So magically, the morning and early afternoon opened up. Like the parting of the Red Sea it was. I languidly read Paul Theroux's evocative Ghost Train before heading out at noon to the local YMCA. Worked out on the elliptical while saying the Lit of the Hours. Wonderful "double-bagger", improving spiritually and physically. More than ever I'm making the church's prayer my own, with my own interpretations. For example, "Fire and heat, praise The Lord / Cold and chill, praise The Lord!", which always reminds me that I should be praising God whether it's August or January, whether I'm in straits or flush.
Then there's the lines, "...a two-edged sword in their hand, to deal out vengeance to the nations and punishment on all the peoples: to bind their kings in chains and their nobles in fetters of iron...this honour is for all his faithful." Being my own worst enemy, I see this not in terms of binding our external enemies but our internal ones. The "kings" and "nobles" are the vices and idols I have in my life; I have the right and responsibility, via the sword of Scripture and grace, to be rid of them, to be in control of my fleshy nature.
Today's Scriptural reading goes, "For this is why Christ died and came to life, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living." I spiritualize this so that it means, "For this is why Christ became spiritually dead and came to spiritual life, that he might be Lord of both the sinner and the saint."
I am particularly intrigued by the Benedictus prayer said by Zechariah after having been struck mute for awhile. He uses the phrase, "In the tender compassion of our God..". How amazing that he thought of God as tender and compassionate after his punishment, his mini-purgatory! That offers hope that we too will see God as tender even when he's chastising us.
Often I think of the great love Mary Magdalen had for Christ but almost never do I consider what He did for her in driving out seven demons. Seven the number of fullness, what he did for her was in fact extraordinary and her love was merely a response to His love. Which means we have to let him drive out our demons and thus elicit greater love for Him.
And the rest is from last night:
Oh so glad to be in the land of Fri, sitting here in Kindle bliss reading Zadie Smith's Joycean NW: A Novel. Hard exercise done, snuggling in the half-dome of sleep and reverie, dreading the brevity.
Extra sensory perception suggested that Betty Duffy might be reading my blog. I check SiteMeter for the first time in a couple months. And...she is reading it! Hey Mikey, she likes me! Right there in our sister state of Indy, and in real time. (I know, I ought act like I've been read before...) I reflexively wonder how lame recent blog posts are; it helps to write as if no one's reading, just like that corny saying about dancing like no one's watching.
It's still light at quarter till 8, a sight that feels almost revelatory. "Light before warmth," is the adage of spring and is certainly true now given the chill.
The work week was preter-exhausting, but I finished with a little help from tumblr. Three Masses, four workouts, the dizzy-dazzy way I feel after so much data ropin' and tyin'. Gitty up lil' datum! Whipped their hides and branded their asses and got all the reports done on time and accurately.
I saw an article on the obvious, that of the pitiless math of weight loss and gain, how if you're going to drink a lot of empty calories in the form of beer or sweets then you risk malnourishment or obesity. Two options: you drink one of your three meals a day and thus under-nutrient, or you drink and eat and tomorrow you'll be fat. No such thing as a free lunch, they say, but even more true of a free beer.
Nice to "reset" with a 27-minute run. A small victory over the forces of sloth and mental turbidity. Nothing quite like the mental makeover of strong exercise (as Samuel Johnson said, "Such is the constitution of man that labour may be styled its own reward; nor will any external incitements be requisite, if it be considered how much happiness is gained, and how much misery escaped, by frequent and violent agitation of the body."
Speaking of Dr. Johnson, he also said of activity: "Exercise!! I never heard that he used any: he might, for aught I know, walk to the alehouse; but I believe he was always carried home again."