Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Album Update

It looks like things will be starting up again in November, God willing and the crick don't rise.

We pretty much have to start from scratch, thanks to the destruction of the masters by the taper machine. However, we do already have arrangements and chordings for a good chunk of the songs. So it's not starting from the absolute beginning.

Unfortunately, recording my album will entail listening to the sound of my own voice. Contrary to the impression you might get from hearing me go off into long impromptu lectures, I do not really enjoy that sound. Oh, I know objectively that my voice isn't too bad. But the same objectivity points out every mistake I ever make, and if those aren't evident enough, every missed opportunity and every way I fail to measure up to the great voices of history. My subjective self streaks between absolute loathing and an acknowledgment that things aren't too bad.

All that said, when the creativity is flowing, I can get very interested and excited and delighted by my singing and my songs. But like the subjective experience of spirituality, this is cyclical and paid for by long experiences of "dryness", when I feel intensely depressed and abandoned by what I suppose is best called the Spirit. Of course I know not to trust my subjective experience or my objective one, as both are usually rather cruel and unhelpful if taken without a grain of salt. But it's hard to have to spend so much time trudging along with nothing but a vague faith that things will turn out all right.

Still, after a sore throat last week I managed to cantor for two Masses on Sunday. The happiness of having sung, and sung before the Lord, made even my little internal editors allow as how I hadn't done too badly. (My voice did wobble alarmingly, and I kept running out of breath at odd moments. But for some reason my voice is sometimes quite pretty in tone just recently, and it was very sweet indeed on Sunday.) I think if I can just make myself practice more, sleep more, eat more, and generally live healthily enough not to get sick again, it really may turn out all right. But I have to practice and sleep, because it's practice and sleep that create consistency.

"Stay with Us, Lord"

"Mane Nobiscum, Domine" (Stay with Us, Lord), the Pope's letter about the Eucharist, came out this week. It's pretty interesting.

As with all papal letters, the first part is equal parts theology and a recap/tying together of previous actions on the topic. This doesn't mean there's no meat there. But the letter really gets rolling in the second part, when the same Pope who officially added the "mysteries of light" from Christ's public life to the Rosary's meditation on the lives of Christ and Mary, talks about the Eucharist as fundamentally a mystery of light. This seems to mean something like this: that the deeper we get into the mystery -- the better we begin to understand it and participate in it -- the more clear it will make everything else in life. Which is only logical, since Christ is Truth and Life and Light, both the Road and the place it's headed.

The letter challenges the rest of the Church to get on the stick. We are to understand the Eucharist as the reason for the Church's existence -- and, as was said earlier this week at the Eucharistic Conference in Guadalajara, that means not asking what the Eucharist is, but Who. We are to celebrate the Eucharistic Feast and Sacrifice with the proper reverence to God in our midst. We are to teach and proclaim this to others. We are to promote devotion to the Eucharist and Christ, both through an ever-increasing revival of traditional prayers and practices with that end and through whatever new stuff we can come up with that's fitting. And, most importantly, we are to allow the Eucharist in us to move through us, to do God's work in the world, to be servants of everyone in need. Because, if we don't, we have shown that we are not Christians by our lack of love.

It's a short letter, but it's got a lot of meat.

As the letter returned again and again to the story of Emmaus from which the Pope took its title, I kept being haunted again and again by the way that God can say a thing and make it so. He said, "Let there be light," and there was light. (As well as the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum and universal law.) He said, "Little girl, get up." He said, "This day you shall be with me in Paradise." He said, "I will be with you until the end of the world."

And so He also said, "My flesh is real food and my blood real food." and "This is My Body. This is My Blood."