[ by Charles Cameron — bright and dancing Bach — a cantata to give you the fresh spirit of Il Gardellino, then the great Mass in B Minor in their brilliant version ]
J.S. Bach: Cantata “Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal” BWV 146:
This recording fairly leaps out at you, it’s so crisp and dance-like! Brilliant!
And then, enthused by that magnificent cantata, here’s the B Minor Mass in all its glory, with voices that have been hidden, unheard, in all the other renderings I’ve heard — and I love the Corboz, for instance — and those inner voices, clear as bells..
And if your Sunday evening is almost gone, bookmark this post and return to it when you have time — such a fine performance of one of the three or four greatest sacred choral works in the Western tradition!
I’m tired of chasing chyrons. If I see stunners, I may bring them here, but I’ll be concentrating on other things.
I was surprised to overhear the words “perfect sacrifice” in a baseball commentary my room-mate was attendinmg to, but apparently the phrase fits in the context of bunts – what those are, I still don’t know – as well as they do in the context of the Eucharistic liturgy, often considered, eg by Pope John Paul II , as a perfect sacrifice of praise..
What can I say? My ears perked up.
Three levels of beauty for your illumination:
Lidia Ksiazkiewicz at her instrument:
Lidia Ksiazkiewicz plays Bach’s Fantasia in G major, BWV 572, on the great organ of Laon cathedral in 2012:
This one’s an almost ouroboros — Chris Matthews on Hardball:
The Democrats don’t know how to play hardball>>
From the poets — Walt Whitman:
both in and out of the game, and watching
Life, the game, yes. And Shakespeare:
The southern wind
Doth play the trumpet to his purposes,
And by his hollow whistling in the leaves
Foretells a tempest and a blustering day.
Marvelous. Those unexpected words can break through the strands of conventional thought that spin their deadly shroud about us every day.
Within a few hours of Joe Biden’s official presidential announcement, the Justice Democrats, the progressive group behind Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s rise to power, brought out the flamethrower.
So as you see, this is the sort of amount that would have made the first quarter of a chyrons series post a couple of weeks ago, and today it’s all I’ve collected in a week or so. I’m really cutting back on this game, and will be concentrating on other areas..
Let’s close here with this trio:
That’s the rough number.
That’s just this last week.
And here’s the exact figure, if there’s no margin of error, which seems unlikely..
I’m leaving some terrorism screen-grabs for a later post.
[ by Charles Cameron — from ornithology, via mystical poetry to the sheer joy of language ]
Here’s a murmuration of starlings, beautifully videographed near my home town of Sacramento:
Thousands of starlings can explode from a single tree — an impressive sight — but atill photogrphers tend to capture their images when the murmurations appear to resemble something — in this case, a bird of some sort, but not a starling..
Which brings me to the great Sufi poet Farid ud-Din Attar, whose Conference of the Birds opens with the hoopoe, wisest of birds, taelling the world’s birds in assembly that they must cross seven perilous valleys to find their true sovereign, the Simurgh . These valleys are the valleys of the Quest (Talab), of Love (Ishq), of Knowledge (Ma’refat), of Detachment (Isteghnâ), of Unity (Tawhid), of Wonderment (Hayrat), and of Poverty and Annihilation (Faqr and Fana). You can read something of the meaning of each valley in this page, or here
Some birds die simply hearing what each valley demands, others as they traverse the valleys — but finally, thirty birds survive and arrive at the Simurgh’s throne:
ust 30 birds arrive at the home of the simurgh where they realize a startling truth: they are themselves the simurgh. In fact, the word in Persian means “30 birds.” Finally, the birds understand that the Beloved is like the sun in that it can be reflected in a mirror. In other words, we all reflect God because we are God’s shadow and reverberation: nothing is separated from its creator.
Or otherwise told:
Out of thousands of birds, only thirty reach the end of the journey. When the light of lights is manifested and they are in peace, they become aware that the Simurgh is them. They begin a new life in the Simurgh and contemplate the inner world. Simurgh, it turns out, means thirty birds; but if forty or fifty had arrived, it would be the same. By annihilating themselves gloriously in the Simurgh they find themselves in joy, learn the secrets, and receive immortality. So long as you do not realize your nothingness and do not renounce your self-pride, vanity, and self-love, you will not reach the heights of immortality.
You know, there’s a parallel between the Simurgh, comprised of thirty birds, and the Church as body of Christ, constituted by the disciples with whom he broke bread with the Words of Institution, Matthew 26.26:
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
— and not forgetting the Great Prayer of Union of John 17.11:
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
He was already a popular saint. For years the faithful have congregated every Sunday for mass by his tomb in the crypt of the cathedral in San Salvador, inspired by the man they called San Óscar or San Romero de América. Now it is official. On October 14th in Rome, Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero was canonised, almost 40 years after he fell to a gunman’s bullet while finishing a private mass at a chapel that is today a site of pilgrimage. He had recited the 23rd Psalm: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”
As the archbishop read the Gospel, the assassins pulled up to the chapel. As he raised the consecrated bread and wine, the gunman fired a shot to the heart.
The Economist’s graphic, above, gets it wrong. It’s not the struggle, signified by the familiar raised, clenched fist that grabs the halo of sanctity, it’s the diminutive (humble) figure in clerical garb, his hands holding a cross and giving a blessing on whom the halo descends, as noted by Pope Francis.
The theological and political twists and turns of Romero’s life are succinctly presented in my heading, with further details in the two articles.
What I have wanted to illuminate here, however, is the sacramental nature of the arch bishop’s martyrdom, assassinated while saying Mass. Cavanaugh has an entire, brilliant book, Torture and Eucharist: Theology, Politics, and the Body of Christ demonstrating torture in S America as the inverse of sacrament, the attempt to wipe out all traces of the body of Christ present in those who receive it in the Eucharistic sacrament, and the martyrdom of Romero is a summation and eloquent proof of Cavanaugh’s thesis.
As I mentioed here before, in Of sacrifice and martyrdom, I have a particular interest in eucharistic martyrs, ghaving served Mass often enough, kneeling on the paving-stones of the lady chapel of Brightwell church near Wallingford, Berks — or is it now Oxon?
There in the Lady Chapel, embedded in one of those stones, is the brass of a priest of Brightwell, who too was assassinated while saying Mass.
The brass might as well be illustrating the holy death of Saint Oscar Romero, archbishop and martyr.
[ by Charles Cameron — have you time to spare for a little beauty? ]
Prof Emily Steiner of the University of Pennsylvania posted this image, which she described as of the “Stunning mosaics in the apse of S. Maria in Trastevere, attributed to Pietro Cavallini (c.1240-1330)”:
Dr Steiner attributed the photo to “the talented @pdecherney” — her colleague at U PEnn, Dr Peter Decherney.
When I first saw this image, only the top half was visible on my screen, a fine, and I’m no expert, possibly world renowned, and yes, as Dr Steiner says, stunning mosaic of Christos Pantokrator, Christ the ruler of the universe if I’m not mistaken — and again, I’m no expert, and willing to take instruction.
But stunning, yes. Christ, a mosaic, stunning. Art at the service of praise, beauty as a window on the divine, .
And then, perhaps an hour later, but lapses of time are mended in this realm, I saw the whole image, sized to fit my screen.
And thus the bottom half —
— with, brightly lit, even moreso if it were possible than the Christ in mosaic above it is, a small table — an altar, with three priests, and more in the wings, celebrating what looks to be the Eucharist — thought I suppose it might also be Vespers — and again, some expert could say whether the central celebrant is, by his zucchetto or skullcap, a cardinal, bishop, or maybe monsignor.
No matter the celebrant’s rank, he is, as celebrant, at the vanishing point — both the central point of attention photographically, and the point where the priest acts in the person of Christ, in persona Christi, thus himself, his persona, vanishing at the vanishing point.
Do this in memory of me, Christ said to his disciples at the Last Supper before his crucifixion, in words of sacrifice, previsioning his body about to be broken on the cross the next day — and down the centuries priests have broken bread as he did, speaking his words in his place, Take, eat, this is my body.
In the consecration, with these wrds, bread and wine become invisibly the body and blood of Christ, which we may remember, digest and allow to transform us.
It is this which makes the celebration of the Eucharist, in Catholic terms, “the source and summit of the Christian life”.
And then, between this focus on the priest celebrant below, and the Christ all-ruling above, there is a mysterious relationship, each reflecting the other as in duet of mirrors — above, below and I invite you to envision, beyond.
Taking us, to switch religious traditions.. into the upper room with that one and self-same Christ —
Eucharist: literally, thanksgiving!
May your Sunday bring you cause for such thanksgiving..
Zenpundit is a blog dedicated to exploring the intersections of foreign policy, history, military theory, national security,strategic thinking, futurism, cognition and a number of other esoteric pursuits.