Monthly Archives: March 2018
Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,
exult, let Angel ministers of God exult,
let the trumpet of salvation
sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph!
Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her,
ablaze with light from her eternal King,
let all corners of the earth be glad,
knowing an end to gloom and darkness.
Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice,
arrayed with the lightning of his glory,
let this holy building shake with joy,
filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.
(Therefore, dearest friends,
standing in the awesome glory of this holy light,
invoke with me, I ask you,
the mercy of God almighty,
that he, who has been pleased to number me,
though unworthy, among the Levites,
may pour into me his light unshadowed,
that I may sing this candle’s perfect praises.)
(V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit.)
V. Lift up your hearts.
R. We lift them up to the Lord.
V. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
R. It is right and just.
It is truly right and just, with ardent love of mind and heart
and with devoted service of our voice,
to acclaim our God invisible, the almighty Father,
and Jesus Christ, our Lord, his Son, his Only Begotten.
Who for our sake paid Adam’s debt to the eternal Father,
and, pouring out his own dear Blood,
wiped clean the record of our ancient sinfulness.
These, then, are the feasts of Passover,
in which is slain the Lamb, the one true Lamb,
whose Blood anoints the doorposts of believers.
This is the night,
when once you led our forebears, Israel’s children,
from slavery in Egypt
and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea.
This is the night
that with a pillar of fire
banished the darkness of sin.
This is the night
that even now, throughout the world,
sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices
and from the gloom of sin,
leading them to grace
and joining them to his holy ones.
This is the night,
when Christ broke the prison-bars of death
and rose victorious from the underworld.
Our birth would have been no gain,
had we not been redeemed.
O wonder of your humble care for us!
O love, O charity beyond all telling,
to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!
O truly necessary sin of Adam,
destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!
O happy fault
that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!
O truly blessed night,
worthy alone to know the time and hour
when Christ rose from the underworld!
This is the night
of which it is written:
The night shall be as bright as day,
dazzling is the night for me,
and full of gladness.
The sanctifying power of this night
dispels wickedness, washes faults away,
restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners,
drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.
On this, your night of grace, O holy Father,
accept this candle, a solemn offering,
the work of bees and of your servants’ hands,
an evening sacrifice of praise,
this gift from your most holy Church.
But now we know the praises of this pillar,
which glowing fire ignites for God’s honor,
a fire into many flames divided,
yet never dimmed by sharing of its light,
for it is fed by melting wax,
drawn out by mother bees
to build a torch so precious.
O truly blessed night,
when things of heaven are wed to those of earth,
and divine to the human.
Therefore, O Lord,
we pray you that this candle,
hallowed to the honor of your name,
may persevere undimmed,
to overcome the darkness of this night.
Receive it as a pleasing fragrance,
and let it mingle with the lights of heaven.
May this flame be found still burning
by the Morning Star:
the one Morning Star who never sets,
Christ your Son,
who, coming back from death’s domain,
has shed his peaceful light on humanity,
and lives and reigns for ever and ever.
O God, who anointed your Only Begotten Son with the Holy Spirit
and made him Christ and Lord,
that, being made sharers in his consecration,
we may bear witness to your Redemption in the world.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
The Readings: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14; Psalm 116: 12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-15
You gave us an example to imitate.
Holy Thursday is one of the truly marvelous days in our faith community.
We celebrate the gift of the love of Jesus,
given to us for our nourishment –
given to us as an example of self-less love.
In our prayer today, we let our Lord wash our feet – love us unconditionally –
and we let Jesus be broken and given for us.
We pray that we might be faithful to the one commandment of Jesus –
that we might love others in the same way that we have been loved.
Where charity and love are found,
there is God.
Holy Thursday Antiphon.
Today’s Daily Reflection
The Father anointed Christ with the Holy Spirit
to proclaim forgiveness to those in bondage.
Let us humbly call upon the eternal priest:
Lord, have mercy on us.
You went up to Jerusalem to suffer and so enter into your glory,
– bring your Church to the Passover feast of heaven.
You were lifted high on the cross and pierced by the soldier’s lance,
– heal our wounds.
You made the cross the tree of life,
– give its fruit to those reborn in baptism.
On the cross you forgave the repentant thief,
– forgive us our sins.
you gather me in this upper room with your son,
to be fed by your love.
At that supper, Jesus told us to “love one another”
and I know that is the heart of his gift,
his sacrifice for me.
I ask that I might find the source of my own heart,
the meaning for my own life,
in that Eucharist.
Guide me to the fullness of your love and life.
Courtesy of here.
Today is the last day of Lent. The next three days–Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday–are referred to in Catholicism as the Sacred Triduum (“Triduum” means “Three Days”) and are technically not part of Lent properly so-called. It is said to be Wednesday on which Judas agree to betray Christ for thirty pieces of silver (about a month’s wages at that time). The betrayal itself took place the next day, after the Last Supper; but since Judas made the actual decision on Wednesday, it anciently became a custom in Christianity to fast on Wednesdays. This has more or less fallen out of practice in Catholicism, but is still observed in the Orthodox Church. Protestants schedule many church activities for Wednesdays, but whether this is a holdover from the ancient custom or not, I don’t know.
Anyway, the following, from here, is a prayer for today, the Wednesday of Holy Week:
The special prayer either before or after the Wednesday evening meal is a selection from Psalm 21:23-32, in which we see through the eyes of David the picture of Christ suffering for us on the Cross.
I will proclaim your name to my brethren: in the midst of the assembly I will praise you; “You who fear the Lord, praise him; all you descendants of Jacob, give glory to him; revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not spurned nor disdained the wretched man in his misery Nor did he turn his face away from him, but when he cried out to him, he heard him.” So by your gift will I utter praise in the vast assembly; I will fulfill my vows before those who fear him. The lowly shall eat their fill; they who seek the Lord shall praise him: “May your hearts be ever merry!” All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; All the families of the nations shall bow down before him. For dominion is the Lord’s and he rules the nations. To him alone shall bow down all who sleep in the earth; Before him shall bend all who go down into the dust. And to him my soul shall live; my descendants shall serve him. Let the coming generation be told of the Lord that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born the justice he has shown.
This index is not actually for religious-oriented stuff, at least not specifically. I have an ongoing series, Your Own Personal Canon, in which I look at various books, both religious and secular, that have been a big influence in my life. In a related vein, here I want to look at individuals–men and women–who have been influential to me, or who are personal heroes, or whom I hold in great respect. I debated what title to give this series. I thought about something to do with saints; but there will be non-religiously oriented individuals here, and certainly many who are not “official” saints. I thought about “Hall of Fame”, but that sounds crass. Finally, I thought of the shrine tables of many cultures on which the images not only of saints, bodhisattvas, deities, and such are placed, but also the images of illustrious ancestors and culture heroes. Such tables are most accurately described as “shrines”, but they’re often referred to in contemporary discourse as “altars”. That’s not really correct, since an altar implies a sacrifice; but I decided just to go with it. Thus, here I will give links to articles on the various worthies about whom I will write in future posts.
Here we go again…. 😉 As with the Most Evil Song of all time, it’s not about musicianship, or whether the song is a “good” pop song or not, or what your feelings about Justin Timberlake may be. It’s not even about the conscious intentions of the songwriter(s). It’s about the message contained within the song. Let’s jump right in. Here are the full lyrics (which can be found lots of other places, too); and I’ve quoted the part I want to look at below, my emphasis, as usual:
‘Cause I don’t wanna lose you now
I’m looking right at the other half of me
The vacancy that sat in my heart
Is a space that now you hold
Show me how to fight for now
And I’ll tell you, baby, it was easy
Coming back into you once I figured it out
You were right here all along
It’s like you’re my mirror
My mirror staring back at me
I couldn’t get any bigger
With anyone else beside of me
And now it’s clear as this promise
That we’re making two reflections into one
‘Cause it’s like you’re my mirror
My mirror staring back at me, staring back at me
Superficially, this is better than Savage Garden’s “I Knew I Loved You”, which implies that the lover is brought into very existence merely at the whim and pleasure of the narrator. Here, the beloved has a separate existence, at least. The first line of the song, not in the block above, says, “Aren’t you somethin’ to admire/’Cause your shine is somethin’ like a mirror” which at least acknowledges the lover as a “Thou“, a real Other, and compliments her. However, in the very next line, the narrator says, “And I can’t help but notice/You reflect in this heart of mine.” Well, it was good while it lasted.
About three years ago I read an SF (science fiction) novel in which one of the protagonists suspects that the other is either an alien or a robot (or perhaps a bit of both, and thus in effect a cyborg, though that term was never used). I enjoyed the novel, actually, but I noticed a trope that I’ve encountered before in SF. The first tip-off about the possibly non-human nature of the second protagonist is when she is observed not breathing. In a sequel novel, it is made explicit that the second protagonist is indeed a technologically-augmented alien (and thus, as noted, a cyborg) and that she does not need to breathe, eat, or sleep, although she chooses to do all three in order to blend in to human society, and also because she’s developed a liking for those actions. Additionally, I should point out, she doesn’t need to go the bathroom, either. Yes, the second novel went there…. I still liked it, though, which may say something about me.
Robots (and their variant, androids) don’t need to breathe, eat, or sleep, either, though some can eat. It is made explicit in Star Trek: The Next Generation that Data, the resident android, is capable of eating and drinking, though he doesn’t need to. In fact, one humorous vignette in the first TNG movie, Generations, is this:
In the process of testing out his emotion chip, Data drinks the liquor that Guinan offers him. He hates it, and orders another–but the point is that he is indeed capable of drinking it in the first place.
Another thing about robots is that they are immortal and seem never to need repair or recharging. In the TNG two-part episode “Time’s Arrow”, the crew find Data’s head in an archeological dig in a cave in San Francisco. It has apparently been there since the 19th Century–thus nearly half a millennium. Later in the show, Data’s head is blown off, and his body is recovered. His “future” head is reattached, and it works perfectly, while his “past” head is left in San Francisco, to be found in the 24th Century.
Similarly, in the Stephen Spielberg movie A. I. Artificial Intelligence, the boy android David spends two thousand years underwater, awaiting the granting of his wish by the Blue Fairy (you’ll have to see the movie if you want an explanation of the plot point!), until the future Mecha (sapient robots that have replaced the now-extinct human race) rescue him and restore him to the surface. He is after two millennia fully functional. In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, Marvin the Paranoid Android is functional after 576,000,003,579 years (he counted!) in the radio series, and “thirty-seven times older than the Universe itself” in So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, though there it is noted that he has had ongoing repairs.
So what am I getting at with all this? Read on!
I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of “Admin.” The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid “dens of crime” that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business concern.
–C. S. Lewis, from the Preface to the Paperback Edition of The Screwtape Letters