Monday, February 26, 2007

Virtual Cathedrals

Cardinal Justin Rigali, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, is posting a message on YouTube for each Sunday in Lent. I guess Archbishops are jumping on the technology bandwagon. More red zucchettos in the cyber aether I say!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Lent Sunday One - First Temptation of Christ

Jesus returned from the Jordan
and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days,
to be tempted by the devil.
He ate nothing during those days,
and when they were over he was hungry.
“It also says, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
When the devil had finished every temptation,
he departed from him for a time.
from today's Gospel (Luke)

Today's reading is an interesting one. Chirst alone, in the desert, admitedly hungry, showing human weakness and forced into temptation. Here we learn that temptation is not the sin, but rather an opportunity to come closer to God. How baffleing that the devil can in fact draw us closer to God. I often think about the last part of the reading, not putting God to the test. So often it is easy to fall into a trap where we want something from God, some sort of philosophical ransom, and its good to think back on this passage whenever we come to one of those points.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

emu triptych

This emu looks sad.

This emu looks mad.

This emu looks glad.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

into the desert

The Temptation by the Devil, Gustave Dore

Today is the day you go to church to make an ash out of yourself, as my Greek professor used to say. Some of my favorite words that are said at any mass are said at today's:

"Remember Man you are dust
and to dust you shall return"

It's rather brutal. Basically telling us we aren't special, that our selves are simply dust, hinting that we aren't whats important. It's odd in the age of self-help. The Pope, speaking about Lent and modern conceptions said, "Self-realization is a contradiction, and it is too little for us. We have a higher destiny.” The Pope's Lenten message was a meditation on Love which also touched on this idea, “The Cross is the definitive revelation of love and divine mercy, to enter into this mystery of love there is no other way than that of losing ourselves, giving ourselves, the Way of the Cross."

Well its interesting, and it almost sounds like Tyler Durden.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

farewell flesh

Battle of Carnival and Lent, Pieter Bruegel the Elder

This is the final day of Carnival, Mardi Gras, the great party before the lamentations of Lent. Its one medieval thing that still bleeds through to today, but sadly, or perhaps funnily, most in America don't associate it with Catholicism, and in fact don't even realize its relevance. However it still is the great Catholic Party that has rumbled through the centuries.

Mardi Gras, Joe Moorman

Sunday, February 18, 2007

seventh sunday ordinary, the antepenultimate eve of lent

Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymus Bosch

"for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."
from today's Gospel (Luke)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

massacrelessly marching

St Valentine Baptizing St Lucilla, Jacapo Bassano


Apparently Lonely Hearts should enquire to the Archangel Raphael, who now that I think of it plays the matchmaker in the book of Tobit :).

Monday, February 12, 2007


I don't remember how I came across Isaiah Zagar's murals, but I'm glad I did, they are rather amazing, covering entire buildings in some cases:

Mildred Street Wall

Painted Bride Art Center Facade

Carlos and Daniel Dream

Sunday, February 11, 2007

sunday six of ordinary time

Brothers Woe, Angry Woebots

Untitled Jesus in Progress, Angry Woebots

"Cursed is the one who trusts in human beings"
from today's first reading (Jeremiah)

"But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
Woe to you who are filled now,
for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will grieve and weep.
Woe to you when all speak well of you,
for their ancestors treated the false
prophets in this way."
from today's Gospel (Luke)


Also came across this very neat video of Nina Simone singing a Hebrew Folk song, "Land of Milk and Honey:

Sunday, February 04, 2007

fifth sunday in ordinary time

Isaiah, from the Paris Psalter 11th century

Then one of the seraphim flew to me,
holding an ember that he had taken with tongs from the altar.

He touched my mouth with it, and said,
“See, now that this has touched your lips,
your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
“Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?”
“Here I am,” I said; “send me!”
from todays first reading (Isaiah)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

"You don't make a poem with ideas, but with words."

Mallareme, Paul Verlaine

The great prince of all language is Stephan Mallarme, for language's only king is God. There isn't much to be said about him, or his writings, that's how fantastic he is. Here is an elaborate site with some of his writings, also one can get a pdf of his grand masterpeice "A Throw of the Dice will never Abolish Chance". Here is the fantastic opening to Herodiade, although it is in translation, shows through into his azure:

Abolished, and her frightful wing in the tears
Of the basin, abolished, that mirrors forth our fears,
The naked golds lashing the crimson space,
An Aurora—heraldic plumage—has chosen to embrace
Our cinerary tower of sacrifice,
Heavy tomb that a songbird has fled, lone caprice
Of a dawn vainly decked out in ebony plumes...
Ah, mansion this sad, fallen country assumes!
No splashing! the gloomy water, standing still,
No longer visited by snowy quill
Or fabled swan, reflects the bereaving
Of autumn extinguished by its own unleaving,
Of the swan when amidst the cold white tomb
Of its feathers, it buried its head, undone
By the pure diamond of a star, but one
Of long ago, which never even shone.

Crime! torture! ancient dawn! bright pyre! Empurpled sky, complicit in the mire, And stained-glass windows opening red on carnage.

The strange chamber, framed in all the baggage Of a warlike age, its goldwork dull and faint, Has yesteryear's snows instead of its ancient tint;

Mallarme, Paul Gauguin

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