Dispatch From the Road
I had to skip town for the day, but was able to commandeer a laptop -- thank God for wireless internet... it could well be the eighth sacrament. And iPod is the ninth.
Cons, know that I witnessed your fantasy this morning -- yes, there was lace.... And altar girls wearing veils and scapulars, four altar crosses, frescoes of Pius XII's coat of arms above the sanctuary (Pius X's shield is painted over the door) and matching violet chasuble and pall at the Funeral Liturgy I was attending. And my personal favorite, the congregation wasn't incensed. Nota bene, this was a Novus Ordo liturgy.
You lot would salivate.
I spoke with the pastor who built all this -- an old pal -- afterwards. As viscerally as I disagree with his ecclesiology, he's a good man absolutely devoted to his vision of the church, even if it's more ressourcement of the 1950s than anything else. "We're just keeping along, doing the Lord's work," he told me. And he is -- his is a damn fine ministry, and at moments like this, he is a picture of what it means to be pastoral and consoling.... For all the pre-Concililar fixation, the theoretical element goes out the window in times of grief.
From what I'm seeing, it doesn't look like much is going on today, which is good as I've needed a breather. So, as I'd like to see more discussion here, I'd like to ask an existential question: what gives you a lift, overall? I'm not talking about lace or religious women dancing with ukeleles -- I'm asking about life in general.
One of the reasons I'm attracted to this niche of journalism is that faith -- and the people who profess it -- is rich in romanticism, feeling and the cognizance of inspiration, so I'm keen to hear your perspectives.
As for me, it may seem as if I run a 24-hour shop. That's not always the case -- if it were, I'd go insane. This business, more than most, requires its getaways to stay level-headed. If you've read much of me at all, you've seen that I'm losing that battle. Big time.
Moments like this, sitting in a Starbucks with light streaming through the windows in the middle of nowhere, keep me going. But more than anything else, I gravitate toward the sensual things: good friends, roaming around outside on beautiful days, and music.
We now have a Pope who has said he isn't an AC/DC fan. But I still do my Brian Johnson impersonation with relish. I've mentioned my U2 addiction before, one which is so great that I had to have Bono as my commencement speaker, and he came. The wonder of U2 is the resonance of faith-filled imagery in a milieu which isn't usually geared toward the broad questions of God and existence.... Anyone who doubts this should look up the lyrics of "The First Time," a song they did for a movie project Bono was working on.... Basically, it's a contrast of eros, philos and agape. Can you get more theological than that?
Continuing with the Irish mentality of faith, there's my boy Damien Rice -- with whom I've spent some evenings carousing in New York. No matter who you are or where your from, the stuff will blow your mind. Same goes for Jeff Buckley -- we'll have to exempt from the norms to have his version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" played at my funeral... on that topic, a friend of mine wants The Rocky Horror Picture Show's "I'm Going Home" at hers.
So that's the basic outline of what keeps me going; I could go on for hours but that's not the raison d'etre of this outlet. I just thought we could use a little break from the ephemeral and contributions are earnestly sought....
Being driven toward this work (God's blessing and curse on me) hasn't always been the easiest thing, but I'm starting at long last to enjoy the ride. For that, I have you all to thank.