Thursday, June 23, 2005

Dispatch From the Road

Cari fratelli e sorelle, greetings from St. Starbucks.

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.

Grazie mille!



Blogger Laura Gonzalez said...

Yo, Rock,

I lost the battle long ago, so don't worry. ;-) I have a little magnet in my classroom that says something along the lines, "Some people never go insane. What horrible little lives they must lead." Can't remember the author.

Your question really got me thinking, since I have so little free time these days spent doing something other than trying to catch up on zzzz's.

My two tops activities would be (and immense lo sientos to the hubby and kids) reading and music.
Current reads include lots of teen stuff to preview for my students and kids. I also am coming to the end of an intense faerie phase; even thought of making my third tat a faeire. But I'll wait on that.

Music is also fairly eclectic and phase-oriented, with Jennifer Knapp and U2 currently vying for top honors.

laura gonzalez

23/6/05 19:10  
Blogger Hormisdas said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

23/6/05 20:37  
Blogger Richard said...

Hello Rocco,

1. "And altar girls wearing veils and scapulars..."

Well - I can't speak for everyone - heck - Ican't speak for anyone but me, and on some days not even that - but I presume hardly any cons' liturgical fantasies involve altar girls in any shape or stripe, no matter how many scapulars they're weighed down with.

But the rest sounds about like, well what Cardinal Pell might like. I think.

2. U2 (1987) was my very second (rock) concert ever attended, and missed honors of first only by two weeks, as Boston hit town on their reunion tour earlier that month.

The Joshua Tree remains the best U2 show I have seen, even if it wasn't the sensory overload that Popmart and Zoo TV were. And I had to give up a lot for that. That night was game 7 of the World Series, and my Cardinals were facing sudden death elimination. The guards looked the other way at the Walkmans we brought in to the arena.

The music is still good, even if I do worry that poor Bono is spreading himself awfully thin these days. A few comments by the Edge lately seem to suggest he kinda wishes his frontman might pace himself a little more. But I'm just reading between the lines there.

best regards
Richard Lender

24/6/05 14:47  

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