August 19, 2009


Negativity is always with us so we need great gollops of positivity and prayer to counteract it. One method is to pray the daily office. When one is suffering, the Liturgy of the Hours seem as a balm. But when one is not, it's harder to feel a sense of urgency and affectiveness. To say "Lord, help me, be my rock, save me...." feels a lot more real when you're in conscious danger of drowning than when you "feel" afloat and all is right with the world, or at least your immediate world.

I mentioned this to Dylan of "dark speech upon the harp" fame and he offered this:
The late Msgr Frank McFarland, known and loved by viewers of Boston Catholic Television, tells how on the day of his ordination, when he was so happy he was walking on air, the reading from the breviary gave him Psalm 69 ("Save me, O God, for I sink in the deep mire" etc.). He said, later, to an older priest: "What do you make of this?" The older priest told the young Fr McF that when he prays Psalm 69 he is praying for EVERYONE who is in that dire predicament!
Why yes, of course. How very Christian!.

I curled up in the a/c Saturday night and watched four consecutive hours of palliative C-Span shows, including a speech given by a dour-looking Clarence Thomas. I sense he is susceptible to discouragement & got the distinct impression he would quit the Court if not for his strong sense of duty. His was an old-fashioned speech in the sense of his awareness of having to pay a debt to prior generations, including those who fought and died for us. He watches "Saving Private Ryan" frequently, one of his favorite movies, and talks about how Ryan needed to live up to the deaths of his superiors who saved him. I'm sure Thomas felt the same way about his grandfather and how he sacrificed for him. Clarence Thomas is old-fashioned too for digging up and listening to old speeches when he feels low, speeches like Douglas MacArthur's stem-winder to West Point about duty, God and country. I confess experiencing the feeling that what Thomas expressed seemed corny, which is a fine warning sign of spiritual malaise and sloth. His thoughts were the very opposite of corny; very deep and true.

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