Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Sunday, 26 August 2007

The Blessing of a Priest

You know how those things happen... a side note in a newspaper column, a quick line barked by a character in a sitcom as you dial past, a chance comment from a friend in the midst of a conversation about something else, an overheard remark.... and then suddenly the thing itself in your face.
Is it coincidence or the unfathomable, inexorable way of the universe, of life, revealing its patterns to you only in tiny increments, if at all?
Jung, or is it Sting? :oP calls it synchronicity.
The Viking Princess counseling friends more lapsed than she as they go through pre-Cana, and gently chiding them for their Fear of Priests.
The notion that, while at the monastery, we should seek out a priest to bless us on the occasion of our 10th.
Startling myself with the frankness of my conversation with the ailing Boss, (I suspect part of my manner was because these are things I long to say to my distant ailing mother...) Solicitous and scolding, benevolent and bossy: that's me.
A review in the Times by DARCEY STEINKE yesterday, of Mary Gordon's new book, Circling My Mother, (shades of Voyages Round My Father?)
She begins the review with an incident from her own experience, (writer and raconteurs can't resist, can they? Surely there is a place for them in liturgical publishing world, composing hymn texts for the next edition of the "But Enough About Me, What Do You Think About Me, God?" Hymnal. ButIDigress) seeing a priest being asked to bless an iguana.
It was the request for a presbyteral benediction she found remarkable, it seems, not the iguana.
Is it unusual? are Catholic priest routinely not treated with "old fashioned reverence?"
She thinks so, and flatly places the blame on "sex scandals, ...the church’s outmoded stand on abortion and birth control, ...the Second Vatican Council, ...the fact that Catholicism has no writers today like Thomas Merton or Dorothy Day."
I might think that gaps in her personal experience had more to do with the circles in which she travels (was it Mary McCarthy who famously wondered how it was Nixon was elected even though no one SHE knew had voted for him?), and a general lessening of treating others with respect, and a loss of formality in the world.
Truth to tell, it was not something I had ever thought about until recently. Or done... the asking.
And it is , to put the most selfish construct on it, very rewarding.
Anyway, if you're reading this, ask a priest for his blessing.
In fact, ask your parents for their blessing.
Hey, and, you ! -- notice the blessing you have already been given.


mrsdarwin said...

I'd thought it was Pauline Kael, the film critic, who'd made the Nixon remark, but Wikipedia informs me that I'm in error on this. It seems there's no real attribution.

Still, it's a useful quote, so somebody should have said it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for stopping by!
It is a great line, no? the epitome of arrogant cluelessness. (Though I admit to feeling the same way about the curent president's election...)

(Save the Liturgy, Save the World)