Well, hello there. It’s been a busy week – the revisions for the Loyola Kids Book of Bible Stories came in and needed to be gone through before our trip. It was an interesting experience, as it always is, and is not yet over, so we’ll see!
It was illuminating because at some distance from the actual writing, I can re-see what I was originally trying to accomplish, discover that I actually did it, and it’s not too bad, after all.
Other than that, it’s been driving around Birmingham, as per usual, and trip prep. No, not trip prep in the sense of “packing suitcases” – I don’t do that until right before we leave! Ridiculous! No, it’s “trip prep” in the sense of….pouring over discussion boards, renting a camera, and watching Simon Schama videos. But after I get this post done, I’m going to do a trip prep post, so look for that in a few minutes.
Of course, a trip to London that takes place just a few days after a terrible, tragic terrorist attack will give one pause. But not for too long. Here is my philosophy: I am not going to put us in danger, but what can one do but always be ready? Look, a few months ago, there was an armed robbery in the parking lot of the Whole Foods in the wealthiest part of Birmingham. Some of you might have caught the news about the young woman who was kidnapped/carjacked and forced into the trunk of her own car, and escaped? It made the national news (and by the way, they arrested a suspect in the case Wednesday night)
Do you know where that incident happened?
Three blocks from my house. Last night, my son and I walked to an open house at a maker space, and our path took us right there.
It’s a horrible thing, and heartbreaking. So, no foolish risks, but honestly – should we just sit in our houses behind locked doors?
Well, of course, he never went away, continuing to produce fine art – one of the most interesting and important Catholic artists working today.
An example of the kind of material he posts: “Sacred Art and Cryptozoology”
The bias against belief in stories of legendary creatures legends is so strong, that they probably would be dismissed even if evidence of their plausibility were made plain. My older son was for a time deeply interested in the deep ocean. In at least two of his books, I read some commentary that basically said: The giant oarfish may have inspired legends about sea serpents. Now look at a picture of an oarfish: [go to the blog to see]
This creature grows to lengths of at least 36 feet (in the deep ocean, perhaps longer). Its head is covered with red spikes. It takes a practiced sort of scientistic myopia to look at it and say: This may have inspired legends about sea serpents instead of: Hey, look – a sea serpent. I mean, look at it; it’s a sea serpent. I expect that if small mammal resembling a white bearded horse were to prance up to a group of biologists and poke them with the long spiraling horn protruding from its forehead, the biologists would say: This heretofore uknown creature may possibly have inspired legends about unicorns.
In honor of tomorrow’s feast. More about this piece here.
And, I have to say: any controversy about this form of worship strikes me as wildly overstated. Most of the Mass proceeds exactly as it is normally done today; the total amount of time the clergy spends with backs toward the congregation is less than 20 minutes—maybe a third of the Mass. (It actually reminded me a bit of the Divine Liturgy I experienced when I was in San Diego a few months back; there was a similar sense of mystery and intimacy and transcendence at the altar.)
I know this form of worship isn’t ideal in every setting—some modern churches just aren’t designed for it—but I found it uplifting and surprisingly moving.
I hope I get the opportunity to serve this way again—and to pray this way in the pews, as well.
I’ve written about this quite a bit in the past. I’d love to see Mass celebrated like this all the time,everywhere. It would go a long way to minimizing cults of personality and clericalism. It clarifies the role of the priest in a bracing way. No, being in the person of Christ is not defined by how winningly Father makes eye contact with you when he prays.
The angel and the girl are met.
Earth was the only meeting place.
For the embodied never yet
Travelled beyond the shore of space.
Starting to think about Easter gifts? First Communion? Confirmation Mother’s Day?
Check out my bookstore. It will be closed from 3/25-4/2, so you might want to get on those Easter orders….If you order today, I can ship this evening, no problem.
For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!