March 01, 2010

Various & Sundry

Languorous readalicious reads on Sunday of Louise Erdrich's fiction. Lyrical, she. I started off stationed on the couch beside the picture window in the living room with the Kindle, searching for Erdrich as a result of a blurb in the Sunday paper. I found A Plague of Doves and The Antelope Wife. In between read Scott Hahn's thoughts on the readings at Mass, on the parallels between Moses on the mountain and Jesus in the Transfiguration. Moses brought three people with him, Jesus did likewise. Moses face shone white, Jesus' face did likewise. Then a dab of Forgotten Ireland, a genealogical memoir.
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Read from Is 44:21-22: "Remember this, you who are my servant! I formed you to be a servant to me; O Israel, by me you shall never be forgotten...".

And then I opened at random our parish's meditation booklet from M. Basil Pennington, OCSO, which began with John 15:15: "I no longer call you servants, but friends." The meditation goes on to diss the old Baltimore catechism answer as to why God made us, saying "That answer has probably driven more people out of the Church than any other. A god who wants us to serve him here and be happy with him only someday out there? Pie in the sky! That's not our God!"

He says that "God the the Father, Son & Spirit were completely happy, enjoying each other to the full....The Trinity wanted to share their happiness....and not just someday off in the sky, but right here and now." An interesting Lenten thought, given that too often we think of strife and happiness as opposites when God wants us to be happy warriors against the devil and his dominions.

Then, a Word Among Us meditation: "Being a disciple of Jesus is about being like Jesus, who always made it a point to look past other people's shortcomings. Jesus looked into their hearts and met them there...His opponents, on the other hand, tended to look only at people's faults, which did nothing more than create barriers between them and God."
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Sometimes I forget how individually God works with us, how the human race is not just one big sausage-making, saint-making factory. I used to want to know, as if it were a scientific formula, what was expected of me and what I could expect from God. I think that misses the boat in my not seeing things primarily in terms of friendship rather than contract. The answer is everything in both cases.
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Started listening to Scott Hahn's commentary on the book of Revelation; he mentions how many verses celebrate the annihilation of our enemies and he said how modern Christians need to get over our squeamishness about that subject. He said we needed to overcome our timidity and desire that our enemies be converted, but if conversion fails then - that the name of God be not be mocked - that they may be destroyed. It reminded me strongly of my experience at Ave Maria listening to the professor speaking on Dante.
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Today's saint of the day is David of Wales who, like St. John Chrysostom and surely many others, was a hermit for years before he became known for his service. That pattern is seen in the life of Christ, who had no public ministry before the age of 30. The template appears to be contemplation & meditation before action. Maybe the problem with the world today is that we all aren't monks for some period of time in our early adulthood. Maybe we tend to act before the foundation is laid.
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Lyrics found on the web of a song heard on the Friday Night Ol' Opry:
I am not proud of, the fact that i've used his name in vain.
I aint Set in a pew in a few sundays
I dont always turn the other chick
And I worked on the sabbath last week
Theres been a few things
And a few woman that have done more than just tempt me
My heart been filled with hate, greed and envy.
But I believe that Jesus died to save souls like me

Cause I'm a sinner
Thats just what I am
Somtimes the Devil can get the upper Hand
But I have my knees
Close My Eyes and Bow my head
And thank the Good Lord that when he comes to forgive Me this
He is no Quitter
Cause I am a Sinner

If Heaven Had a limit
On the number of Comanments that you could break
before they cast your soul away
Well there is no dought where ill be heading and ill check out

Cause I'm a sinner
Thats just what I am
Somtimes the Devil can get the upper Hand
But I have my knees
Close My Eyes and Bow my head
And thank the Good Lord that when he comes to forgive Me this
He is no Quitter
Cause I am a Sinner

Yeah, I am a Good Guy
Most the time my heart is in the right place
But I have my Days where I run a little low on Faith so far from Grace
That I lose my Way

Cause I'm a sinner
Thats just what I am
Somtimes the Devil can get the upper Hand
But I have my knees
Close My Eyes and Bow my head
And thank the Good Lord that when he comes to forgive Me this
He is no Quitter
Cause I am a Sinner
Im A Sinner
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Heard an old Pirates of the Mississippi album as recorded in the mid-'90s, which now seems like a hundred years ago. The weekends then were punctuated by triumphant beer soakings, the blood shot thru with Saturday night alcohol while indoor cigars flushed coveys of novels during the aegis of the Age of the Dust Covers. It was a non-digital era when all information was local: CDs were novel, books had no bytes and the 'net was unknown. I listened to Dwight Yoakam and Garth Brooks, the latter who sang of "being much too young to feel this damn old" and I felt the truth of it despite being young, the result of it being the apex of my sentimentality.

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