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Annuntiatio Domini

Cell 3 of the Convent of San Marco by Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), 15th Century

Cell 3 of the Convent of San Marco
by Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), 15th Century

From the Office of Readings in today’s Liturgy of the Hours, an excerpt from a letter by Pope St Leo the Great:

To pay the debt of our sinful state, a nature that was incapable of suffering was joined to one that could suffer. Thus, in keeping with the healing that we needed, one and the same mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, was able to die in one nature, and unable to die in the other. [… ]

One and the same person – this must be said over and over again – is truly the Son of God and truly the son of man.

Blogging during Mass

Is Groundhog Day merely a grotesque neopagan parody of The Feast of the Presentation?

Or is it the other way around? Did the early Church fathers whimsically co-opt the earlier pagan festival of the groundhog by placing a feast of Christ on the same day?

I was hoping to hear a homily on this topic today, but no such luck.

Punxsutawney Phil

Punxsutawney Phil

Jesus of Nazareth

Jesus of Nazareth

Everybody Knows the Naked Man and Woman

… are just a shining artifact of the past. (Leonard Cohen)

male and female

Voyager 1 has left the solar system, people.

Manifesto of the Day

Chartres cathedral - tympanum

Orson Welles’ monologue from his final feature film, F. for Fake:

This has been standing here for centuries – the premiere work of man, perhaps, in the whole Western world, and it’s without a signature: Chartres. A celebration to God’s glory and to the dignity of man. All that’s left, most artists seem to feel these days, is man, naked – poor forked radish. There aren’t any celebrations. Ours, the scientists keep telling us, is a universe which is disposable.

You know, it might be just this one anonymous glory, of all things – this rich stone forest, this epic chant, this gaiety, this grand choiring shout of affirmation – which we choose, when all our cities are dust, to stand intact, to mark where we’ve been, to testify to what we had it in us to accomplish.

Our works in stone, in paint, in print, are spared, some of them for a few decades, or a millennium or two. But everything must finally fall in war, or wear away into the ultimate and universal ash. The triumphs and the frauds, the treasures and the fakes. It’s a fact of life: we’re going to die.

“Be of good heart,” cry the dead artists out of the living past. “Our songs will all be silenced. But what of it? Go on singing.”

Maybe a man’s name doesn’t matter all that much.

McLuhan on Faith

Remember what I said about Facebook and heaven? Remember how you rent your garments? Marshall McLuhan said the same thing about the telephone in 1965.

I’ve been surf-boarding a McLuhan wave of late and mostly sucking up salt water, but having a good time. Got tubular here:

Stoked, dude.

LECTURE on CATHOLICISM & ART ~ DANIEL MITSUI

Ecce Quam Bonum, by Daniel Mitsui

Ecce Quam Bonum, by Daniel Mitsui
(from Psalm 133)

The gifted and industrious artist Daniel Mitsui, a great favorite here at Korrektiv, has released the text (and illustrations) of a lecture he delivered earlier this month. The subject: Catholic religious art, and Mitsui’s approach to it as student and draftsman. This presentation is thought-provoking, edifying, and a pleasure to read. Here’s a taste, from near the conclusion:

You have undoubtedly seen [medieval ‘drolleries’] in the margins of illuminated manuscripts: frolicking monkeys, marauding woodwoses, flirting peasants, anthropomorphized pigs playing bagpipes, funny monsters composed of various parts of men, birds, beasts and reptiles[…]. This grotesque, romantic, comical element is not limited to manuscript margins; it is found in almost every medium of medieval sacred art. […]

This same element can be encountered in the worship of the medieval Church: a Festival of the Donkey honored the beast that bore the Blessed Virgin on the Flight into Egypt; during the Mass, certain responses were brayed rather than chanted. […] Medieval sculptors and engineers introduced automation and puppetry into the church […]. [An] example is the Boxley Rood of Grace, a crucifix whose Christ moved his arms and eyes and mouth by means of wires operated by a hidden puppeteer. For all that the Middle Ages can truly be described as a time of liturgical solemnity, monastic discipline, personal piety, scholastic disputation, crusading zeal and fleshly mortification, the faithful of those ages never lost their sense of humor or their spirit of romance.

I tend to keep the company of other traditional Catholics, and their reactions when hearing about these practices diverge; some think they are wonderful. Others are horrified, and see in them only a precedent for current liturgical abuse and artistic gimmickry. To my mind, they are very different.

To learn why Mitsui thinks they are different — and to help yourself to much more food for thought — click here for the lecture.

[Lecture link via Mr Mitsui’s April 2013 newsletter, which is packed with art, including a commission for the American College of Surgeons; a preview of a forthcoming set of Stations of the Cross; and the Ecce Quam Bonum that illustrates this post.]

[For Korrektiv‘s previous coverage of medieval drolleries, click here.]

Roughly two weeks remain…

…before we have to say, “I’m so sorry, Rhonda.”

Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 8.05.44 AM

Rally, Korrektiv, rally!

Vanity, thy name is…

Not quite this anymore….

**** DSCN9886 ***

….thanks to the newest Korrektivkind:

DSCN9887

Claudia Maureen. 9 lbs. 6 oz. 20 3/4 inches. Feb. 9. (4:50 a.m. (that’s right, A.M.)

Which for those with Irish Alzheimer’s (you forget everything but the grudges) means mnemonically that 2 had 9 on 2/9…

baseball-diamond

So, I might be looking for a new set of plates but then again I might not… You see, 9-9 just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

DSCN9805

JOB

‘Presepio’, by Joseph Brodsky (translated by Richard Wilbur)

The wise men; Joseph; the tiny infant; Mary;
The cows; the drovers, each with his dromedary;
The hulking shepherds in their sheepskins — they
Have all become toy figures made of clay.

In the cotton-batting snow that’s strewn with glints,
A fire is blazing. You’d like to touch that tinsel
Star with a finger — or all five of them,
As the infant wished to do in Bethlehem.

All this, in Bethlehem, was of greater size.
Yet the clay, round which the drifted cotton lies,
With tinsel overhead, feels good to be
Enacting what we can no longer see.

Now you are huge compared to them, and high
Beyond their ken. Like a midnight passerby
Who finds the pane of some small hut aglow,
You peer from the cosmos at this little show.

There life goes on, although the centuries
Require that some diminish by degrees,
While others grow, like you. The small folk there
Contend with granular snow and icy air,

And the smallest reaches for the breast, and you
Half-wish to clench your eyes, or step into
A different galaxy, in whose wastes there shine
More lights than there are sands in Palestine.

Wilbur, Richard. Anterooms: New Poems and Translations: 35-36. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010.

The Struggle Between the Profane and the Sacred

Happy Feast of All Saints, everyone.