Tassel of the Cloak

Tassel of the CloakGod is in everything, be it sports or music or history or business or wine-making or church or whatever. Everywhere we look there is a spiritual metaphor to be found. Some metaphors may be hidden, some overt. I will attempt to point them out to you. That is the purpose of these laconic reflections. They are mostly intended to be fun and interesting. Perhaps, though, the reflections will provide you some guidance. Perhaps they will lead you to see everything through a spiritual lens, thus appreciating Catholicism all the more. When Jay Cutler throws a Hail Mary at the end of the half, might you move beyond your frustration with the Bears' offensive ineptitude and think of the Blessed Mother? Just an example.

These reflections will only be an introduction to deeper spiritual and theological truths. Hence the title, The Tassel of the Cloak. When David cuts off the tassel of Saul's cloak and shows it to him (cf. 1 Sam 24), Saul realizes that David is not his enemy. That moves them into a new relationship. Likewise, the hemorrhaging woman's grasping of the tassel on Christ's cloak in Luke 8:44 opens the door to her healing and conversion. The tassel was merely an entryway. The mundane anecdotes and simple spiritual lessons I provide are, in my opinion, the tassel. There's much more to Christ's Cloak. I hope you will experience it. So, please, go ahead and "Touch the Hem of His Garment." That is, by the way, the title of a Sam Cooke song.

Catholicism Transcends All Divides

Lieutenant Joseph Dutton of the Union Army crawled out into the night during a Civil War battle and dragged a wounded soldier back to camp.  When the light was shone upon the rescuee, a comrade remarked, "The joke's on you, Dutton, this man is a rebel." Dutton did not flinch, but simply responded, "that I knew."

When the War ended, the talented Dutton ventured into a variety of careers, but none would satisfy his restlessness.  He converted to Catholicism and after spending some time in prayer at Gethsemani Monastery in Kentucky, where Thomas Merton would enter sixty years later, Dutton discovered his calling.  At 43, he traveled to San Francisco and from there set sail.

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Spiritual Desolation

"Magnificent Desolation."  Those were the first words spoken by the second man on the moon as he stood on the new terrain.  And more striking than the first man's words they are. True progress for mankind is ultimately in the spiritual and moral realm, and sometimes we advance through desolation and darkness.

Desolation, or desolatio, has the Latin word for sun, solis, in its root.  The sun is darkened or declined in this style of prayer. We do not feel the warmth of God.  Prayer is, instead, flat, dry, and difficult.

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The Virgin of Macarena

I was reading recently through my old political science notes from college and came across this quote by the comedian Jon Stewart about public opinion. “You have to remember one thing about the will of the people," he wrote, "it wasn't that long ago that we were swept away by the Macarena.”

Macarena, of course, was the 1993 song by the Spanish group Los del Rios that remained on Billboard's top spot for fourteen weeks and the top 100 chart for sixty weeks.  It was named "the most successful song of 1996," achieved number 7 on Billboard's All Time Top 100, and was called by VH1 "the number 1 Greatest One-Hit Wonder of All Time."

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Free of Worldly Possessions

I was horrified when we watched a YouTube video during the pandemic on how to make a facemask.  The individual cut and destroyed a tee-shirt.  Other than books, my one material attachment is to tee-shirts.  Chicago Blackhawks championship shirts, a Saint Juliana Men's Club Golf Outing shirt, a Mark Grace Chicago Cubs shirt (he's the real 17), a Grateful Dead tie-dyed shirt, an Archdiocese of Chicago shirt, and so on.  I don't collect knickknacks and I really don't take pictures. The tee-shirt under my Roman Collar that I wear every day is the one way to "express myself," so the prospect of destroying one is abhorrent to me.  Cutting up an old pillow-case would have been more sensitive.

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Remakes of the Soul

Red Red Wine by UB40 came on Spotify recently, prompting a discussion amongst a group of us of what constitutes a good music remake.  The song, of course, was originally written by Neil Diamond.  The UB40 version is totally different and enjoyable in its own way, making it, in my opinion, a successful remake.  The Joe Cocker remake of the Beatles' classic With a Little Help from My Friends, is another example.  All Along the Watchtower, first by Bob Dylan and then Jimi Hendrix, is great as well. 

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