Monday, November 14, 2016

on impressions et.c.

The substance of my surprise, which was genuine if less accute than others', was that I couldn't quite believe that The Suit was in it to win; but indeed he looks happy to have won. At the same time, I couldn't tell from The Secretary's capaign whether she was really in it to win either.

Let that be a lesson to ... well... whenever I write blustery or hold forth with any sound of auctoritas.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Architectural Puzzling

I was singing at a wedding two weeks ago, and a delightful event it was! The Church was among the Farmland Villages (now more built up) somewhat North of Hometown Suburb, and must be at least a hundred years old. While its structure is mostly masonry, the ceiling and walls inside are finished with hard woods, so the whole space rings like a violin; and it was indeed a joy to sing in there!

Now, though being a Century Church, it has not entirely escaped the... excitments of the later half C., though to be sure it remains much better than many newer (and older!) buildings, and hasn't forgotten What It Is For... And One of the Strange Things about it was that graven on the Ambo were the words "Benedicere / Praedicare". Yes, that was all—I checked. For indeed this church began and actually remains in the care of the Dominican[s] (I only met one there)... And I knew there had once been a third infinitive there, which insisted on escaping me, and it took some time for me to get around to looking it up again.

The third — no! actually, the first infinitive of that trio is (as you can look up too!) Laudare. Now, why would that be cut out? Why would What That Church Is For be remembered in its form, but cut out of the Motto?

Of course, you all know from grammar that many verbs take objects. For a Dominican (or any other Catholic) the only proper object of "Laudare" is Divine; and that should, in fact, inform the principal sense of the other two verbs in the motto: "Laudare [Deum], Benedicere [Deum], Praedicare [Deum]". Yes, "praedicare" has also an indirect object ... ad albigenses (inter alia). More: while it is also part of the purpose of Dominicans, and indeed consonant with the motto ut benedicere fidelium, still the primary benedicere Deum can be forgotten if the keystone "Laudare" is omitted.

And that someone would make tangible that omission, by [not] carving it in wood on an Ambo to be seen by all the faithful, well, it puzzles me. It causes concern, if you will.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Just once, please...

Can we have, somewhere amongst the various democratic countries folk live in who used to visit here, just once, a national Election that turns out boring? An election without characters, or promises of revolution? An election that doesn't pretend to be a battle of good against evil, but just of genuinely different paths to genuine good? An election that people are happy to vote in, but in which the outcome isn't going to make anyone angry?

A temporae fascinans libera nos Domine

Monday, August 22, 2016

It's that day again!

Well, look at that: the calendar count is again a two-bit semiprime. That's two years in a row.

I wonder how often that happens...

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Samaritan et.c.

Our Lord does indeed say "Love your enemies"; and there is, of course, a resonance of the same in the Good Samaritan.

But in the context of the question
Who is my neighbour?
the particular answer given is a bit stranger even than that.

The further context behind the question, that being the Second Great Law: Love thy neighbour as thyself, puts what might be a judicial edge to it: who is my neighbour whom I am bound to love, and who is he I may hate?

I suggest that Jesus' answer, followed by the exhortation Go thou and do [as that Samaritan], means that the question is wrong. Jesus does indeed point out how (by the lawyer's own admission) one may be bound in Law to love an enemy, but more than that: Jesus is telling this Lawyer How To Find His Living Soul In The Law: make yourself a neighbour, and (a) you will have fulfilled the law, and (b) the Law Itself will find you lovable.

Who doesn't want to be loved?

Who, then, should not want to be lovable?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

St. Paul and Capille

Since the Pater Zeddissime is syndicating bits of one Fr. Scanlon OFM.Cap., on the subject of ladyfolk and liturgy and Ecclesiology, I thought I'd put in some 2mils on the topic of head-coverings...

It's perhaps becoming cliché that, in Liturgy, beautiful and distracting things are to be veiled. The chalice and patten, before they are put to work, the Tabernacle, the ministers themselves in their Sunday finery under chasuble/dalmatic/tunic... One priest at a wedding I went to affirmed that even the words we use are veiled in Latin and Chant --- not so that we might forget that they are there or what they mean, but to protect both us and them.

And something of this principle is already clear in the exegesis Paul himself gives for his direction on head coverings (and the particular difference between men and women in this wise):
15 But if a woman nourish her hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.
which follows immediately after
14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that a man indeed, if he nourish his hair, it is a shame unto him?
(I should perhaps mention here that,... I do have long hair, and also am a "gent", or so I hope, but if you think what I do to my hair is nourishing, you've another think coming)

That is, a woman should tend her hair and keep it beautiful; and a man should not (not so much); and because a woman's hair should be beautiful the same should be covered for liturgy (and also there shall be Revolution). A man's hair, on the other hand, should not be distracting.

There are, of course, a couple of interesting points about hair in the Old Testament. On the one hand, Samson (poor fellow) was told never to cut his hair nor let blade touch his head. I kinda don't think we're supposed to take Samson as a good person (not untill, perhaps, the very end)... anyways, his hair shows forth his humiliation when it is eventually shorn off. On the other hand, Absalom... of him it is said
25 But in all Israel there was not a man so comely, and so exceedingly beautiful as Absalom: from the sole of the foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. 26 And when he polled his hair (now he was polled once a year, because his hair was burdensome to him) he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred sicles, according to the common weight.
not just a looker but eager to quantify it... and which may be how he was finally caught after his last rebellion; the Vulgate says that in the oak he was caught by his caput while his mule kept going; but others interpret this as being caught by his considerable hair! Like... stranger things do happen in the bible, but it's still hard to imagine Absalom being caught by the head not by his hair, and surviving long enough to then be murdered by the general he's been fighting all the while.

But there is one more point about St. Paul and hair and glory et.c. ... St. Paul was the first Tonsured. That is, he was forcibly shaven by some unruly folk, in Damascus I think, so as to humiliate him (and very likely there was blood shed, too); but being a humorous lot, the church inverted this sign and proceeded in time to tonsure all its clergy, certainly in solidarity with Paul, but also as yet another sign of our awaiting and being prepared for martyrdom (though, of course, not trying to provoke it either).

We don't tonsure quite so much these days anymore, and similarly don't so much insist on capped womenfolk. Perhaps hair doesn't distract us so much anymore? But in any case, the two customs go together.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

An old classic.

And the goode wyf answerde that she coude speke no frenshe. And the merchaũt was angry. for he also coude speke no frenshe, but wolde have hadde egges; and she understode hym not
Circa 1490. Lower third of the image in this charming page. (I still wonder: why French?)

I'm pretty sure it was somewhere around St Pod's that I first heard this tale; it is a fun one!