Il Papa

Mar. 13th, 2013 03:45 pm
meirwen_1988: (table tag)
This Pope has a history of conscience, charity (in the most religious sense), commitment to the welfare of the congregations under his direct care, and of human beings in general. Many churchmen, of all denominations talk the talk, but he talks it less than he walks it, and he talks it a lot. At 76, he doesn't have a great deal of time left do make whatever changes he could in the church--had he come to the position in his 60s, time would have been more on his side. We see how the office ages our Presidents--it ages popes as well, perhaps more. One quarter of the population of the US identifies as Catholic (either practicing or "recovering"). The worldwide population is massive. And he is the shepherd.

I'm sad because I suspect he was selected BECAUSE he is older than many, and they believe any of the substantive changes he would like to make will never happen because he won't be alive to see them through. Granted, they thought the same of John XXIII (who in my family was always called "The Good Pope," and who spearheaded Vatican II), and they were wrong there. But I fear that the Jesuit who seems to live more like a Franciscan than many in that order will leave no lasting mark--and he is one who I think could save the church. Oh, I don't think he'd allow for the ordination of women, or that priests could once again marry (they used to, for the first 1100 years of the church), but I think his concern for social justice, and his reputation for compassion, could, if he is given enough time.
I am sad because I think the College of Cardinals elected him because they think he will die, but until then it will give them breathing space to prepare for the one they really want. And I fear what that could be.
meirwen_1988: (Thoughtful)
One of the pages I read had a guest post this morning that caught my eye. I frequently only skim this particular blog because it often is a bit more political and reactionary than I have the stomach for in the morning (when I usually read LJ), and often is about people I have no reference to, especially since my connection to the larger community that is the focus of the blog has attenuated to a large extent.

But while skimming this morning I saw that the guest poster is someone I knew. When I first connected to the larger Pagan community one of the first persons I met was Cat Chapin-Bishop. I met her through a mutual friend, and briefly became part of a circle where she was one of the leaders. And then we (a group of us) left that circle. There were some of the issues that she addresses in the guest post, but when all is said an done, I think we all parted ways amicably. Still, when I think back to that time the only person there I think of with unalloyed pleasure is Cat.

I find it interesting that she has embraced Quakerism. The first Quaker I ever knew was Mrs. Smith, whose husband was a Methodist minister. She, both through the example of her life and my friendships with her children, informed many of my ideas of that spiritual path. My friend Deborah, who is an observant Jew, also participates in the Quaker community. At some point I will need to do some thinking about Quakerism, and women I know who have embraced it, and the apparent non-exclusivity of spirituality it seems to allow.

I think I see a perfect 40 day window to do some hard thinking about this.
meirwen_1988: (Default)
Today is one of those days where a repeat of the infamous Butter Pecan Incident or equally infamous Italian Bread Hand Massacre seems likely. For those of my gentle readers who are not aware of the former two ... escapades, while getting butter pecan ice cream out of a container I managed to damage myself to the point where I a) passed out, b)needed stitches. The second involved slicing myself on the bread crust--not the knife, the crust. *sigh*

Today started by losing a battle with my bathrobe (clearly, it is smarter than me), and being so physically challenged that I have been forbidden to go near knives or stoves for the rest of the day. So, I'm sitting on my nice, safe (I hope) bed, watching the Bears, and getting ready to write out Christmas cards.

One lovely thing was discovered, though. The Vatican has announced that Hildegard of Bingen will be canonized, and she is being named a Doctor of the Church, which puts her in the same company as, among others, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. She is only the fourth woman so recognized, and given her revolutionary position on any number of issues, I find it heartening, not to say remarkable. So my joy today comes primarily in connection with a woman who has been dead for nearly a millenium. But it is joy.
meirwen_1988: (tea comfort)
In retrospect, starting the morning by watching the Santos election episode of The West Wing, followed by the beginning of "Requiem" from the same season, which begins with Leo's funeral Mass, may not have been the best way to start the day.

Or perhaps, it was, since I never got the Mass I needed for him. We make those sorts of contracts with the Divine--to honor the wishes of others, as we wish them honored for us. Perhaps, after all, it was the way to start the day--a piece of what I needed, if in a form as unconventional as our lives were. Perhaps there is a rightness in it.

Gray Sunday

May. 3rd, 2009 12:43 pm
meirwen_1988: (Thoughtful)
For all that the day is gray, so far so good.

Why I love my little church )

So, it's do some work, go to rehearsal for Wednesday night's District Deputy Visitation (I'm singing "A, You're Adorable"--just shoot me now), and then Duchezz and I are going out dinner to celebrate 17 years and 364 days of keeping the promise not to kill each other, no matter how tempted we sometimes are. ;-)

Then it's home to more grading, more pug snuggles, and seeing if my cat is speaking to me yet.

Be good to each other.

Brain full

Apr. 5th, 2009 08:40 pm
meirwen_1988: (embroider)
So, yesterday, after exactly 35 minutes of sleep (3 weeks of spending a lot of time working at my desk finally caught up with my spine. Not good.), I got up at 4 AM to get ready to go to NYC.

Duchezz and I got to the Thruway lot to meet the Gage-mobile, and inadvertantly played "Fool the Earl" by bringing a car other than the one he was expecting. But soon Her Excellency and Her Ladyship were safely ensconced in the car and we headed for Albany.

The bus was prompt, our "Cruise Director" his usual charming self, and only some of the people on the trip were annoying. We had a lovely, smooth drive down, and the bus dropped us off right in front of the Bard Graduate Center on 86th Street.

For the record, I'm not a big stumpwork* fan, and some of the more spectacular pieces in the exhibit (English Embroidery from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1580-1700:
'Twixt Art and Nature
)were definitely in that style. And, well, my tastes running as they do, the amazing embroidered woman's jacket didn't fill me with the urge to instantly pick up my needle and try to recreate one of the motifs on a bag or glove.

But, that said

OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The exhibit is closing this week, but if you love embroidery, BUY THE BOOK!!!

My mind is still trying to wrap itself around what I saw, given what I know of period tools. Between the precision of the stitches, and tightness of the ground (I didn't have a measure with me, but some of it looked like at least 100ct evenweave, because I have some 50 ct., and some of it looked to have twice as many threads per sq. in.). Brain hurt.

And then we got back on the bus, after an hour and a half (too short to really see everything, but just in time to stop some of us from attacking the upscale senior citizens with their little LED flashlights shining in on the 500 year old textiles. Grrrrrrrrr).

Then the bus took us to The Cloisters. For some, this was another trip to familiar territory. For the two girls raised in lower middle class (Duchezz) or barely above poverty level (moi) households in Central New York, this was the sort of thing we'd only read about.

Brain full. Brain very full. Full. Full. Full. Brain so full it almost hurts. Now, in part it may have been because I was at that point functioning on 36 hours with no sleep, but when we came up the stairs from the level where The Treasury is, I cried--not break down sobbing, more the silent stream of tears. As you come up around the curve of the stairs, in front of you you can see through an open arch into one of the exhibit rooms. If no one is standing in the doorway (and no one was), the only thing you can see, filling the entirety of the archway, is part of one of the Unicorn Tapestries. And I cried. They aren't even my favorite tapestries. But it was suddenly overwhelming. I'd just spent 10 minutes focusing on 9th century ivory carvings, thinking about the detail, and the tools they'd used. Thinking about the conditions under which they were created. The bread with the bits of stone in it they ate for lunch. The light they worked with. The abuse their feet took, just getting to work....

And there was a piece I've read about. Hell, I even taught about it...and there it was, less than 50 feet away.

People who live in great urban centers, who grew up with means, in school districts that took junior trips, or senior trips to places like Washington or Los Angeles, New York or Boston, Dallas or Chicago, Philadelphia or San Francisco, may not be able to understand the effect at 46 or 52 of going to somewhere like The Cloisters at that age, for the first time.

Our brains are full. We were there for nearly 4 hours, and I never even got into the gardens (nothing really up yet, and, frankly, it was too friggin' cold). I wanted to sit in the cloister and just...sit. And I wanted a telephoto lens, a high resolution camera, and someone who can actually take good pictures to whom I can say "I need a picture of that corner of that statue." "Okay, now come over here and can you get me that upper right hand corner of that triptych?" Well, you get the idea.

Brain full. And it's too damn far away. Sigh. Maybe next year Duchezz and I can go again. We certainly have friends who'd love to see us. And maybe we can time it so the gardens are in bloom. The Lenten Roses were lovely, but, really, that's hardly enough. ;-)

We made great time home (yes, Jess, you were right--we drove right through Paramus), and we got to scritch the Callie-dog when we dropped the ladies off, and were still home before 11.

I finally wound down enough to sleep by 1:30, then up at 7 for Mass. I'd forgotten how long Palm Sunday service is (I always do). Then breakfast with the Bridgewater firemen, errands, and home. The office mate loaned us Quantum of Solace, which Duchezz is paying more attention to than I (I think I'm in the wrong frame of mind). I'm for bed. And a new week.

BTW, if you are reasonably local to Concordia--it was a great trip, well-organized, really inexpensive. They're planning to do this again (probably Boston next time, and after that maybe another trip to NYC, maybe the Met downtown), and if you have the least interest, try to go. Really--you won't be sorry.

*using the term most people recognize, though not, in fact, the term used on the museum notations, which are far more precise, as they should be.
meirwen_1988: (morning person)
-Do not read the Fleur list. This was mentioned before.
-Do not read [livejournal.com profile] much_ado , especially postings about school, or comments that allude to Pelagius, my favorite church-decried theologian, while having breakfast unless one has the entire day to do research, thinking, and thoughtful responding. Makes you late for work. And you don't get any of the previous three done and it hangs over your consciousness all day like the f***ing sword of Damocles.
-Other people's lives are much worse than my own. Moira is much in my thoughts today.
-Pugs need regular, prolonged snuggles. I am not a solo multipug person. One person, one dog, that's my motto.
-Shite happens. Our secretary had a stroke in the office this morning. I really like her. It appears she's doing well now, but, holy crap, Batman!
-Life is infinitely better with a cup of tea, a piece a shortbread, and a purring kitty. So I'm on my way home to all three now.
meirwen_1988: (Thoughtful)
I don't have an answer to this question. That said, I think sometimes what matters is coming up with the question.

Cut for those not interested in questions of spirituality with a Christian spin )
meirwen_1988: (Thoughtful)
For the first time I attended an Ash Wednesday service where the injunction upon receiving ashes was not "Woman, remember thou art dust, and to dust thou willt return." No, today it was "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel."

Consistent with scripture. Consistent with Lent.

Still--different.

Sigh. I don't go to church for "different." I go for Solid. Continuity. Comfort.

Like I need more challenges.

Oh, and looks like we're "merging"--whatever the heck that means.

Not how I wanted to start my day.

Okay. Nose. Grindstone.

On it, Boss.
meirwen_1988: (bitter)
I am sitting in my final office hour of the week, with my final class of the week scheduled for 1 PM.

I have been having trouble focusing all week. I hope to get it together over the weekend, but first week of classes, then my birthday, then her birthday, then the anniversary of my mother's death (10 years), then his birthday, then Valentine's day, then the anniversary of my brother's death, followed by the anniversary of my father's death, all within 3 weeks, is a bit much to deal with.

There were a couple of times this week, one in particular, when I had to repeat what a good friend gave me as a mantra--"Not today."

Last night I looked out into the darkness from the front porch and said, out loud, "I just wish I understood why you had to go."

I realized that I have to believe there is a reason. I have to believe there is more than now--a purpose, a cycle, a plan, an arc that extends before and after us. Because if there isn't, then we are just organisms, and there really is nothing to ethics except enlightened self-interest, there is nothing to the raising of children except gratification, there is no reason to do anything that doesn't promote our own selfish survival, as comfortably as possible, as long as possible. I can't live in a world where that is the point of life--an accident of biology.

So I have to believe there is a reason he left when he left. Why he was taken, released...however you want to term it. Because if there was no reason, there is nothing.

But I have good friends; I am loved. I have work I believe in, and colleagues who I'm usually proud to know.

I have a good life. I know that.

Sometimes, though, my heart just isn't on the same page as my logic.

Yay!!

Jan. 18th, 2009 12:56 pm
meirwen_1988: (happy dance)
According to the Utica Observer Dispatch no churches in Herkimer County will be closed under the diocese's new reorganization plan.

There is a troubling "Details on the status of a ninth Herkimer County church, St. Joseph’s in West Winfield, were not available," in the story, but I think that has more to do with Fr. Healey's health. We are already linked with the Richfield Springs church, and there was talk of linking to a third, so I suspect we're safe-ish.

The most important part is that it looks like they aren't closing St. Joseph's.

I wanted to go to Mass this morning, in large part to find out what the decision was, but the snowfall overnight put that out of reach.

Still, I am optimistic.
meirwen_1988: (tired)
So, there was a reception. The singing happened. It was mostly okay. So I should be feeling better.

But I realized this morning, as I was cleaning out my purse and found the church bulletin, that I completely blanked on going to the memorial service Tuesday.

His name was on the list. There was a candle. I was supposed to light it.

I worked Tuesday. I rehearsed with Mary Ida. I went home.

I forgot to go to church that night.

Yes, it was snowing. And after dark when I really shouldn't drive. But I planned to go. I wanted to go. I needed to go. For me. For the fact that I am going there now because he nudged me, gently, persistently, to do something that was about who I was--a part of me he loved, even if he couldn't share it with me.

I blew it. I am more upset that I didn't go than I think anyone could understand. I feel devastated. Empty.
meirwen_1988: (Default)
And the response took even less time than I anticipated. Of course, the Monseigneur is now being vilified. It is the crazy making.

Response from Monseigneur Martin T. Laughlin
AP story for those less clerically inclined

In other observations, for what it's worth, my two favorite columns to read in the paper are really not ... on the same page position-wise. Sort of wondered why I got the same feeling reading each of them, though the "thinks" were so often so different.

Then I got it. I think what they both have in common is the tone implies they genuinely like human beings, and assume that a person deserves respect, dignity, and freedom from fear. They think that can be achieved in sometimes oppositional ways, but they never seem to assume that simply not thinking the same way they do is a reason to devalue a person. Given the string of columnists our paper had before Parker, that is refreshing. And Pitts? Well, he writes beautifully (Parker isn't quite as good yet, but she's getting there), and, well, he has the courage to call out liberals and African-Americans when he believes they are behaving in ways that undermine their causes, their dignity as people, or disrespect either the history of the nation or the value of opposing positions.

Oh, yes, it is before 7 on a Saturday and I am up--thank you for noticing. Actually, that's when most of my heavy mental lifting occurs. The rest of the day is just playing it out.

Have a great Saturday, y'all.
meirwen_1988: (Gibbs-smack)
I can't wait to se what the Holy See has to say about this,especially given what the church says about the primacy of individual conscience:

The Catholic Church has always held to the primacy of conscience and taught that individuals must follow their consciences even when they
are wrong. (Vatican II, On Religious Liberty (1965), §2).






meirwen_1988: (Thoughtful)
If they'd just left the Mass in Latin we wouldn't have this problem.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=93419478

For what it's worth, in my opinion this is NOT the way to get more people to walk through the doors.

Very tired

Jun. 1st, 2008 11:31 pm
meirwen_1988: (Default)
though I don't know why. Still catching up?

Well, I'm halfway through the first of the three surprise loans from the Comtesse. That particular book has been on my "to read" list for more than two years, so I thought I'd start there. Perfect in every way--exactly what I needed. Thank you, again.

Spent yesterday alone (Duchezz on OES trip to Sonnenburg Gardens [which she says have noticeably declined since she was last there] on Duke to Melee Madness). So, I watched The Bretts Vol. 1*, which I'd ordered from Netflix. Perfectly lovely. Made me a bit sour, though--I really miss my PBS and Masterpiece Theatre/Mystery! fixes. Grumble grumble.

At Mass today we got the news that Father Healy is out of his coma, sitting up, and trying to form words. This is good news.

Went with The Boy to see the fourth Indiana Jones movie. I was perfectly satisfied (not to be confused with claiming it's a good movie) and entertained.

Made roasted vegetable soup for dinner. I have been requested to "not forget how [I] did it." I'll call that a win.

Duchezz and I stayed up to watch our third summer obsession's season premier. Looks like Who's the Next Food Network Star? is going to be another edition of Who's the Next Bozo Who's Going to Get a 6 Show Contract and Then Vanish? That's okay. The show is still entertaining. And not as much with the swearing as Hell's Kitchen. Of course, there's a conflict with the show Morguhn's been looking forward to (In Plain Sight on USA), so I'll have to get the VCR warmed up and figure out whose most likely to watch his/her show on tape. If this is the biggest problem I've got to deal with, I'm thankful.

Looking back on the short week (Sunday and Monday being holidays), I came up with three FOs (2 knitting, 1 embroidery), did some cleaning and gardening, walked more than 3 miles on two different days, cooked some, read some, and tellied some. All in all, I'm happy with it.

*More on that later--strange nostalgia resulted.
meirwen_1988: (Default)
So, I see this news report that Pope Benedict is going to text a ms to the cellphone of thousands of Catholic young people on World Youth Day.

I begin to speculate aloud regarding how that message might read.

Duchezz nearly falls out of her chair in hysterics and says I must put the notice out and find out what others think the message will be.

Done.

Signed,

Ur BFF Meirwen
meirwen_1988: (Default)
Yesterday The Duke said, "So, am I taking you to church tomorrow?"
"I'm perfectly capable of taking myself to Mass--I've done it before, you know."
"Yes, I know. But I thought if I was taking you you'd be more likely to actually go."
"Well, there's that."

So, the heathen took the lapsed Catholic to Easter Mass. Stood, sat, kneeled in all the right spots. Put his own money in the collection plate. Said not a word except at the Sign of Peace.

I do so love him.
meirwen_1988: (Default)
but, well, really. Just look at the subtitle. In one volume?

And do we read it from back to front?

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=19269725
meirwen_1988: (Default)
12th Night )

Just saw a disturbing (on many levels) commercial: the new Honda Odyssey commercial. Visually appealing, somewhat blasphemous,* with "Barracuda" by Heart for the music. I don't know whether to smile or write an irrate letter. Hrmph.

*for those who honor the old gods, not for people who honor the god of Abraham.

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