Often I find myself feeling sorry for those out of the spiritual loop, while Jesus seems to say that we should instead simply be grateful for what we've been given.
Example: I think back to those of Job's time, before Christ, when every calamity meant that you had offended God. I feel so sorry for those folks. I think it unfair, a chronological unfairness. It's also totally unfair that I have the benefits of modern medicine that most generations have lacked.
Jesus didn't seem focused on the unfairness of Job's time but asks us to relish our own fortunateness. "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see," he says to his disciples. "For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it." Jesus didn't seem to feel sorry for those prophets and kings but seems to want us to concentrate on our own response.
From Liturgy of the Hours yesterday I was struck by the famous passage from Ezekiel 37:12-14 and a perhaps rather obvious thought occurred to me after reading, "I will open your graves and have you rise from them...I will put my Spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land." I thought about how that seemed well fulfilled in Christ, who literally had his grave opened (the stone rolled away) and how he rose and how he is now settled in his land, Heaven. (Although of course "His land" is earth and Heaven and He is at home in both). But that passage in the OT always has felt like a future promise, but it's already been partially fulfilled.
Wow. Reading Michael Chabon is humbling. The guy puts together sentences I can't imagine concocting. He's an artist, a jazz artist, stringing together these vivid images with pyrotechnic words. My highlighter has gone dry, or would if I weren't using an electronic e-reading device with virtual highlighting. Chabon has a vocabulary that anyone would envy and he's my age too - with all a 49-year old's slightly slipping powers of recall (or maybe it's just MY slipping powers of recall). Or maybe he just often consults dictionaries and thesauruses.
Read about 12 pages of his "Telegraph Avenue", which felt sufficiently satisfying. "Telegraph" has a full complement of artistic graces about it, a nice vigor. Riveting episode of a mother giving birth and having physical problems afterward.
Also read about beer in the fabulously priced and well-written "Tasting Beer" ($2.99). Read on iPad for all the glorious in-color pictures. Like reading about the origin of agriculture and about wild grasses in Kurdistan (almost wrote 'Turdistan'!) and how those folks were the first to figure how to cultivate wheat from those grasses. Talk about spinning straw into gold, because from wheat you can make -you guessed it!- beer.
For all the talk about baseball being "too slow", I thought at least there isn't the time between baseball plays as there is in football. But then I measured a bit: with football (Cincy versus Miami in this case) you wait about thirty seconds between plays while in baseball (via an old Reds-Pirates game I found on dvr) it's...about thirty seconds between pitches. That certainly undermines what I thought to be true, especially since any given football play is generally more determinative to the outcome of the game than any baseball pitch. Fortunately decent baseball announcers really make the time between pitches less an annoyance though. But I do have to give football the edge on action, even if I give baseball the edge on beauty (the average baseball field is 186% more beautiful than the average football field).
The Reds-Giants game started at 9:37pm, thank you very little MLB. Which means the game could last till 1am. Feel a bit disgruntled that St. Louis got in. They had a mediocre season, soundly beaten by the Reds over the 162 game season, but thanks to this joke of a second wild card berth (thank you very little MLB), they end up beating the Braves in a "one game playoff" (which makes about as much sense for baseball as having marathon runners run a sprint to determine the winner).
Speaking of running, learned that blogger/priest Msgr. Pope from the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. ran a 4:44 mile when he was young. That is motoring. My fastest was around 5:20. On his Facebook page there are a lot of pictures he's posted of himself. I suppose as creatures of God we all ought admire His creation, beginning with ourselves. "I am fearfully and wonderfully made...".
Pleasant run down High Street, past the smells of coffee and chocolate bars. Found myself in a meltingly picturesque scene such that I longed for a camera: autumnally-yellowed trees flanking the old neon sign of a bar and grill. I felt such a strong sensucht for this area called the "Short North". I wanted to visit those art galleries and coffee joints but realized that it wouldn't necessarily be the same. A runner has total access to the moment, having a task to perform and considered by others a transient.
Oh moan-sad am I, for summer hast flee'd and I have nothing but fleas to remember her by. Those golden, bolden moments in the bun-sun, run till the fun, mariachi music in my ears, swinging ham-handedly on the hammock in the glade pervade. Miss I keen already! Drinking in the sun, sunning in the drink, flim-flam, Pakistan! I rue the Rue that left me on the corner, that left me high and dry, absent my Absinthe! So long ago now, that lit spring day in olde Indianapolis - how pathetically grateful I was for the sun'd gardens beside Museum proper! Statuesque statues rimmed the drunkenly green lawns and I was instantly art-toxicated. I was in Paris, at the Louvre for all I knew. I think it all hysterics, all but fuss, and I wonder if some fair day years hence if, bitte God!, I'm in heaven, I will look back and see it all as slightly hysterical, as majoring in minors? Ah perspective, you elusive bastard! You sing your song only after the Fat Lady has already sung.
There's a growing sense of the truth of the old bromide, "the chickens come home to roost." If there's one pattern that seems to be consistently if belatedly followed, it's that no one, for very long, gets away with anything.
We saw it with the "original sin" of America, that of slavery and how as Lincoln said in his Second Inagural that every drop of blood drawn by the lash would be repaid by the the sword.
We saw it with pederast priests and how for so long the Church was respected enough to be let alone - until a tipping point was reached in which outrage on behalf of the victims mixed with a lessening respect for the clergy created, rightly in this case, outrage over bishops who moved priests willy-nilly.
We see it with the economic crunch: millions of people out of work because banks played a fool's game by lending money without sense or collateral.
And I think we're going to see it, sooner or later, in the fall of the U.S. from a position of powerful political and economic influence simply because waste, sloth and debt don't go unpunished.
Will we see it likewise with decade after decade of aborting millions of our own children? Or because the unborn are voiceless and defenseless, will that chicken come home to roost only in the next life?
I was reading today about how hundreds would come out to see a public execution during the early centuries in America. We think that barbaric. How much worse is the execution, witnessed or not, of defenseless babies in the womb?