Saturday, April 4, 2015

April 4: Beginning of Things, God's Love Number Forty-Six, Billy Collins, "To My Favorite 17-Year-Old High School Girl," New Cartoon

The fact was that Ives, uncertain of many things, could at that time of year sit rather effortlessly within the incense- and candle-wax-scented confines of a church, like Saint Patrick's, thinking about the images, ever present and timeless, that seemed to speak especially to him.  Not about the cheery wreaths, the boughs of pine branches, the decorative ivy and flowers set out here and there, but rather about the Christ child, whose meaning evoked for him a feeling for "the beginning of things," a feeling that time and all its sufferings had fallen away.

Ives finds great solace in the sanctuary of churches.  Ives is Catholic, but, during the novel, he visits churches of many denominations and faiths.  God, whether Jesus Christ or Jehovah or Yahweh or Allah, fills him with peace and comfort.  The paragraph above describes a Christmas, but the Catholic Mass is always full of incense and candle-wax, especially at the high holy days, including Easter.

Tonight I will be in church from 9 p.m. until, probably, around midnight.  It's the Easter Vigil, the most beautiful celebration in the Catholic year.  There were be bells and chanting and reading and baptisms.  The walls will be washed with flickering candlelight.  Yes, it's long, but there is so much beauty and hope during those three hours.  For me, that's God's love number forty-six:  Easter hope.  Things are going to be alright.

My daughter will be an acolyte at the Easter Vigil Mass.  She's fourteen, so the fact that I can get her to go to church willingly (and then actually participate) is an Easter miracle.  Okay, maybe not willingly, but the pastor of the church can be very persuasive.  He's a very loveable guy,  Kind and gentle.  That's an extra example of God's love today:  my daughter loving God, in her fourteen-year-old way.

The last Billy Collins poem I have for you today could be for my daughter.  That's why I chose it.

Saint Marty is just full of love this Holy Saturday.

To My Favorite 17-Year-Old High School Girl

by: Billy Collins

Do you realize that if you had started building the Parthenon
on the day you were born,
you would be all done in only one more year?
Of course, you couldn’t have done that all alone.
So never mind; you’re fine just being yourself.
You’re loved for just being you.
But did you know that at your age
Judy Garland was pulling down 150,000 dollars a picture,
Joan of Arc was leading the French army to victory
and Blaise Pascal had cleaned up his room
— no wait, I mean he had invented the calculator?
Of course, there will be time for all that later in your life,
after you come out of your room and begin to blossom,
or at least pick up all your socks.
For some reason I keep remembering that
Lady Jane Grey was queen of England when she was only 15.
But then she was beheaded,
so never mind her as a role model.
A few centuries later, when he was your age,
Franz Schubert was doing the dishes for his family,
but that did not keep him from composing two symphonies, four operas and two complete masses as a youngster.
But of course, that was in Austria at the height of Romantic lyricism,
not here in the suburbs of Cleveland.
Frankly, who cares if Annie Oakley was a crack shot at 15
or if Maria Callas debuted as Tosca at 17?
We think you’re special just being you —
playing with your food and staring into space.
By the way, I lied about Schubert doing the dishes,
but that doesn’t mean he never helped out around the house.

Confessions of Saint Marty

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