Friday, January 15, 2010


I confess that, last weekend, I peeked ahead on the sacristy Kalendar, looking for purple. One can't speed up the turning of the liturgical year, but I couldn't help longing for the deep gloom of Lent. There's a stretch of green to traverse yet, but Lent is within sight, Lent, like a great gloomy hen under whose wings I long to huddle. Or maybe hide.

Winter has set in, frigid and bright; everything is frozen solid. One evening, recently, the west filled with the most astonishing, cold lavender, fringed with pink -- gate of heaven, star of the sea -- confronted with such a sky, who would not be flooded with compassion for humankind, the poor banished children of Eve ?

Later that evening, standing in line at the supermarket, I gazed at the tabloid headlines, at the racks of candy, at the prattling check-out TV that was competing with the Muzak. Celebrities, junk food, distraction. I had a sudden ictus of absurdity that made me wish I had not dispatched Dr Bouville and his new friend, the morose Curate of St Julian the Wanderer, to the Gehenna of Dead Blogs and dessicated twitter streams.

And yet. And yet.

There has been something obscene about all this -- this what ? -- display ? Even the word that describes it is louche. Blog. Blargh. Blugh. The sound of existential nausea & vomiting. Look at me. Reassure me I exist. Confirm me in my opinions, validate me in my biases, deem me special. Note how clever (or sensitive, witty, articulate, complicated, spiritual, learned, orthodox, heterodox, or totally adoxic) I am. And note, while you're at it, how humble I am !

There are fat motherlodes of triumphalism ramifying through these interwebs-of-blargh. Sectarian triumphalism, liturgical triumphalism, doctrinal triumphalism -- and the dominant modes of triumphalism are smugness, condescension, ridicule, disdain, self-aggrandizement.

It is all so much flatus masquerading as afflatus.

Mea culpa. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.

Blargh. Blargh.

No wonder I am pining for Lent, for a sound shriving.

Note to mortal flesh: STFU.

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