Saturday, November 22, 2014
Why doesn't everyone see from earliest childhood the passes, portals and crevices down in the earth and up in the sky? If everyone saw them history would continue without killing and war.
--from the film Wings of Desire, dir. Wim Wenders
Aren't these great? Here's how you do it. Set your camera to Sunset Mode, creep out at dusk, frame a shot, and then shoot it WHILE WALKING.
Of course it helps to move to Southern California first, where we are blessed with strange and mysterious happenings, landscape and light.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
I don't pay much attention to what's going on in the Vatican but I'm a huge Pope Francis fan. And I did note with approval when a couple of months ago he made the mild and eminently common-sense observation that if we are calling folks of same-sex attraction (along with all us single Catholics), out of ardent love for Christ) to celibacy, we will of course want to embrace them with open arms, invite all to the table, and recognize generosity, creativity, and nobility of spirit wherEVER it appears in the human heart!
Well that is beautiful I thought. Then, by chance, I glanced at my FB newsfeed one night and saw the appalling reaction of several folks who you would have thought had just been ordered to round up their first-borns and slay them.
How OLD are you? I thought. And when was the last time you left your gated compound?
Anyway soon afterward I somehow got wind of the fact that next October the Church is going to hold a synod on the family in Rome. I was in Rome once: probably forty years ago, when I was still drinking.
And suddenly the thought arose: Maybe it's time to go again
Just sort of mosey on over, wander (but with a purpose) about to churches, mingle, eat, fast, pray. Pray for the Church, our Mother, and all of us in it, and all people everywhere. Our hearts, our wounds, Pray for the reconciliation of the wound between men and women that I am ever more convinced is at the heart of all poverty, all war, the degradation of the earth's resources
That includes of course my own wound.
I am perfectly capable of and willing to go the airbnb route, or just rent a little room somewhere. I am always happiest and most comfortable creeping about incognito and alone.
But then I thought well maybe I could participate a bit in some way not of my own choosing. For that is one very sure way to get out of my own "gated community"--and we are always but always called to leave our gated communities.
I'm also continually astonished at the "magic" of my blog. Folks emerge from the woodwork to say they've been following it for years.
So I'm going to throw it out there, just on the off chance anyone knows of or has a suggestion of a spot--a room in some tucked-way convent, a horse stall--I might make headquarters for a week. Wifi, a coffee machine, and within walking distance of St Paul's Church on the Via Napoli and/or St. Andrew's, Via XX Settembre 7 and I'd be good to go.
Totally able and willing to pay the going rate or make a donation.
Probably easiest to email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
|DOWNTOWN L.A. CATHEDRAL OF OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS|
7 A.M. MASS
Monday, November 17, 2014
All week, I've been drinking in the big skies and long views of northern Missouri.
A mile or so from Conception Abbey, at the end of a trail that winds through fields and vale, lies the Mary Grotto: dedicated to a seminarian who died here several years ago. One of the dear young men here SHOUT-OUT TO CHAD walked me out early in the week.
Another day I went out at dusk, just before Evening Prayer, and walked the perimeter of the pond. The clouds, while benevolent, seemed a force of nature: bearing down, enveloping, incorporating,shifting, incarnating.
The next afternoon it snowed, the first fall of the season..
I didn't have the right foot gear, but I bundled up and tramped off anyway, noticing the way the trees, and grasses, and native plants receive and provide a nest for the snow.
Me and the birds--back to the grotto.
And now, after Monday Night Compline, I prepare to head home tomorrow.
Sunday night at the Clyde Apple House rocked.
Thank you, one and all truly beautiful seminarians for the deep, rich time I had here.
May the all powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful death.
Let's all keep one another in prayer.
And if the spirit ever moves, come on out to Los Angeles!
Sunday, November 16, 2014
|I BET I COULD BEAT HIM AT ARM WRESTLING, EASY|
"When you drive into downtown L.A.’s Skid Row, you feel suddenly and violently cut adrift from all the markers that signal civilization.
I learned of Senior Lead Office Deon Joseph through an article he wrote last August for Downtown News. He sounded human. He responded quickly to my request to talk. I’d come down to the station, we agreed. Always nicer in person.
Joseph is 41, with the stocky build and huge arms of a guy who likes to keep order.
“I was raised in a rough part of Long Beach. My father grew up in the Jim Crow South. He saw his great-grandfather murdered by a 16-year-old who wanted my great-grandfather to walk in the street because he was walking on the sidewalk,” Joseph said.
“He and my mother loved children. They raised four, adopted three, and took in 41 foster children: crack babies, sexual abuse, homeless. My father hired ex-felons. My mother fed the homeless.”
He never wanted to be a cop. “Like many African-American males, I was indoctrinated to hate the police.” But then his father’s contracting business crashed after the Rodney King riots."
READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.
Friday, November 14, 2014
|SUNRISE FROM MY GUESTROOM|
I would like to report that here at Conception Abbey, in Conception, Missouri, the age of chivalry is not dead!
I can't say how touched I have been at the courtly manners of the young men who have called me Miss King (Madame! I want to say), patiently guided me from building to building, kindly handed me a hymnal open to the correct page, discreetly slipped me a copy of the Lord's Prayer in Spanish, fetched me a napkin, appeared at my elbow as if by magic with a laminated prayer card of the Salve Regina, walked me to the Mary grotto, forbearingly repeated the schedule for the following day, refrained from shooting me for inadvertently taking their seat in the oratory, and overlooked my many daily faux pas.
Even better, many of the seminarians have shared some of their stories, struggles, and holy longing.
It can't be easy to welcome a stranger into their midst and they have done so graciously, tactfully and with a wth a kind of wholesome mid-Western heart that has warmed my own.
Meanwhile it is freezing, penetratingly, cold outside so much of my photo-taking has been accomplished from indoors. My room faces east making for spectacular mornings, always my favorite time of day.
I'm sure something deep is happening here. As usual, I have no idea what it might be. Not that something deep has to happen, but the older I get, the more I feel that every second, the world, and all us frail human beings in it, is dying and being being made new.
And I feel sure the solid presence of these possible priests-in-training is fortifying and guiding me in some way I can't know. Just hearing their voices raised together in song is steadying and a gift.
“Hear my prayer, O Lord,
And give ear to my cry;
Do not be silent at my tears;
For I am a stranger with You,
A sojourner, as all my fathers were
Remove Your gaze from me, that I may regain strength,
Before I go away and am no more.”
|SUNSET FROM THE ORATORY|
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Twenty-five years [after photographer Minor White made his "pilgrimage" to see Alfred Stieglitz], White could recall only in the most general terms what took place in those meetings--they looked at prints, they talked about what was happening in photography and modern art--but one of his journals reveals what made the deepest impression on him. Stieglitz asked him, "Have you been in love?" And when White answered that yes, he had, Stieglitz said, "Then you can photograph."
--From Aperture, No. 80, "Minor White: Rites and Passages. His Photographs Accompanied by Excerpts from His Diaries and Letters, Biographical Essay by James Baker Hall," p. 16
|OUTSIDE CONCEPTION ABBEY|
WITH THE TREES BARE, YOU CAN SEE MANY ABANDONED NESTS.
VERY BEAUTIFUL HERE. FREEZING COLD.
WARM HEARTS IN THE MONKS AND SEMINARIANS.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Holy mackerel, things have been moving at a steady, ALMOST but not quite frenetic, clip.
One huge event of the past weeks is that Loyola Press has bought my most recent book. You know it (or not) as STRIPPED: Cancer, Culture and the Cloud of Unknowing. Several months ago I rec'd an out-of-the-blue email from Joe Durepos and darned if the team there didn't read and like the book. And so they have bought it!
And will no doubt re-title it, do some light editing, give it a new cover, and bring it out in the not too far distant future.
Which means when I become famous and/or get canonized the original version, published by Holy Hell Books (that's me) through createspace will be a collector's item. So get 'em while they last!
all those hours spent hiring a designer, proof-reading, editing galleys, getting the thing formatted for ebook have paid off. They'd paid off already, as my goal was always simply to get the book "out there." But for those who for whatever reason have chosen to self-publish, I hope this is a little piece of encouragement. Cause once it is out there, you never know who's going to see it, and respond.
Personally I think St. Ignatius arranged the whole thing as recompense for the Lyme Disease I contracted while doing the 30-day Exercises last summer.
Thank you, Joe D. and Tom McGrath. Thank you, Loyola Press. Thank you, God.