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A week to which there is no return
Catching up . . .
Man with coffee, seated, looking around . . . 3:30 in the p.m. on Colectivo patio, a few yards from Clark Street reading Richard Hughes’ Fox in the Attic. Very careful writer, says intro, author who takes time to do it right. It shows.
Lo, on Clark and the side street Rascher, where the man sits, mad monks walk by. Mad monks — he’s never met one, it’s a Gothic trope — are his fellow citizens in masks, covered nose to gullet, one after another, heads down, avoiding so much as a glance at this man in snappy red sweater under stylish green, chilly-weather vest.
They walk quickly as if he were emitting darts of sickness. They remind the man that these are the days of the virus, the evil spirit which hovers over all.
To dentist today . . . He had my "partial" ready to try. It fit but not entirely. Adjustments are to be made. The partial, by the way, is a clip-on frame with openings for new teeth as they leave me, in case you don’t know. If a tooth is a problem, out it goes, and good riddance. Dentist fits me a new one, slips it into the frame, and away we go. Latest in longtime relationship, and my teeth.
Mass remains a good thing (why wouldn’t?) . . . . This morning the Novus Ordo (New Order, vernacular) mass, what most RC’s are used to, now simply “the ordinary mass.” Celebrant, or "presider," as they call him Novus Ordo-wise -- I object to the term, it's as if he was chairing a meeting -- preached on St. Catherine of Alexandria, 4th-century intellectual who legendarily converted the 20 local intellectuals sent by the emperor to convert her.
Emperor was not amused, she was tied to a wheel equipped with knives to carve her up bit by bit, but the wheel fell apart and knives went every which way, dispatching some of the observers. Instead she was beheaded, which martyrs probably felt was the easy way out.
She became the patron saint of wheelwrights (!) and one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers (!!). My position: the ancients knew a good thing when they saw it but described it sometimes with abandon. But I do not think a Google or Facebook fact-checker would improve on their account. (In fact, I think a Google or Facebook fact-checker improves on almost nothing.)
Later (Saturday) off to the 8:30 . . . A low Latin mass (vs. high, which is sung), old-time stuff and not my usual preference. Not on weekdays anyhow because (a) there's no homily and (b) by its nature there's silence throughout, with only bells to tell you what to do, which is kneel or sit. And I used to fret at the many things going on (distractions) during Novus Ordo masses!
Today's was different: being a weekend mass with 84 in attendance (of 300 slots, per the on-line sign-up page), and always a sermon. We say the Hail Mary's after mass, plus the "Hail Holy queen" and St. Michael archangel prayers at the end.
Another difference is the number of families, some of them quite big, in attendance on weekend. Also, confessions are heard throughout at several of the many confessionals, which are worth noting in themselves -- wood-carved glistening brown polished, ornate, with door for priest and half-covered (not enclosed) kneeler for penitent. Sound is muffled; privacy guaranteed. But no door to this enclosed penitent space. You get used to it.
Confessions throughout most of mass. It's a big thing for this place, somewhat like St. Peter's in the Loop, which has confessions all day long.
Thanksgiving Day sermon11/29 . . . Sermon today was by Fr. K, who at the Thanksgiving Day mass used the G-word, gluttony, which was a first in my long life for a Thanksgiving (turkey-day) mass. It was also about the day itself. He quoted the 1777 (!) proclamation by the new U.S. government, with its reference to "almighty God" and "providence" and said something on today's widespread hostility to all that. Then at the end, haltingly: "Don't slip into . . . too much . . . you know what I mean." Gluttony again.
He has a book about sin, by the way, in which he deals with the s-word. As novices, we heard about one of the Menninger brothers of clinic fame bemoaning the loss of a "sense of sin." Well Fr. K's book, Manual for Conquering Deadly Sin, is a slice of the same cloth, very smart and careful, and willing to push his readers and listeners, which few priests are. If there’s an elephant in the room, he takes notice.
So today his Advent discussion -- a "little Lent" -- was about Advent as "a dry run, a rehearsal," for the Second Coming of Christ, "the day of judgment," and less a celebrating of the coming of the Jesus 2,000 years ago.
I hope you don't mind my going into this stuff. I'm using you as partly as a sounding board, I guess.
OK, that's it. We are gathering in a few minutes at P & A's in their yard.