Monthly Archives: November 2004

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Ways God Is Present at Mass

Another boring theological post which allows Maureen to go all mystical. Disclaimer: Maureen is not a theologian, nor does she play one on the Net. She plays a banshee.

1. The normal way. God is around always and everywhere, within us and within everything, inside the universe and outside it in eternity. Omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent. (Choosing one is for amateurs, not for God.)

2. The “Whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name” way, the Holy Spirit is keeping the Church company.

3. The ‘we are Christ’s Body parts’ way. Which of course means that God is keeping God company, but love and company is sort of the point of being a Trinity.

4. The Word of God way. Jesus is the Word of God, the Bible is the Word of God, and so…Jesus is incarnate, in a way, in the Bible. This is something that Eastern Orthodoxy is very concerned with; this is also why a Catholic priest kisses the lectionary of Bible readings.

The Eastern Orthodox also regard all illustrations of Bible scenes and personages, or of those who followed God’s word, as part of the Word of God; that’s why icons are said to be “written”, and were written using the same sorts of methods one used to predispose oneself for Bible copying. Thanks to the Iconoclasts, the Orthodox love their statues and paintings far more than Catholics do. Not to have statues and paintings is to deprive oneself of a sort of physical, material incarnation of the Word; not to have material depictions intrinsically denigrates Jesus’ coming to Earth in both matter and spirit.

5. The tradition way. Jesus did far more than he ever said, and said far more than what is in the Bible. Jesus formed the culture of the Church just as God the Father formed the culture of the Jews. Many of the doctrines of the Church are not stated word-for-word anywhere in the Bible; they had to be deduced with God-given reason,
inspired and revealed by God, given to His Church through His Church. So God speaks to us through tradition, and the voice of the people really is the voice of God.

6. The priestly way. Jesus is our High Priest, and priests only perform the sacraments as instruments of God. They have no powers of their own; God works through them. The gifts God gives them are given for others, not for themselves. That’s a pretty humbling office.

7. The Real Presence way. We recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread and the blessing cup: no longer bread and wine, but the true flesh and blood of Jesus — His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

(I like that old phrase so much. I wish it’d been in our religion books when I was growing up.)

So basically, God is all over the place at Mass — practically bouncing off Himself. When you add in all the symbols that are supposed to remind you of various aspects of God, you can see why the mystics could be dizzied by the Mass’ holiness and God’s nearness.

Sometimes, when I’m worrying about cantoring or thinking about the problems with the liturgy, I too often forget that church is not about us. It’s for us, yes, but it’s about God. It’s God’s house, not ours. It’s God’s show; we’re there to worship Him. We benefit from it, yes, but that’s a kindness of God’s.

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While I Was Out….

I’ve missed posting about Election Day, Veteran’s Day, and the feastday of my parish’s patron, St. Albert the Great. (Who was, of course, a Super Genius. Professor X, Reed Richards, and Lex Luthor, eat your heart out.) I have also not posted about The Incredibles, which is truly a wonderful movie, or Piro’s recent completion of Chapter 5 over at Megatokyo. And I’m probably not going to post anything about my little brother’s birthday.

I apologize. I’ve been working on my Lukyanenko translation, gaming, and…um…spending way too much time surfing the Web. And to be honest, nearly everything I’ve wanted to say has been said by somebody else. Twice.

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SF Writer Doing Her Civic Duty

SF writer and Kenyon biology professor Joan A. Slonczewski was part of that election mess in Gambier. She was working as an observer.

“On a local level the supervisors here today did an excellent job of managing the voting process. Prior planning on the part of the Board of Elections was appalling. They knew how many voters we had registered and there was no contingency plan. The planning was very poor � 1,300 voters, two machines, 20 voters an hour; you do the math. It just doesn�t work,” said Slonczewski.

Rest up, ma’am! Your country thanks you…especially the parts that didn’t have to stand around for hours and hours….

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I Like Ik(ons)!

Like millions of other Americans, it seems that Laura and W. have made a decoration of orthodoxy. Check out this election night-footage screencap of the official residence….

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Russian Filk Update

It seems that the Russian filkers have been quite busy while I had my back turned. A very good guide to this is Kilor’s Catalog and its many useful links to Russian filk mp3s (look under Fantasy Music/Minstrels on the Net (Menestreli v Ceti)). Kilor does include some folks who seem to be more “bard” (the Russian term for folk singer/songwriters) than “minstrel”, but almost everybody he links to either writes some fantasy-oriented music or does Renfair, Celtic or folk. This is a mix not unlike what most filkers here listen to.

The biggest news is that Russian fans are following up the (extensively filked) musical The Star and Death of Finrod) and the filk operas Temple (about the unjust execution of the Knights-Templar) and Jeanne D’Arc (this unjust French execution thing again!) and Finrod-Zong (a serious version of the same story of Finrod’s death) with The Testing of the Twins (Ispitanie Baiznetsov).

Yes, a serious Dragonlance musical. You can download songs from the musical on the musical’s homepage, on Solo Records‘ page with samples from three of the musicals, and from Saruman Records’ MP3 page. The lyrics of “Raistlin’s Aria” are also available from the last.

I must admit I’m rather impressed by Saruman Records. They’ve produced some very nice recordings, to judge from their mp3 page. I’m particularly fond of Saruman’s version of a Ladyhawke song by Rust. This appears on the album A Elbereth Gilthoniel, available from Solo Records.

The Rolesong Archive includes a good number of recordings of miscellaneous Russian filkers. The first song, “He goes for a walk in the field of dialectics”, appears to be a demonstration that Russian filkers can simulate offkey singing with as much humorous effect as Anglosphere ones, especially if they are fairly drunk at the time. It also makes available not only mp3s of The Star and Death of Finrod, but its text with chords in songbook form. Other “songbooks” are available for download from Rolesong as well.

Another archive of mp3s can be found at shorohov.narod.ru. It includes Maria Semyonova’s “Wolfhound” song cycle.

I’m sure many of my readers are aware that Russians like anime, if only because of the Cyrillic search results you get for certain series. But there does seem to be something both deeply inevitable and deeply wrong about this Russian anime fan rock band, Suki Da! You can download their songs here, here, and here, including two versions of their song about Sailor Moon. Their lyrics are available here and here.

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