Weekend Up-Rounding/Music at Mass Lite

1. Had the volunteers from the local Birthright over for a thank-you pancake breakfast yesterday, sponsored by the board. Made syrups from the abundant fresh fruit we have out here in California this time of year:

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Really, really tasty, IIDSSMS.

It was good. The volunteers do good work.

2. See Us, Lord, About Your Next New Car! Stop driving that old junker, dripping with accretions and ossified manualisms! Let us put you into a brand new 2014 model. Act now, and we’ll throw in the PC upgrade package for a nominal charge…

Oops, I mean, See Us, Lord, About Your Altar. Not at all the same thing! Well, maybe a little:

See us, Lord about your altar,
Though so many we are one;
Many souls by love united
In the heart of Christ, your Son.

Hear our prayers, O loving Father,
Hear in them your Son our Lord;
Hear him speak our love and worship
As we sing with one accord.

Once were seen the blood and water:
Now are seen but bread and wine;
Once in human form he suffered,
Now his form is but a sign.

And so on. I thoroughly expected this to have been written by one of our separated brethren, trying to water down the Real Presence to acceptably Protestant levels. The author was a “J Greally, SJ” – so, right again! But, unexpected, Fr. Greally evidently lived well before the 1960s, even writing “See Us, Lord, About Thine Altar” without being purposely retro or feeling forced to get old school in order to fit the metrical corner he wrote himself into.  Of course, OCP ‘corrected’ that failure to get on the right side of history.

A little Googling around turned up this discussion of this song. The tune, by Elgar, a real composer, is pretty good; the text is all kinds of confusing. It’s an evidently early example of sneaking in bad theology by means of simple incoherence, and flattening prayer from its supernatural cruciform shape – reaching up, and reaching out – into just reaching out.

But, who knows? At the very least, there are much better texts.  Too bad the nice tune is wasted here.

3. The latest home improvement project is coming along. Here are a group of teenager doing some layout on the triple decker bunk bed we’re making:

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The fair haired beauty is my daughter, the raven-haired beauty her friend, and the handsome young man who appears to be preparing to knife them is my son.

We’re at the tedious assembly and paint stage. Should have it mostly put together today (I hope – it’s hot out there…)

4. Pride parade today in SF – wall-to-wall media coverage. From the pics, which one should peruse with the St. Michael Prayer on one’s lips, the crowd looks about the same order of magnitude as the West Coast Walk for Life.  One could hardly get more press; the other is all but invisible.

Two thoughts: a child exposed to the out-of-control sexual expressions typified by the parade in any other venue would be a victim of child abuse (and, yes, one year I accidentally saw the parade in person on my way to the movies; the pictures in the press tend to be way on the milder side). Second, the divisions within the movement – why, for example, it’s now called the Pride Parade rather than the Gay Pride Parade – have within them the seeds of the movement’s destruction. They manufacture unity by trumping up and demonizing the enemy: the Catholic Church and other fuddy-duddies stuck on the wrong side of history, pretty much. On what basis do you try to mix and match such divergent groups that, really, have nothing much in common other than a need to have us all admire the beauty of their particular lust being played out for all to see?

I’ve long said that the gay rights movement is being used by the more power-hungry and less scrupulous(!) as a means to an end: those dreaming of power* have no real allegiance to gay rights, but love to use it as a stick to beat up their real enemies – those who, as a matter of principle, oppose their power grabs. Once that’s out of the way, the gay rights true believers better hope they don’t run afoul of the designs of their new masters, whose only love is power, and whose only virtues are Callicles’s.

* The Oracle: “What do all men with power want? More power.”

5. On a lighter note: Nah, can’t think of a lighter note at the moment. Gotta go out and play with the glue, sandpaper and paint. Trying to make something beautiful and useful is good for the soul.

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Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

3 thoughts on “Weekend Up-Rounding/Music at Mass Lite”

  1. Hi, Mr. Moore. Been reading for around a year, first time commenting.

    Can’t say I fully understand some of your complaints about liturgical songs like this one. Maybe it’s my age—I’m twenty-three in a week…

    As far as I have been taught about the doctrine of the Real Presence, it’s precisely the fact that the signs of bread and wine are present that gives us the assurance that the Real Presence is there. Signification and analogy are important themes in Aquinas, too. So I’m not able to see why a song like this is “bad,” theologically speaking.

    I mean, if there’s been a sort of overarching tendency in the post-Vatican II era to re-evaluate the Mass in exclusively “horizontal” rather than “vertical” terms, then I think that’s a bad thing. But surely you can’t really pin the blame for that on specific songs failing to be sufficiently “vertical” in every verse. It’s not as if the “horizontal” dimension of Christian worship is not a real part of Christianity, or that it doesn’t have its place in the Mass.

    If you’ve already explained your position on these matters somewhere in more detail, I apologize for troubling you.

  2. Hi, Mr Isaacs,

    First off, thanks for reading. Second, I did go a bit overboard on my criticisms of this particular song – the text is only a bit vague and second rate, not outrageously bad. It’s just that efforts to denigrate the Eucharist are as old (a little bit older, really) than the Eucharist. In many ways, the history of the Church is the history of Christians trying to make as clear as possible the Real Presence – and the history of heresy is the history of efforts to make the Eucharist go away entirely or, failing that, to put it in a box so that it is well-contained.

    I’ll write a post on this.

    Finally, I am flattered and honored that anyone reads what I write, especially someone as clearly thoughtful as you. No need to apologize ever here. And I will try to make clear what I’m getting on about here.

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