Sunday, December 08, 2013

Conceived immaculate

  • Mass: Gaudens gaudebo in Domino. Non-Catholics often think we’re talking about the virgin birth (Christmas!), which of course we believe in, and which this is connected to, but most of you (the Protestants who read this blog know more or less what the church teaches) know it’s about Christ’s redemption not being limited by time, as he is God and man, so Mary is the Mother of God, that wonderfully shocking term (because it sounds as though Mary existed before God, which of course isn’t what it means). When it comes to Mary, “fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum,” et Verbum caro factum est (“be it unto me according to thy word” and the Word was made flesh); the rest is commentary. Mary was saved just like us only at a different point, as the dignum filio suo habitaculum, the dwelling place fit for her son. Which is really why the Orthodox call her all-holy (Greek παναγία and Russian пресвятая) and sinless (пренепорочная). Jesus saves; Mary prays. (It’s Not About Latin™ but I like it very much.)
  • As I like to say, the flashpoint of all rebellion against God has to do with him and the flesh he created coming together: who Jesus is, the Eucharist, and sex. (Some of the angels rebelled because they wouldn’t serve man, right?) About which ancient heretics, Renaissance-era heretics, and moderns respectively say non serviam. “Show me a society that hates virginity and I will show you a society that hates children.”
  • Sidebar: Christmas shopping yesterday, I noticed that a department store’s toy section was rather pathetic, barely taking up a corner of floor space. The mall’s toy store was only about half full, of junk from Red China. I’ve been told that about 50 years ago, John Wanamaker’s, a local big downtown store (12 floors!) had a wonderful toy department with a monorail for the kids that went around the whole department. The rich have their boutique shops and of course now there’s online shopping (hooray for the market), but still.
  • From Rod Dreher: Dana Gioia on Catholic art; here, Catholic writing. It’s probably not what you think; it’s “rarely pious”: Catholic writing tends to be comic, rowdy, rude, and even violent. “Welcome Sinners.” “Here comes everybody.” Which is what the traditional church always has been; cf. Modestinus. (Arturo Vasquez back when he wrote online about Mexican folk Catholicism: Catholic cultures are scary because people are.) John Boyden and I talked about this about 10 years ago when I mentioned that I think the relatively recent Christmas movie The Family Man is a Catholic story even though it’s not really religious (like It’s a Wonderful Life, which it mirrors; made by a believing Catholic). He agreed that the trappings of the church don’t make a story Catholic. Anyway, the traditional church produced Flannery O’Connor; the council, feh. Again, how’s that “renewal” working out? Also, you’d think I’d be into Lord of the Rings but never have been for some reason. I understand Tolkien, a believing traditional Catholic, never set out to write something pious; this fantasy world was just playtime for a very smart man, so well done that people lose themselves in it. I like C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters are good reads) but Tolkien thought Narnia (read it when I was 10) was a dumb, preachy ripoff of his work.
  • Yeah, that’s Sung Mass at my parish: the Sixties never happened.

1 comment:

  1. That's so sad about the department stores' toy sections. :(

    I remember how magical downtown Boston used to be, before Christmas, back when I was a little kid during the late '50s. I remember Filene's and Jordan's with their beautiful Christmas displays: Jordan Marsh's Enchanted Village (how did they get those elves to move in the era before animatronics?); the lights sparkling everywhere as dusk settled in; the Three Wise Men on their camels over the entrance to -- I think it was Jordan's, but it may have been Filene's. For a little kid, it was all so utterly magical. The Christmas section at Walmart is ugly and depressing by comparison.

    Oh well...that era is long gone, and you can't go back. I sound like an old geezeress, and I guess that's what I am. :D


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