This morning, I filled the sugar bowl. It was amazing. I paused for a moment, reveling in the luxury of having the time to spend on such a simple thing. A month ago, I would have let it sit empty for days —- possibly weeks. I would have chugged my morning coffee with a little extra creamer, telling myself, “I’ll get to it later, when I have enough time,” knowing full well that I would never have enough time.
We often say, “I love Jesus.” But how often do you hear, how often do you say, “I like Jesus”?
I remember a number of years ago, I was working in a storage warehouse at the university I was teaching at with one of my work study students. We were going through boxes trying to find something when a storm came through. We didn't even know there was a storm because there weren't any windows — we were completely dependent on lightbulbs for light. And then those lights went out. And it was dark. It was really dark.
Tuesday was the day that got designated for me to bring in the car, which was damaged September 7 by a deer that wanted to cosplay a hood ornament. It took 10 weeks because it seems as though many people have settled upon leisurely lives following the pandemic, and because our system is currently arranged so that we have a surfeit of experts in vague areas ending in “-studies” and a shortage of people who can actually do things.
Sweat dripped into his eyes. He felt his breathing quicken as the enemy forces crested the ridge to the south, moving inexorably toward him. The sword in his hand felt ponderous. He gripped it so tightly his knuckles went numb, as he willed himself to focus on the thrill of battle over the heaviness of fear. Could he wield his weapon, when the time came? Would it be enough? Would his training be enough?
We forget this all the time. Perhaps as we get older, we’re a little less oblivious and proud about it, but I don’t think we truly understand the fragility of our existence. Most people who start off essays like this have some sort of axe to grind; I don’t, at least not about this, but I was reminded by something I read.
There are special days and months that we celebrate in the secular society. Holidays for the birthdays of presidents, recognition of ethnic minorities, and days set aside to raise awareness for rare diseases and conditions. Most of this passes without notice, and much of it is unobjectionable. But I have noticed that some of it is, and that it forms a competing liturgy with the Christian one.
Last Friday Pope Francis effectively banned celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, a kind of worship that is unsurpassed in its solemnity and, at its best, in its splendor. In so doing, he flung down and danced upon one of the signal accomplishments of his predecessor, Benedict XVI, and told millions of devout and pious Catholics around the world that the Church is no longer the place for them.
What is grief, but love persevering? Disney+’s WandaVision is one of the best series I can recall gracing the small screen in decades and that question posed by the Vision (Paul Bettany) captures so much about what allows the show to be profound beyond the strictures of either of its roots: classic sitcoms and Marvel Cinematic Universe.
I watched this film for the first time on Ash Wednesday. In the context of the present pandemic and its deadly effect on our lives, it is all the more compelling to view this film at this time. Also, as any good Catholic on that day, I was hungry, hoping to kill time until I could eat a hamburger or something. The Black Death served as part of the setting, and even as we are thankful that the present crisis is not of the magnitude as that, it was hard not to notice the existential dread, and to recognize that we are living with it, just as these characters were.