Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Sunday, December 31, 2017
"I don't understand either." LOL - that's classic. I love it. Heart Robert Bresson so much.
Once in an interview Bresson was asked some stilted, academic question about his recent film, and Bresson said to the interviewer, "Did you see the film?" to which the interviewer responded, "Yes".
And Bresson said, "Then you know as much as I do."
Then he walked out. LOL.
Sunday, December 24, 2017
Friday, December 22, 2017
Duties are the basic stepping stones that put one in touch with life, if you actually perform and fulfill them. I don't understand how spontaneity has come to be thought of as opposed to duties, or as an escape from them, or as something stiffled by them. The spontaneous impulse has always been at the heart of choosing to do my duties, while forming plans for them has always kept me from actually doing them. Plans impose, and what imposes tends to paralyze.
The understanding that doing one thing leads to doing another, and that you can only do one thing at a time, has a great power to accomplishing much more than you thought. Pairing a basic attitude of seeing to what's at hand with silencing one's thoughts is a key to moving towards some higher aim; there is also that animal instinct to do something simply to get it out of the damn way.
There is a meeting with life that must take place for one to really live - an encounter, that is always encountering. It's not showy; it's certainly not glamorous. This basic encounter with life is constituted in doing our duties. Show me a person who shirks doing his duties and I'll show you someone who buries life like a corpse in a grave, again and again. Show me a person who does his duties with deliberation and I'll show you a living contemplative.
The deadly sin of sloth - Lord, of sloth, do we hear of this deadly, deadly sin anymore? perhaps only from the Pope (and a handful of others) - is a sin of willful alzheimers, of willful amnesia. For we perform acts that make us remember. We do not just remember. The link has such union that one cannot merely say that performing acts triggers memory, but is its constitution. When we are not performing those most basic acts that constitute the encounter with life that keeps real memory alive, and not it's facsimile - well, you can understand why St. Thomas Aquinas said that laziness is a kind of sadness.
One wonders if it is that same sadness that is felt in the face of someone losing their memory - say, a husband witnessing his wife no longer recognizing him in old age. The latter deterioration is not that person's fault, but laziness pathological and otherwise can be construed as having the same sadness about it, but deliberately wrought. It is a deadly sin.
(Certainly this is part of the reason why the elderly frequently lose their memory, partly or mostly: not simply because their minds are dwindling, or their brain cells are diminishing, but because they retire and become inert.)
What gives me joy is to know that union with Jesus leads to a strengthening of the link between act and remembering. How real Jesus becomes when you "hear" him nudging you - not with force, but with his own life - towards fulfilling things at hand, little or otherwise, your duties. Anyone who says outright or implies that the spiritual leads away from the mundane - rather than enters into and transforms the mundane - is a fraud.
Sloth is also a kind of demon hoarder, whose hoarding devalues everything it receives. It's not really the same as greed which overvalues in grasping after more, and has a nasty sort of leanness about it. Greed can at least have the fire of ambition behind it. Sloth is more scarily omniscient. Shaking off acedia seems daunting precisely for this reason. It's a stubborn old bastard that refuses to respond to life.
And here is a good way to understand the word "duty" or "duties". They are everything and anything that is a response to life. Life with all of its "details" - we think of them as details, it's weird. Because God accepts the response and builds with it, no matter how little or tedious. Here is where Sloth raises its ugly countenance: upon the realization that this response is constituted in something very much of the minute, of the moment, right here and right now - that now is an acceptable time and that this moment like every other moment truly constitutes the drama that is your life. Dishes, laundry, cleaning of various kinds, diapers, dust, papers to organize, phone calls to make, etc.
Frequently when I drive by one of those public storage facilities - you know those places that people rent; high security box warehouses storing people's possessions - when I drive by these places - and there seem to be many of them - I think of how everything inside of them, everything, be it bags of cash or gold or lamborghinis - all of it - is just a bunch of crap. Total, utter crap. I feel the useless, square foot, sluggard dust of it all. Crap, crap, crap - all of it crap.
You understand the flip side of those admonitions of Jesus and the saints then? Those reminders that your extra pants and extra coats belong to the poor. The flip side is this: the hoarding of your extra pants and extra coats is not only to deprive the poor, but it's doubly sinful in that it devalues your extra coats and your extra pants. Whatever is hoarded is turned into crap.
The same applies to withholding your life from encountering the duties of life.
So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.' --Luke 17:10
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
"The Supreme Pontiff’s birthday pizza stretched four meters (13 feet) and was embellished with what appears to be tomatoes and mozzarella in between the multiple pieces. The pie had a single white candle in it, which a group of children, from the Vatican pediatric clinic Dispensario Santa Marta, helped him blow out. ...
"... During this year’s festivities, the Pope could be heard telling the children: “Eat the four meters [13 feet] of pizza: Eat well. It will do you good, it will make you grow!” It’s not the first time the Pope has made his preference for pizza known. In 2015, after revealing that he missed getting a slice of pizza without being recognized, the pizzeria Don Ernesto, in Naples, ran up to the Popemobile to hand-deliver Pope Francis a personal pizza reading “Il Papa” on it. If anything, his devotion to pizza is proof that it isn’t just divine, but also good for the soul." --Atlas Obscura