Friday, September 30, 2005

Friday, September 30, 2005

This morning on the Thruway near Kingston, a tractor trailer hit and instantly killed a moose. Some EnCon workers from the area had been scheduled to have blood tests at the Civil Service employee health service; bringing the moose with them, they stopped here before going to the Five Rivers Environmental Center in Delmar, where Ward Stone, the State wildlife pathologist, has a lab. They parked in front of our building, and I among others went down to look at the moose. According to the EnCon workers it was a young male, about 2½ years old and about 700 pounds in weight; its antlers were about 30 inches across. Lying on the flatbed, it did not seem as large as I expected, though no doubt it would have been impressive enough if it had been alive and standing. One of the EnCon workers moved an antler to show that the skull had been cracked; a large bone stuck out about six inches near the left hind foot; the belly was bloated from the internal injuries; a very little blood was drying underneath the mouth and the anus. Several people, mainly women, from our agency and the Department of Corrections across from us, touched the moose, but no, not I. I had been feeling better in the morning, but seeing the dead moose brought me back down a bit.


They said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And you said, It is enough. And even the work of Peter’s sword you undid. Would you rather I put up my words into the sheath? If I found life satisfactory, I would be content to write privately. You did not find life satisfactory, and condemned Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum. Are you satisfied with Albany, B—, C—?

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I feel better about some people when I remember that you died for them also.

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I do like my writing. It would be a pity if nobody did.

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Have I never quoted this?

“. . . as Bernanos once said, ‘le bonheur, c’est un risque.’”

Yes, happiness is a risk (and happiness is a task).

“Well, if you succeed, you will have done it.”

And if I don’t succeed, it will just be another . . . .

—John Lukacs, A Thread of Years, Yale, 1998, 9.

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O shopping for a dress for a dance. She already has two or three others she might wear. To me, this is not proper. He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none (Luke 3:11). Neither two coats (Matthew:10:10, Mark 6:9, Luke 9:3). Of course, a dance is not mission; but is it an occasion when one should forget about you?

But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.
—Matthew 11:16–17, Luke 7:31–32

Oh, why did you have to die for us?

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From Thomas Day, Where Have You Gone, Michelangelo? The Loss of Soul in Catholic Culture, Crossroad , 1993:

“Groaning,” Latin or English, can be powerful stuff. (Oddly enough, this power decreases as the volume is increased through amplification.) (p. 69).

. . . that damnable irritation called amplification (p. 70).

Today, in some convent chapel somewhere, the sisters go to Mass. There they encounter a priest who faces them constantly. . . . He smiles, sincerely. He turns on his rapport, his warmth, his postconciliar desires to include them. . . . He speaks into a microphone that transforms him into the biggest thing in the room. He has good intentions, but all of his nice personal touches only seem to glorify his “power and privilege.” The man is not a presider; he is a provocaiton. In this skirmish in the “battle of the sexes,” he has all the weapons (p. 78).

Stage I: . . .

Te igitur, clementissime Pater, . . .

Stage II: . . .

Most merciful Father, we therefore . . . .

Stage III: . . . The congregation listens as the priest, his voice hugely magnified through electronic amplification, reads the official English language version of the same Canon, as prepared by the InternationalCommittee on English in the Liturgy (ICEL):

We come to you, Father, . . .

(pp. 80).

. . . with microphones, there is a new and drastically simplified flow chart. The ceremony is structured in a way that forces everything—prayers, pieties, thoughts—to flow through the priest to God or from the priest to the congregation. The celebrant’s amplified words take over completely (except for those moments when a reader or song leader controls the sound system). The flow chart demands that the worshiper’s first duty is absolute and undivided attention to the few individuals at the top of it. This arrangement can provide opportunities for structured participation (such as the movement of vocal cords in song) but not necessarily for that supreme form of participation called involvement. A sincerely committed, prayerful involvement in worship—something that always begins as a personal and private matter—is deliberately suppressed in an environment dominated by people behind microphones; the flow chart seems to suggest that the worshiper’s involvement must flow in one and only one direction: to the person controlling the sound system at a particular moment. The secret source of power behind the structures of the “old” Latin Mass and even the “new” [vernacular] one (without heavy amplificaiton) is that they both welcome involvement, because the flow chart is much more confused. The worshiper can, as it were, go “around” the priest and musicians (pp. 81–82).

Monsignor: a-MAY . . . THE LORD . . . BE . . . a-WITH a-YOU.

Congregation: Andalsowithyou.

(p. 84).



Anonymous Craig Comly said...

This is very informative. I hope to see more in the near future

10:35 AM  

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