First, may I wish to all who celebrate a joyous Easter and a Chag Sameach – so nice when Passover and Easter overlap. And, of course, this year Ramadan is also part of that overlap, that Venn diagram of faith and longing, so let me add a Ramadan Kareem. When I lived in Turkey, Ramadan took place in March and, in fact, my students threw me a rather sad birthday party as they would not eat! There was also this man who rolled through the streets at dawn, shouting through a bullhorn to get everyone up so that they would eat before the sun rose. After a few days, I was sleeping through it, but it was quite jarring at first. Somewhat related to all of the above, is this beautiful scene from a mosque in Algeria. (Sorry – can’t embed for some reason.) It was earlier this week, during Ramadan prayers. I love how the Imam does not miss a beat, and plus, he is gentle with the kitty. Continuing on our religious feline theme, Christopher Smart’s magnificent I Will Consider my Cat Jeoffry, from the Jubilate Agno. I won’t print the whole poem, but here is a snippet:
For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.
For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness he suppresses.
For he will not do destruction, if he is well-fed, neither will he spit without provocation.
For he purrs in thankfulness, when God tells him he’s a good Cat.
For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
For every house is incomplete without him and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.
So true. Please click on both links above.
Even by the standards of AOC, her comments on Father Damien were moronic. This article offers a very thorough (and generous) analysis of her beliefs.
It’s not an original thought, but it’s one that bears repeating: iconoclasts like Ms. Ocasio-Cortez have a pitifully stunted view of humanity. And I mean that: we should feel pity for them. Imagine looking at an image of someone like Father Damien (or Queen Lili’uokalani, for that matter) and seeing nothing but a demographic: sex and race and nationality. He dedicated his life to providing pastoral and medical care to thousands of souls who suffered from a painful and humiliating disease before finally succumbing to the disease himself. Why can’t Ms. Ocasio-Cortez see that? Because her mind is infected with a very different illness: a poisonous ideology which renders all white men as mere villains in the tragedy of European imperialism.
“Stunted” is the perfect word for her. Is it only because she is young? Will she grow out of it? One lives in hope.
I have a new piece out – my thoughts on Hagia Sophia’s (re)conversion into a mosque.
Today is the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene. I love this image of her, by Italian artist Carlo Crivelli, circa 1470. She is giving some excellent side-eye. FYI, this is a detail of a larger painting.
It is the feast of St. Michael, and in honour, I give you Raphael’s 1504 St. Michael, also known as “Little St. Michael” (to distinguish it from another St. Michael painted by Raphael years later). I love this. Slay those demons, friends!
There is so much bad press about the Catholic Church these days (much of it deserved), but I found this to be tremendously lovely and important.
Recently read Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. Highly recommend, and while I am tempted to say that it is relevant now, it has, of course, always been relevant. One thing I found of note was a reference to Rodney King’s famous “can we all get along” query (short answer: no): Haidt provides a longer version of the quote, which I find so touching. Apparently King also said, “Please, we can get along here. We all can get along. I mean, we’re all stuck here for a while. Let’s try to work it out.”
Kind of broke my heart a bit to read that.