Our fathers hoped in thee; * they trusted in thee, and thou didst deliver them.
5 They called upon thee, and were holpen; * they put their trust in thee, and were not confounded.
6 But as for me, I am a worm, and no man; * a very scorn of men, and the outcast of the people.
7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn; * they shoot out their lips, and shake their heads, saying,
8 He trusted in the LORD, that he would deliver him; * let him deliver him, if he will have him.
9 But thou art he that took me out of my mother's womb; * thou wast my hope, when I hanged yet upon my mother's breasts.
10 I have been left unto thee ever since I was born; * thou art my God even from my mother's womb.
11 O go not from me; for trouble is hard at hand, * and there is none to help me.
12 Many oxen are come about me; * fat bulls of Bashan close me in on every side.
13 They gape upon me with their mouths, * as it were a ramping and a roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; * my heart also in the midst of my body is even like melting wax.
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaveth to my gums, * and thou bringest me into the dust of death.
16 For many dogs are come about me, * and the council of the wicked layeth siege against me.
17 They pierced my hands and my feet: I may tell all my bones: * they stand staring and looking upon me.
18 They part my garments among them, * and cast lots upon my vesture.
19 But be not thou far from me, O LORD; * thou art my succour, haste thee to help me.
20 Deliver my soul from the sword, * my darling from the power of the dog.
21 Save me from the lion's mouth; * thou hast heard me also from among the horns of the unicorns.
22 I will declare thy Name unto my brethren; * in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
23 O praise the LORD, ye that fear him: * magnify him, all ye of the seed of Jacob; and fear him, all ye seed of Israel.
24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the low estate of the poor; * he hath not hid his face from him; but when he called unto him he heard him.
25 My praise is of thee in the great congregation; * my vows will I perform in the sight of them that fear him.
26 The poor shall eat, and be satisfied; they that seek after the LORD shall praise him: * your heart shall live for ever.
27 All the ends of the world shall remember themselves, and be turned unto the LORD; * and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him.
28 For the kingdom is the LORD'S, * and he is the Governor among the nations.
29 All such as be fat upon earth * have eaten, and worshipped.
30 All they that go down into the dust shall kneel before him; * and no man hath quickened his own soul.
31 My seed shall serve him: * they shall be counted unto the Lord for a generation.
32 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness * unto a people that shall be born, whom the Lord hath made.
Wednesday, December 11, 2002
in which the author successfully channels zac beaulac
Springtime in December?
:: :: :: :: ::
Summer's prelude :
trees going green
in the Public Garden
Days of sun and
silver river-sparkle :
is it possible now to
think of the world and
smile, nostalgic for all those
The promised fruit
(James Thomson writes)
lies yet a little embryo
this 22nd spring.
© 1991, 2002 by dylan_tm618
here's someone who'd have precious little problem, methinks, winning a national election. Steely determination, con dolcezza.
Except she does seem shy of scrutiny, and a race for the White House turns any candidate into a crumb of freshly baked bread thrown to the pigeons and sparrows. But she should consider running, if only to give the Jacksonites apoplexy.
We can hear, even now, the rhymed inanity of protest : To be qualified, you must be on our side, not with the Right allied, etc.
Be patient with the pop-ups & the time the article takes to download.
And note her clear, unequivocal views on the high-chair that is "affirmative" passivity (my phrasing, not hers).
poem #1587 in the edition before me
He ate and drank the precious Words --
His Spirit grew robust --
He knew no more that he was poor,
Nor that his frame was Dust --
He danced along the dingy Days
And this Bequest of Wings
Was but a Book -- What Liberty
A loosened spirit brings --
A day late. Happy birthday, Emily !! (172 yesterday ... )
this morn 'twixt 1.51 and 2.11 : twenty minutes well or ill spent?
:: :: :: :: ::
The Windows rattle, and the Hinges creak
An icy Gale, that, in its mid-Career
Arrests the bickering Stream.
-- James Thomson, Winter
How'd I get
so damn old
at 78 months
shy of forty?
On day of yest
so morn of this
I wore much less.
The ballads of a former age
were pleasant, & they smiled.
And were (to my mind) much too mild.
Lacking essential rage.
Versing in the mute small hours
in a warm room, at home.
A quiet prayer of gratitude
for this small, this great, boon.
Exercise the body,
exorcise the mind.
(But remember : If you don't pay your exorcist, you'll get repossessed.)
public image is
Having a go
at a different mode.
The rhythms occur
in spite of ourselves.
In spite of ourselves,
the measures we hear
are clear and include
the old and the new.
that I missed Emily Dickinson's 172nd birthday yesterday! Will try to compensate a tad later.
But for now, I think I might send all readers running for the hills by posting either (a) a poem of mine from 1991 in which I successfully "channel" Zac Beaulac, an old friend who was master of the wry, the understated, the austere, with occasionally the faintest glimmer of joy ... but mutedly so. Or (b) some of the silly things I was writing on a Mead writing tablet between 1.51 and 2.11 of this morning.
THE heavens declare the glory of God; * and the firmament showeth his handy-work.
2 One day telleth another; * and one night certifieth another.
3 There is neither speech nor language; * but their voices are heard among them.
4 Their sound is gone out into all lands; * and their words into the ends of the world.
5 In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun; * which cometh forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a giant to run his course.
6 It goeth forth from the uttermost part of the heaven, and runneth about unto the end of it again; * and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
7 The law of the LORD is an undefiled law, converting the soul; * the testimony of the LORD is sure, and giveth wisdom unto the simple.
8 The statutes of the LORD are right, and rejoice the heart; * the commandment of the LORD is pure, and giveth light unto the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, and endureth for ever; * the judgments of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; * sweeter also than honey, and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is thy servant taught; * and in keeping of them there is great reward.
12 Who can tell how oft he offendeth? * O cleanse thou me from my secret faults.
13 Keep thy servant also from presumptuous sins, lest they get the dominion over me; * so shall I be undefiled, and innocent from the great offence.
14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be alway acceptable in thy sight, * O LORD, my strength and my redeemer.
Tuesday, December 10, 2002
from Daily Readings with William Law, ed. Robt. Llewelyn & Edw. Moss (Templegate, 1986)
p. 43 : You have the height and depth of eternity in you
O man! consider yourself. Here you stand in the earnest, perpetual strife of good and evil. All nature is continually at work to bring about the great redemption. The whole creation is travailing in pain and laborious working to be delivered from the vanity of time. And will you be asleep?
Everything you hear or see says nothing, shows nothing to you but what either eternal light or eternal darkness has brought forth; for as day and night divide the whole of our time, so heaven and hell divide the whole of our thoughts, words and actions. Stir which way you will, you must be an agent with the one or the other.
You cannot stand still because you live in the perpetual workings of temporal and eternal nature; if you work not with the good, the evil that is in nature carries you along with it. You have the height and depth of eternity in you, and therefore, be doing what you will, in either the closet, the field, the shop or the church, you are sowing that which grows and must be reaped in eternity.
:: :: :: :: ::
p. 45 : Fire from a flint
Salvation is a birth of life, but reason can no more bring forth this birth that it can kindle life in a plant or animal. You might as well write the word flame upon the outside of a flint, and then expect that its imprisoned fire should be kindled by it, as to imagine that any images or ideal speculations of reason painted in your brain should raise your soul out of its state of death and kindle the divine life in it.
No! Would you have fire from a flint, its house of death must be shaken and its chains of darkness broken off by the strokes of a steel upon it. This must of all necessity be done to your soul; its imprisoned fire must be awakened by the sharp strokes of a steel, or no true light of life can arise from it.
O heavenly Father, touch and penetrate and shake and awaken the inmost depth and centre of my soul, that all that is within me may cry and call to you. Strike the flinty rock of my heart that the water of eternal life may spring up in it. Oh break open the gates of the great deep in my soul, that your light may shine in upon me, that I may enter into your Kingdom of light and love, and in your light see light.
:: :: :: :: ::
p. 46 : The spirit of prayer alone avails
God, the only good of all intelligent natures, is not an absent or distant God, but is more present in and to our own souls than our own bodies.
And we are strangers to heaven and without God in this world for this only reason, because we are void of that spirit of prayer which alone can and never fails to unite us with the one only Good, and to open heaven and the Kingdom within us.
A root set in the finest soil, in the best climate, and blessed with all that sun and rain and air can do for it, is not in so sure a state of its growth to perfection as every man may be whose spirit aspires after all that which God is ready and infinitely desirous to give him.
For the sun meets not the springing bud that stretches toward him with half that certainty as God, the source of all good, communicates himself to the soul that longs to partake of him.
in this month's Magnificat, meditation for Dec. 16th
But the fact remains that our task is to seek and find Christ in our world as it is, and not as it might be. The fact that the world is other than it might be does not alter the truth that Christ is present in it and that his plan has been neither frustrated nor changed : indeed, all will be done according to his will. Our Advent is the celebration of this hope. What is uncertain is not the "coming" of Christ but our own reception of him, our own response to him, our own readiness and capacity to "go forth and meet him." We must be willing to see him and acclaim him, as John did, even at the very moment when our whole life's work and all its meaning seem to collapse.
Briefly mentioned here a bit earlier today. I think Mr Lott was attempting to render one of those routine chivalries to a retiring colleague, and just went a wee bit overboard. Puzzling, and certainly not the sort of tribute that I would have paid, but hardly the national crisis that some would make it out to be.
Strom was only the second worst candidate for President in 1948. There was also Henry Agard Wallace, FDR's second-to-last vice president, running on the Progressive ticket, with a platform of being Neville Chamberlain to the Communists in Russia. Clare Boothe Luce -- wife of Time magazine founder Henry Luce, Republican congresswoman, noted Catholic, witty dramatist, benefactress of Mepkin Abbey -- referred to Henry Wallace as "Joseph Stalin's Mortimer Snerd," a judgment that history vindicates.
I understand that Bush's Treasury pick has been bullied into forsaking his membership in the Augusta Country Club, where chicks ain't allowed. (Memorandum to the inflexibly progressive : Add "theckthythm" to the charge of "waythythm.")
I hope he's confirmed, and reapplies immediately after confirmation. Enough of this silly pathetic progressive nonsense.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but we see that the iconic Eldrick Woods retains his membership.
from the cummings poem "nothing false and possible is love"
must's a schoolroom in the month of may:
life's the deathboard where all now turns when
(love's a universe beyond obey
or command,reality or un-)
:: :: :: :: ::
Must is progressivism. And progress is a comfortable disease, as estlin tells us elsewhere.
Must is mandatory tolerance and compulsory goodvibes. Must is the seething resentment under the veneer of enforced civility.
Must is musty. And "must" has nothing whatsoever to do with love.
Must is categories. Must is the death of the individual, the perpetual impossibility of two individuals discovering that "it's two are halves of one."
Must is policies. Must is political action. Must is a slogan. Must is an assassin.
Must is not half as lovely as English mist and it is more than twice as ugly as German Mist.
Must is equality at the point of a bayonet. Must is "think like me, because I am enlightened, or else."
Must is not freedom. Must is propaganda, and a plenary obeisance thereunto.
God is not "must," oddly enough. God is love.
The must against which estlin the luminous and dylan the tenebrous so vehemently rail is the "must" of lesser authorities, of human beings who fancy that their velleities, prejudices, and mendacities epitomize everything good&noble&true.
Must is the lecture hall where astronomers anatomize the heavens. But love is the star that one sees in the eyes of the beloved.
Must is the superstate of subhumans. Must is amn't.
Love is, to coin a plagiarism, la vita nuova ... for ever and a day it is nuova; it knows no state, no party, no philosophy, no platform, no five-year plan, no committee, no council, no association for the advancement of Self or of those like-minded.
Love is terribly impractical and almost tragically unrealistic. Love does not "bargain for the right to squirm" -- as serpents do.
Must makes the trains run on time (and reduces a theological virtue to a small town in Arkansas).
Must cannot praise or sing or swim or dance or write poetry or smile or do anything except hiss menacingly as it coils itself to spring upon the unsuspecting prey that is estlin's lowercase foolishwise proudhumble "i."
Love is a virgin martyr singing in the flames.
Mr Rothwell wonders if Adrian Walker's phrasing about the need to get rid of Cardinal Law, BAMN, should be taken at face value.
Well, yes, in that "any" means "any" -- and the man who turned the sentence-fragment into a rallying cry or slogan (slogan, from two Gaelic words meaning "battle" and "shout") certainly intended it to be understood in that fashion.
December 10, 1941 : Thomas Merton enters the Trappist abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky.
December 10, 1968 : After giving a lecture to Benedictines and Cistercians entitled "Monasticism and Marxist Perspectives," Merton dies in Bangkok, Thailand, of accidental electrocution.
December 10, 1972 : The poet Mark Van Doren, Merton's Columbia mentor and lifelong friend, dies.
O LORD our Governor, how excellent is thy Name in all the world; * thou that hast set thy glory above the heavens!
2 Out of the mouth of very babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength, because of thine enemies, * that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I consider thy heavens, even the work of thy fingers; * the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained;
4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? * and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5 Thou madest him lower than the angels, * to crown him with glory and worship.
6 Thou makest him to have dominion of the works of thy hands; * and thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet :
7 All sheep and oxen; * yea, and the beasts of the field;
8 The fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea; * and whatsoever walketh through the paths of the seas.
9 O LORD our Governor, * how excellent is thy Name in all the world!
Monday, December 09, 2002
The sound of her voice, combined with the sight of her when young in videos or in films of yore, causes the tears to spring quite sudden and unrestrainable, to the eyes. 'Tis true.
And, incidentally, The Preacher's Wife (a 1996 remake of the 1947 film The Bishop's Wife starring David Niven, Loretta Young, Cary Grant) is, to my mind, a charming film that gives the original a run for its money. I don't generally swoon in ecstasies of admiration over Mr Washington, in large part because he is Our National Homework (we must admire him, we must, we must, and I like not must) -- but he was truly charming as the impish angel Dudley. Whitney still had something of a glow and, my God, the voice. Loretta Devine, with a smallish part, is perhaps one of America's foremost character actresses -- and Courtney Vance's performance as the beleaguered minister leads us to believe he is sorely underrated in the general esteem.
''I believe in what he's doing,'' said Roberta Pavia, 49, who has worshiped at Our Lady's for 15 years. ''He is making it at least more palatable to be a Catholic.''
Describing Cuenin as a plainspoken, principled figure, parishioners said they had long admired his message of tolerance of gays and of other religions. His leadership during the sex abuse crisis, they said, has been characteristically controversial.
More good press via El Globo for
In case you missed it : Unless you agree with That Brave Pastor on Everything Under The Sun, you're not Tolerant Of Gays And Of Other Religions. The implication is clear. Dominus Iesus = "intolerance." Courage & SSAML = "intolerance." Repeating the pale pastel bromides of a hoary and moribund progressivism = "new, exciting ideas."
Ecumenism is taken to mean, put all denominations & creeds in the blender, and press liquefy. The universal insult of insouciance. Insouciance about essential differences.
Tolerance of gays, in this context, should be taken to mean that the ethic of HH JP2, and of believing Catholics, and of Orthodox, and of traditionalist Christians of every ilk, stripe, and fellowship should be blasted out of existence with the most potent dynamite and replaced with the oh-so-salutary ethic of Angels in America, of Jesus Has Two Mommies, of Commonweal, of the Jesuit Urban Center, of John Shelby Spong.
Perhaps we are getting a mite rhetorical. But it would be silly not to at least ponder the possible dangers of That Brave Pastor's New And Exciting Ideas.
From The Essential Sermons, #36, "The Bells of Heaven" (pp. 144-5)
When I was a boy, my father, wishing to encourage me at once in Greek and in handicraft, and to edify himself at the same time, caused me to carve him a little wooden plaque, with the words ERCHETAI NUX, night cometh; the night, that is, in which no man can work. And this he put under the clock in his study, to discourage him from idleness, a warning, it seems to me, he of all men least needed; and yet, when he came to the end of his life, he would lament how little he had made of it. And so we are likely to feel. Time accuses us, time, and those awful words, 'We have left undone what we ought to have done' -- for God knows what that is. And when we are most triumphant in the sense of having overtaken time, and imposed our achievement on the day, we may have most cause to rue, in our supposed success, the failure to have done the only thing that would have been truly worth while.
If we have to suppose that any souls are condemned to everlasting misery, surely a striking clock will not be left out of the equipment of their prison : the sound of time relentlessly passing, and never occupied to the hearer's content. A life on earth continually overtaken by time, and by remorse, is a pattern of damnation; but if we suffer such a hell on earth, it is only for lack of taking hold upon the redemption so freely offered to us. The Light, which darkness overtaketh not, has shined on our heads : he who commits his soul to Christ is one with the will which made both night and day. He puts himself into the hands of Christ, to live in his will. He will not be perfect, and so he will have many repentances for time misspent; but he will be humble and believing, therefore he will feel no remorse. He will say : I missed this or that from a fellow-being, I followed my pride, or my pleasure, I did not do as you, my Lord, would have done. But you have let me fall into these errors to show me my heart, and you, in your mercy, will use them for my discipline, and turn them to account in the designs of your loving kindness. You have undertaken my life, and you will bring it to good. While we are yours, we shall never be overtaken by darkness; work out in us the purpose of your perfect will and bring us to that day, which will marry us to joy, and ring every peal in all the city of heaven.
BLESSED is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, * and hath not sat in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; * and in his law will he exercise himself day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the water-side, * that will bring forth his fruit in due season.
4 His leaf also shall not wither; * and look, whatsoever he doeth, it shall prosper.
5 As for the ungodly, it is not so with them; * but they are like the chaff, which the wind scattereth away from the face of the earth.
6 Therefore the ungodly shall not be able to stand in the judgment, * neither the sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
7 But the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous; * and the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Sunday, December 08, 2002
Late Warden of Keble College. From The Essential Sermons (Cowley Publications, 1991).
From Sermon 22, "Double Thinking," p. 87. Note the variation on "through a glass darkly" in the penultimate sentence.
When the logicians say that there is a certain inevitable division between spiritual thinking and natural thinking, they are in a certain sense right. We can't reconcile the spiritual picture of things and the everyday picture of things completely on the intellectual level. If we claimed to be able to do it, we should claim to comprehend the ways of God as well as we comprehend the ways of this world, and that would be an exaggerated claim. We see God in pictures, in images only, reflected in a glass and riddlingly says St Paul : and we cannot fuse our picture of God perfectly with our picture of the natural world. There always remains a certain discontinuity, a certain incoherence on the intellectual level.
December 8, 1980 : John Lennon is slain by gunman Mark David Chapman outside his apartment building in New York City; the former Beatle was 40.
December 9, 1979 : Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen -- legendary Catholic apologist, author, and television personality -- longtime Bishop of Rochester, NY -- dies at 84.
In his autobiography, Treasure In Clay, Archbishop Sheen tells how he often prayed to die on a day dedicated to our Lady, such as a Saturday, or a significant Marian feast. But then he tells how a friend told him he should be ready whenever the good Lord calls him.
The day before Archbishop Sheen's death was both a Saturday and the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.
He died the next day, on the dies Domini, Sunday -- which in many languages is called Resurrection.
And this year, December 9 is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception! So, the venerable archbishop did, after a fashion, get his wish!
words of Pope John Paul II in Crossing the Threshold of Hope
The dispuational John da F. speaks, in a recent post, about the benefit of memorizing certain Psalms. He proposes a list, and mentions that Psalms 51 and 130 are specifically mentioned in the Enchiridion of Indulgences.
I'd add Psalm 8 to the list he proposes, and perhaps portions of 19 and 25.
The first few verses, at least, of Psalm 69.
A question about translation has been raised. Which translations do y'all prefer?
(Did I just say y'all ??)
I've grown quite fond of the Psalter in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer (where Psalm 8 begins, "O Lord our Governor"). This Psalter dates back to the days of Miles Coverdale and Thomas Cranmer. There's a felicity of idiom there that you don't find even in the King James, or its RC counterpart of rhyming title, the Douay-Rheims.
Magnificat, the monthly prayer booklet, is intent on foisting the flat cadences of the Grail Psalter upon its readership.
Fr Neuhaus of First Things stands up for the RSV, and for the NIV, widely favored among evangelicals.
Then, of course, there's the good old NAB.
And thenner, of courser, there's the gooder (immeasurably) and older (significantly) Psalter of the Vulgate.
Which do you prefer?
FRET not thyself because of the ungodly; * neither be thou envious against the evil doers.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, * and be withered even as the green herb.
3 Put thou thy trust in the LORD, and be doing good; * dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
4 Delight thou in the LORD, * and he shall give thee thy heart's desire.
5 Commit thy way unto the LORD, and put thy trust in him, * and he shall bring it to pass.
6 He shall make thy righteousness as clear as the light, * and thy just dealing as the noon-day.
7 Hold thee still in the LORD, and abide patiently upon him: * but grieve not thyself at him whose way doth prosper, against the man that doeth after evil counsels.
8 Leave off from wrath, and let go displeasure: * fret not thyself, else shalt thou be moved to do evil.
9 Wicked doers shall be rooted out; * and they that patiently abide the LORD, those shall inherit the land.
10 Yet a little while, and the ungodly shall be clean gone: * thou shalt look after his place, and he shall be away.
11 But the meek-spirited shall possess the earth, * and shall be refreshed in the multitude of peace.
Saturday, December 07, 2002
from chapter 11 of What I Saw at the Revolution : A Political Life in the Reagan Era (Ivy/Ballantine Books, 1990)
"Ich Bin ein Pain in the Neck"
The following is an excerpt from a lengthy memorandum that the wonderful Peggy Noonan, quondam Presidential speechwriter, sent to a group she called "the mice" -- a committee of persons who would excise the more spicy & controversial words from any speech she wrote for President Reagan ("communism," for instance) ... and replace them with the most insipid spoonfuls of Similac in the storied & gloried History of Pabulum.
pp. 227-8 If Ted Sorensen had had to deal with your Committee in the writing of the 1961 Berlin speech, he would have submitted for your consideration the phrase "Ich bin ein Berliner." [It] would have been edited out by the Committee and replaced with "We in the United States feel our bilateral relations with West Germany reflect a unity that allows us to declare at this time that further concessions to the Soviet Union are inappropriate."
You would not have been serving your President well with this edit. But you would have made it because a) "Ich bin ..." was an inherently dramatic statement, and dramatic personal declarations serve as red flags to Committees (sorry I said "red," that must be the 11th communist reference in this memo); b) The Official Worrier on your Committee would have pointed out, "A statement that strong really paints us in a corner when it comes to negotiations down the road. The press'llpick up on it and use it against us in the trade talks"; and c) the Literal Mind on your Committee would have pointed out, "The President isn't from Berlin and everyone knows it. He's from Massachusetts." ...
Required reading. Seriously. Stop ye, drop what ye do, and obtain a copy of this book -- even if on the temporary basis allowed by a public library. Miss Noonan is monumental.
with an increasing chance of ... clouds in my coffee, clouds in my coffee and ...
after reading a meditation at Sainteros (and it is remarkable, isn't it, how songs you haven't heard in 20 years or so, can come back to you word for word, given the right triggering mechanism?) I went to that part of the Carly Simon site that has the lyrics for, and discusses the genesis of, "You're So Vain."
Scroll down a ways to the following exchange that took place on Phil Donahue's show in 1990 :
An audience member asks Carly: Was 'You're So Vain' about Warren Beatty? And did Mick Jagger sing vocals on that?
Carly: I've never, ever told who 'You're So Vain' is about. But I will tell you since you're so very pretty in that pink sweater....it's about the young Oprah Winfrey.
December 7, 1941 was the bombing of Pearl Harbor; in 1993, Colin Ferguson's violence on a Long Island commuter train; in 374, the election by popular acclamation of (St) Ambrose as Bishop of Milan; and in 1875 ... a calamity at sea :
:: :: :: :: ::
Thou mastering me
God! giver of breath and bread;
World’s strand, sway of the sea;
Lord of living and dead;
Thou hast bound bones and veins in me, fastened me flesh,
And after it almost unmade, what with dread,
Thy doing: and dost thou touch me afresh?
Over again I feel thy finger and find thee.
I did say yes
O at lightning and lashed rod;
Thou heardst me truer than tongue confess
Thy terror, O Christ, O God;
Thou knowest the walls, altar and hour and night:
The swoon of a heart that the sweep and the hurl of thee trod
Hard down with a horror of height:
And the midriff astrain with leaning of, laced with fire of stress.
[ :: :: :: ]
Five! the finding and sake
And cipher of suffering Christ.
Mark, the mark is of man’s make
And the word of it Sacrificed.
But he scores it in scarlet himself on his own bespoken,
Before-time-taken, dearest prizèd and priced—
Stigma, signal, cinquefoil token
For lettering of the lamb’s fleece, ruddying of the rose-flake.
[ :: :: :: ]
Dame, at our door
Drowned, and among our shoals,
Remember us in the roads, the heaven-haven of the Reward:
Our King back, oh, upon English souls!
Let him easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us, be a crimson-cresseted east,
More brightening her, rare-dear Britain, as his reign rolls,
Pride, rose, prince, hero of us, high-priest,
Our hearts’ charity’s hearth’s fire, our thoughts’ chivalry’s throng’s Lord.
:: :: :: :: ::
A link to the whole poem, The Wreck of the Deutschland by Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ.
including my top three, but not my honorable mentions
Missionaries of Charity
Society of Jesus
Daughters of St Paul
Oblates of the Virgin Mary
Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Sisters of Mercy
:: :: :: :: ::
You are free to cast further votes, but there is no guarantee that they will be tabulated.
How's that for an election law, eh?
I feel slightly guilty for not having selected the Carmelites or the Dominicans or the Missionaries of the Poor or the Missionaries of Charity or the Benedictines. (Or, after a recent post by Mr Serafin about Boston's Mission Church, the Redemptorists.) They all get honorable mention. I may go back & tabulate the top vote-getters, excluding my choices. Here they are, by alphabetical order of their initials :
CFR : The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal
The order that had its genesis in the early 1990s in the South Bronx. Perhaps coming generations will call them "the Groeschel Franciscans" as we speak of the Hawthorne Dominicans. The personal charisma of the founder has much to do with this choice, but I am fascinated, too, by their combination of a deeply contemplative and Eucharistic spirituality and an unselfsparing contact with the modern world in one of New York's, uhm, busiest bailiwicks.
OCSO : Order of the Cistercians of the Stricter Observance
The Trappists. For all the reasons you might expect. Thomas Merton remains a compelling figure, in spite of, or perhaps because of, his flaws. Spent a week on retreat at a Trappist monastery once (and alas, only once). Used to subscribe to the Cistercian Studies Quarterly : I'll still occasionally send away for back issues. A priest-friend says that if God can be seen or heard anywhere on this earth, it's at a Trappist monastery.
OMV : Oblates of the Virgin Mary
... who staff the Saint Francis Chapel in Boston's Prudential Center. As a reader says in a comment to post a way's beneath this one, "These men are in love with God." The order was founded by the Venerable Pio Bruno Lanteri early in the 19th century, and brought to these shores in 1976. The director of the aforementioned chapel is such a superlative exemplar of the faith that one feels only the Pope would be an improvement. The eldest priest at the chapel, who was instrumental in bringing the OMVs to the USA, is eutrapelia personified. That's a good thing. All joyfully orthodox, with the adverb increasing in direct proportion to the adjective.
:: :: :: :: ::
Other categories (addenda tenebrosa)
My favorite Jesuit : Has to be Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89). Too many temperamental affinities to ignore. The shiniest of shiny silver medals goes to Henri Cardinal de Lubac, the 20th century theologian, one of whose books I have read.
My favorite ex-Jesuit : Must be the Very Rev. Richard Ho Lung, founder of the Missionaries of the Poor.
My least favorite Jesuit : A number than numbskull who once heard my confession. The experience, almost too ghastly to describe. The collarless presbyter saw it as an opportunity to practice a little amateur psychology. He asked for a thumbnail sketch in words of my life since age 18. Not knowing where he was going with this, and not wanting to disappoint, I did my best. Then, when I was done, the fun began. Enchanted by the sound of his own voice, and emboldened by my unwillingness to interrupt, he monologized for over half an hour, occasionally looking up to ask "Is any of this ... making any sense ... to you?" This pleasant little ramble -- as pleasant as it was little -- was punctuated by his attempt to foist upon me a book by a psychologist with the glorious surname of Horney (pronounced "whore-nigh") that would prove helpful, its would-be donor said, in curing any lingering "fundamentalisms" I might have. I told him I had more than enough to read at the moment, thank you. But I was absolved, in the normal fashion, and sent on my merry way to ponder the enticing diversity of our Church, the great number of truly extraordinary characters that one encounters therein.
:: :: :: :: ::
Once I was watching the Mass on EWTN. I don't do that too often, but I recognized the celebrant : Fr Frank Pavone, the director of Priests for Life, instrumental (be it noted) in the conversion to Catholicism of Miss Norma McCorvey, a.k.a. Jane Roe.
I turned on during the middle of the sermon. A lapidary utterance. "Theology," he said, acknowledging that he was quoting someone whose name I don't remember, "begins with an Amen. With a yes. With an assent to all that God has revealed through Scripture and the tradition of his holy church. Prayer ends with an Amen; theology begins with an Amen. Theology picks up where prayer leaves off."
This sort of thinking is quite prevalent, for the most part, in the orders that I chose as my favorites and in the orders that most of you chose as your favorites. This sort of thinking is not quite as prevalent in some of the other orders, perhaps illustrious once upon a time in their zeal for the "faith of our fathers, holy faith"; but currently, suffering from the unfortunate urge to put a question-mark where God has placed a period -- or even an exclamation point!