What? Friday is really just a terribly inconvenient day for me to blog, and I never remember to pre-write one so I can just hit "post" come Friday...
~1~An Atlanta legend of sorts named Brother Sean passed away on Monday. He might've even been a saint, who knows?
Once a successful lawyer, Sean decided one year that he wanted to celebrate his birthday by giving pizza to the homeless people who lived around his favorite pizzeria. Long story short, he ended up literally selling all his possessions to live with the poor (he was barely better off than the homeless). He became known as "Brother" Sean not because he joined an order but because he performed works of mercy, and the homeless can be quick with nicknames. He spent all his money feeding the poor, and spent all his time just being with them. People would give him money to care for himself, and he would spend it on Atlanta's poor. He would often take groups (usually church or school-related) around to feed the homeless, always including that most uncomfortable--and most important--linchpin of spending time with the homeless, of just talking with them.
The poor have human dignity, too, which is often forgotten, especially by those who can't or won't give money to panhandlers. Just saying hello, smiling, chatting, or promising a prayer is often at least as helpful as money or food. Encountering Brother Sean turned the location of my apartment from convenient enough, even if there are beggars nearby, to a blessedly constant opportunity buy food for our wonderful homeless people and sometimes chat with them a bit. Seeing them now genuinely bring joy to my heart, and for this I have Brother Sean to thank. Requiescat in pace.
~2~So I was commissioned to write a piece about how Sacrosanctum Concilium impacted my life, for the 2014 edition of this fairly useful-looking product. Took me a while to pull my thoughts together, but ended up writing about how I grew up with what I termed "ethnic envy," that is, feeling boring because I was white and thus didn't have a cool cultural history like most of my friends did... until I discovered in college that Catholicism is a culture, and I'm perfectly entitled to it. This changed rather a lot, in my experience of the world. (I'm rather pleased with the piece, and am somewhat impatient for it to come out!)
On a theoretically unrelated note, I've been reading the Torah lately... It's turned out not to be unrelated it all. Just as the centuries of Catholicism are my culture, so too are the Hebrews' years of wandering in the desert! I could have sworn I'd read these books before, but now I'm suddenly understanding minutiae that never struck me before - the arrangement of the twelve tribes, the year of jubilees, the practical usefulness of a lot of the strange-sounding laws, including those of ritual purity. All of this, too, is my heritage, and it's exciting and fascinating. I always knew I loved our Jewish roots, but wow! :D
~3~New favorite saint alert! St St Stanisław Szczepanowski, or (if you're less comfortable in Polish) Stanislaus of Cracow, or Stanislaus the Martyr. As bishop of Kraków (one of the first Polish-born bishops in Poland), he excommunicated the king for brutalizing his subjects, so the king ordered him killed. The soldiers were hesitant in the face of Stan's holiness, so the king slew the bishop himself - while he was celebrating Mass.
~4~At my new freelance client's office, the guy who sits at a desk across the room heard the following twice this week:
That's right: The glorious combination of sounds that means I successfully killed that bug (in this case, gnats) on the first try. I'd be lying if I said I weren't proud of myself. :D
~5~So, Year of Faith, whoo! Totally didn't even realize until about last week that it was in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Vatican II (oops). I've been thinking I ought to, like, care about this whole year of faith thing, but really lacking the motivation to do so. Then a friend booked me to give a talk to a group at her parish about the Year of Faith. Enter: Excellent motivation. Whoo hoo!
~6~Another vaguely work-related take. For one of my clients, the proofreading projects frequently require me to look up one-verse Scripture passages. It makes me very grateful for that song I learned as a child about books of the Bible, and for the shoutouts I added to include the Deutero-Canonical books (it was on some cassette about bees, for the two of you who are wondering)...
Well. Every time a passage is cited from either letter to the Thessalonians (or sometimes just when I flip past Thessalonians), I pull a Larry the Cucumber. I can't help it. Just wanted to confess that publicly on the internet.
Either skip to 48 seconds, or click this link. I can link to the middle of the video, but I don't have the skillz to embed from the middle of a video. Sorry for its poor quality, but really, the audio is all you need there. Yeah.
~7~If you had asked me 7yrs ago, when I was singing them at least weekly, whether I'd ever forget the words to such Ann Arbor classics as the Te Deum and Born Into a Battle, I'd've laughed. My memory for all the verses of a hymn is definitely above average... and yet, after having tried to sing these and others in my car last night, I actually had to look up their lyrics. Wow.