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Friday, 15 April 2016

The "Truths We Could Not Otherwise Endure" Come to Us "Transfigured By Ceremony"

Colm Sinclair sends home [a letter] to explain to his parents why he took the unthinkable step of becoming a Catholic: “What saves us is ceremony … Ceremony makes everything bearable and beautiful for us. Transfigured by ceremony, the truths we could not otherwise endure come to us … It is this saving ceremony that you call ‘idolatry’ and ‘mumbo-jumbo’.”
This salvific “ceremony” was of course the Mass. Completing the letter, Colm walks to a nearby church to experience the beauty of the liturgy: “The celebrant entered … Once again, for the thousandth time, Colm watched the ancient endless beautiful ceremony, the exchange of gifts between earth and heaven, dust and spirit, man and God. The transfigured Bread shone momentarily in the saffron fingers of the celebrant.”
Never heard of George Mackay Brown before, need to learn more.
When did I stop reading?
I literally cannot remember the last time I read a novel, and I used to be omnivorous, with the emphasis on novels.
What happened?
Look at this, from Brown's "An Orkney Tapestry" -
“There is a new religion, Progress, in which we all devoutly believe, and it is concerned only with material things in the present and in a vague golden-handed future. It is a rootless utilitarian faith, without beauty or mystery … The notion of progress is a cancer that makes an elemental community look better, and induces a false euphoria, while it drains the life out of it remorselessly.”
Brilliant, and dead on.
Where would we be without converts?

That all may be one.

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