25 Oct

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.

18 Oct

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."

11 Oct

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.

04 Oct

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.