dream

A perhaps thirty-year-old Walker Percy (full head of brown hair) is standing on the grass of a public park on a fine summer’s day. The location could be Seattle or New Orleans or Heaven. A small audience of bookstore patrons and suchlike (including myself) is gathered. Cut to a newspaper article about Percy. From the text of the article, the Kiergegaard quotation that serves as epigraph to The Moviegoer jumps out at me, but it is formatted as a dictionary definition of despair. The original epigraph (as I recall it) has two numbered definitions, but here Percy (or the author of the article) has added a whimsically humorous third definition. Cut back to Walker standing there. He’s wearing a short-sleeved button-up shirt with a green cross-hatched weave, tucked in.

Walker introduces a semi-famous country singer who sits astride a bicycle (beach cruiser style) at the edge of the crowd and now commences to ride down the gentle grassy slope towards Walker. The country singer croons a couple of verses of a song that is loosely apropos to the occasion as he pedals in a wide arc around Walker. It is an odd spectacle, and Walker seems pleased but slightly abashed about it. He speaks to the audience for a short while and then concludes. The crowd disperses and Walker turns to walk away as well. It occurs to me I should say something to him while I have the chance, so I approach him from the side. Now he’s wearing a dark brown pullover and I grab the sleeve to get his attention.

“I just wanted to say your work has meant a lot to me,” I say.

“Well, all right.” Walker says, smiling cordially.

I let go of his sleeve. We both nod and smile and part ways.

I’m walking down the sidewalk away from the park. I burst into tears.

I wake up crying.

Edible

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The wife has been busy…

 

Hast Seen the white transcendence of the immanence?

Discoveries

At Dauphine Street Books (open late!)…

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Potter had the big find – I’ll let him tell about, but I was pleased to discover this:

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And Everybody Knows That the Plague Is Coming

… Everybody knows that it’s moving fast. (Leonard Cohen)

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In space, no one can hear you scream, people.

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.

Crystal Blue Perdition

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Anyone getting psyched for the first of Breaking Bad‘s final eight (8) episodes could do worse than revisit this post from two years ago by a friend of Korrektiv. The commentary contained therein is still relevant, as is the link to the New York Times profile of the show’s creator, Vince Gilligan — a lapsed Catholic, in case you didn’t know (which reflects at least a few faint photons of glory on us). As an Extra Added Bonus, there’s a YouTube embed of an old (i.e., young) Bryan Cranston commercial for J.C. Penney that — at least for those of us not too familiar with the man’s pre-Walter White résumé — constitutes a real-life flashback as paradigm-shifting as anything on the show.

In case you didn’t click the first link above, here it is again.

And Hank exits the loo in 3… 2… 1…

Sanctus Pater Noster Dominicus

Cell 7 of the Convent of San Marcoby Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), 15th Century

Cell 7 of the Convent of San Marco
by Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), 15th Century

Today is the feast of Saint Dominic de Guzman, founder of the Order of Preachers.

As previously noted in Korrektiv, Holy Father Dominic practiced ‘nine ways of prayer’, based on distinct gestures or attitudes of the body. The Nashville Dominicans have a superb illustrated outline.

Blessed Fra Angelico‘s fresco of the mocking of Christ (above) depicts Dominic off to the side, reading — but, it’s safe to suppose from the context, not just reading: In his Eighth Way of Prayer, Saint Dominic integrated the acts of prayer and reading. Dominic’s reading-prayer did not consist only in his meditation on the text, but also in his reverent handling of the book as a physical object, and in his engagement with the Divine Author as a presence in the room. The Nashville Dominicans quote Fr Simon Tugwell, OP’s description of the Eighth Way:

Sober and alert and anointed with a spirit of devotion which he had drawn from the words of God which had been sung in choir or during the meal, [Dominic] would settle himself down to read or pray, recollecting himself in himself and fixing himself in the presence of God. Sitting there quietly, he would open some book before him, arming himself first with the sign of the cross, and then he would read. And he would be moved in his mind as delightfully as if he heard the Lord speaking to him. […] It was as if he were arguing with a friend; at one moment he would appear to be feeling impatient, nodding his head energetically, then he would seem to be listening quietly, then you would see him disputing and struggling, and laughing and weeping all at once, fixing then lowering his gaze, then again speaking quietly and beating his breast. […] The man of God had a prophetic way of passing over quickly from reading to prayer and from meditation to contemplation.

When he was reading like this on his own, he used to venerate the book and bow to it and sometimes kiss it, particularly if it was a book of the gospels or if he was reading the words which Christ had spoken with his own lips. And sometimes he used to hide his face and turn it aside, or he would bury his face in his hands or hide it a little in his scapular. And then he would also become anxious and full of yearning, and he would also rise a little, respectfully, and bow as if he were thanking some very special person for favors received. Then, quite refreshed and at peace in himself, he would continue reading his book.

This one goes out to Matthew on his birthday

Happy, Happy, Happy Trinity Sunday

‘… called Emmanuel.’

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From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

‘Sign you ask none, but sign the Lord will give you. Maid shall be with child, and shall bear a son, that shall be called Emmanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

The Leprechaun’s Advice to My Daughter

leprechaun-pot-of-gold-coins-by-IGNACIOLEOI have a nine-year-old daughter who, as is the practice in our diocese, went through confirmation and first communion (in tandem) about a year ago. Since then, I’ve been wondering if waiting until later for confirmation (as is the norm in most dioceses, I think) might not have been the better course. She was all for getting confirmed, seemed to really like the grown-up credentials that were thereby assigned to her, etc., which I thought was all well and good. But since then things have degraded. Getting this girl to mass every week has increasingly become an ordeal. She hates it, is bored by it, whines and moans and protests about it every week, and then sits through it as disengaged as she can be, occasionally asking when it will be over. This is troubling to say the least.

With that in mind, tell me if the following deception on my part is morally questionable and/or in any other way ill-advised. Or is it a justifiable form of holy trickery akin to what Walker Percy said about the Catholic writer having to use every trick at her disposal to lure the reader into receiving the news from across the sea?

Last night this girl left her shoes out for the leprechaun who always visits the night before St. Patrick’s Day to leave goodies in. She included a little gift for the leprechaun (a pencil with shamrocks on it) and a note asking him to leave her a real photo of himself as proof of his existence. So I left some chocolate gold coins in the shoes, took the pencil, and then scribbled a thank you on her note (in my best leprechaunish hand) saying that she should check her email (yes, she has her own email account) for a photo. Then I got online and created an email account for the leprechaun (leprechaun_37@), found a suitable photo online, and sent it to her as an attachment from “yours truly.”

She loved it. To tell the truth, I’m not sure to what degree she really buys it. I think she is willing to suspend disbelief and join in the fun of it to some extent. But at any rate, she is playing along and very keen on having a leprechaun she can exchange emails with.

Fast forward to me telling her it’s time to get ready for mass. Her reply: “We have to go to mass on St. Patrick’s day?!” All the more so! says I. “I’m going to ask the leprechaun,” says she. So she sends the leprechaun an email: “do i have to go to mass?”

And here is the leprechaun’s repy:

Ah, H_______ my dear dear girl, what do you think? Not only do you have your marvelous Sunday obligation today, when all the faithful (among whom I assume you are counted!) are obliged to partake of the presence of Our Lord in the bread and wine — not only that (as if that weren’t more than enough miracle to draw you forth to the church my dear girl) but today is the feast day of the great great saint, Patrick of Ireland, who certainly deserves to be honored in a special way with extra prayers and oblations and songs of praise … and of course the wearing of your finest green adornments, my dear girl. Now off to holy Mass you go and no more hemming and hawing!

Your friend,
Leprechaun #37

P.S. Here is a wonderful prayer of St. Patrick I hope you will share with your family on this splendid feast day. Will you invite your mother and father and sister to pray this prayer with you today? This would surely make St. Patrick smile down on you from heaven and the sun shine a bit brighter this day.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.
I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.
I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.
I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Please advise, ye fellow bad Catholics.

“Rebuild my Church.”

The early comments I read about Pope Francis’ choice of name spoke to his compassion for the poor. But this command from Christ might be another reason.

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Or, it could just be that he’s a Jesuit, and he’s thinking of Francis Xavier.

Up from comments: anticipating the Pope’s words…

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Because that’s what we do here at Korrektiv.

Yesterday, in response to Mr. Lickona’s post, there was a comment quoting at length from the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Pope Gregory VII. In that entry, the following account of the Church’s decadence is included: The tenth century, the saddest, perhaps, in Christian annals, is characterized by the vivid remark of Baronius that Christ was as if asleep in the vessel of the Church.

Now, lo and behold, today the Pope picks up on what obviously became an outrageously viral meme started right here at Korrektiv:

Christopher Howell

He rose up from a farm near Portland
And ranged a Lutheran college north;
Seattle beaconed down, and heartland
Unmindfulness propelled him forth
Beyond a war of naval typists,
Their visions rival solipsists
Undoing; lately in the man
Arriving here to make Spokane
The house of his body, snowing lightly,
A lucky crime, the crime of luck,
But mercy holds his hand; he’s stuck
For now but angels come fortnightly
To sing him over heaven’s bridge
From jagged ridge to jagged ridge.

Year in Review

Dear friends the Earth is spinning wildly
While stars collide and comets zing.
The universe, to put it mildly,
Is fucking strange and has a sting.
The beast of Bethlehem is breathing
In our breath, and time is seething
To feel its swirling down the drain,
Derailing like a wayward train.
O Death, your lipstick and mascara
And holiday cards at Christmas time
Can’t hide from us your latest crime—
We see your camera obscura.
O Death, dear friends, let us recall
The painful light that woke us all.

Valete!

Dear Korrektiv: I’m grateful you took
Me onboard. Soft! — One last, longing look….
If I have a successor,
God bless him or bless her!
(Now I’m just one more everyday schnook.)

31 Short Essays about Praying the Rosary

Whether you pray the Rosary frequently, occasionally, seldom, or never, I cannot recommend this link highly enough.

Whether you find the Rosary powerful, soothing, meritless, or counterproductive, I cannot recommend this link highly enough.

With 31 short pieces — one for each day of October, the Month of the Rosary — you’re almost certain to find something practical — or at least, interesting. Some present venerable traditions; others are inventions or observations by the author. Many of them are suggestions about how to think through the Mysteries in greater depth — imagining what a specific person involved in the mystery would have experienced, say; or comparing two or more mysteries (e.g., Christ’s crowning with thorns and Mary’s crowning as Queen of Heaven and Earth); or seeing how a given mystery exemplifies a given virtue.