October 30, 2007


Masquerade and costume are not horrid pagan things. What do you see in the Bible? The good angels take on whatever form they like, on orders from God; God and His angels visited Abraham (unless that was the Trinity); and Raphael walked in disguise with Tobias to guide him. Jesus Christ walked in unrecognizable guise with His disciples to Emmaus, playing a gentle trick while talking in third person about Himself, and revealing Himself only at the breaking of the bread. So it is no surprise that Paul had no better advice for Christians than that they should “put on Christ”. So much for dressing up as a saint or hero, or something good that you’re not. But why would you wear a costume of a villain? Ask Chesterton’s Father Brown:
"...Yes,” said Father Brown; “that is what I call a religious exercise…I’ve put it badly, but it’s true. No man’s really any good till he knows how bad he is, or might be; till he’s realized exactly how much right he has to all this snobbery, and sneering, and talking about ‘criminals,’ as if they were apes in a forest ten thousand miles away; …till he’s squeezed out of his soul the last drop of the oil of the Pharisees; till his only hope is somehow or other to have captured one criminal, and kept him safe and sane under his own hat.”
Most children who dress up as pirates or dragons or other scary things — they do it because they don’t want to grow up to be pirates or dragons. Healthy adults have much the same motivations, and may well need the reminder even more. - Maureen of "Aliens in this World"

Sola Deathly Hallows: Dumbledore is not homosexual, or if he is his homosexuality is not relevant, the theory goes, because his homosexuality is not verifiable (using some unspecified procedure) in the canonical text. Haven't I heard this song before? - Zippy Catholic on Harry Potter brou-ha-ha

All my handbags eventually turn into bookbags. Size does not matter. I once fit a hardbound copy of Uncle Gilbert's St. Francis of Assisi in a reticule. By some universal law that sounds like something out of Aristotle (but isn't), any book in my collection eventually finds the right-sized handbag for itself. Don't think, by the way, that just because a bag is relatively large and roomy, it is the right bag for most books. Larien's copy of Dante's Inferno was mangled in a Louis Vuitton purse which I was using to give myself airs. (Is there some ironic allegory in this?) Right now I'm using a small leather body sack. There is room for nothing but my billfold, my mobile, my house keys, a black gel pen, and one small paperback. That lucky and snugly-packed volume is The Awakening of Europe by Philippe Wolff--a book about books, which makes it a world full of worlds...If we just go by the Rule of St. Benedict, we learn that "some 1,500 hours of reading per year" was proscribed for the monks, "which, at say ten pages an hour, means approximately 15,000 pages. To supply the needs of a single year this represents an average of fifty volumes of 300 pages." ....Starting from scratch was a serious matter in medieval monasteries. Wolff explains that they lacked not only books they could copy, but also the materials for the books. That was never an issue for me when I literally made my own copy of Uncle Gilbert's Orthodoxy: I just went to the uni bookstore and bought a new notebook. - Sancta Sanctis

Truth shorn of goodness...cannot be true. - Tom of Disputations

Licit punishment always proceeds from charity, and never uses a person (not even a guilty person) as nothing but a means to some (however laudible) end. So when we ask a question like "should John Kerry be denied Communion?" the proper formulation of the question is "would it be objectively good for John Kerry himself if he were denied Communion?" - Zippy Catholic

The coming-out story is a quintessentially American story. It is self-discovery in opposition to societal regulation. It is personal liberation-as American as “lighting out for the territory.” There are ways to tell the Christian story so that it corresponds very well to this story of self-discovery and liberation: through Christ we are freed from sin and come to know ourselves; in Nietzsche’s phrase, we “become what we are.” But there are other ways of talking about Christian life-ways that focus on sacrifice, martyrdom, dying in Christ to live with him-which are perhaps less quintessentially American, and for that reason all the more necessary for us. There’s a reason all Catholic churches have a crucifix, an image of the tortured God. - Eve Tushnet

I never blamed Bill Buckner for the passed ball-more I blamed Bill Stanley for the wild pitch that let it get that far. - Jim Curley on the famous '86 World Series

Several thousand people report to these buildings every day and spend a good portion of their energies and waking hours here, but no physical product ever leaves this building. All the manufacturing is done elsewhere. And although there are definitely things we accomplish in our groups, they're often rather abstract...Because there are so many layers of specialization, the connection between the work that you do and the production of some specific thing that people need or want (and which provides clear value to the work) is often unclear. As a result, we often perceive the work we do in a rule/contract sense rather than in terms of production. Even for people direction involved in manufacturing, since modern manufacturing is very far from a craftsman model, the experience is of: "I show up and do this set of actions repeatedly, and try to make sure that I do them to these specifications so that I'm not disciplined -- in return for which I'm paid X amount per hour" rather than "I built ten lawnmowers, each of which can be sold for $250." This seems unfortunate, though I know of no particular escape other than, "look for a job where the distance between you and what you produce is as short as possible". When it's not clear to us what we're producing, work too often becomes a matter of, "I show up and follow the rules as much as I have to in order to avoid trouble and in return they pay me X"... - Darwin Catholic

he runs as one who wants to stand in place - Dylan of "More Last than Star"

When I came to the Seminary 20 years ago, there were three class periods on Mary, and of course, her perpetual virginity was so confused that some wondered if it was still a doctrine of the Church. Anyone who was bold enough to pray the Rosary in the Chapel was taken aside and told it was Pre-Vatican II and if he did it again, it would become a formation issue because of his “rigidity.” The only nod to the Blessed Mother was the annual Lessons and Carols concert, which was held the day before our Patronal Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Now, some twenty years later, we have a four credit hour course on Mariology tied in with Eschatology, every Monday in October we gather and publically recite the Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament. We sing the Salve Regina after Evening prayer on Tuesdays. In May, we honor Mary with a May crowning of one of her statues on the grounds. We still have the Lessons and Carols on the evening of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. - Fr. Rob Jack on a Cincinnati seminary, via "Ten Reasons"

I saw a great shirt at Mass today. On the back of the shirt was a picture of St. Terese and next to the picture it says "Start acting like a child." Classic! - Curt Jester

I remember watching, as a child, an episode of The Twilight Zone. It began with doctors and nurses with surgical masks gathered around a hospital bed of a female patient whose face was completely bandaged except for her eyes and nose. From their conversation, it became apparent that this woman suffered from a hideous disfigurement which a series of plastic surgeries had failed to correct. They had attempted one final surgery that the doctors were optimistic would solve the problem, but they would not know for certain until they unbandaged her face several days later. They finally come to the moment of truth—the unwrapping of the bandages—and we see that the woman’s face is stunningly beautiful. The doctors and nurses shake their heads with disappointment and apologize for their failure. For the first time they remove their surgical masks revealing grotesquely hideous features. That is how it is in The Twilight Zone: The beautiful is ugly, and the ugly is beautiful. This is a helpful image for the consequence of relativism that impairs a culture from recognizing what is objectively good, beautiful, and true. - Joseph Naumann of "First Things"

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