Saturday, February 19, 2005 +

02005 02 19 +

Mary told stories tonight at The Dance Flurry Festival in Saratoga Springs.
 

Julian of Norwich

Thinking about The Anchoress, I remembered that some years past I had copied down some words of Julian of Norwich:

He showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand, and I perceived that it was as round as any ball. I looked at it and thought: What can this be? And I was given this general answer: It is everything which is made.

He said, “If I could suffer more, I would suffer more.” He did not say: If it were necessary to suffer more, but: If I could suffer more; for although it might not be necessary, if he could suffer more he would suffer more.

I did not want to look up, for I would rather have remained in that pain until Judgment Day, than have come to heaven any other way than by him. For I knew well that he who had bought me so dearly would unbind me when it was his will. Thus I chose Jesus for my heaven, whom I saw only in pain at the time. No other heaven was pleasing to me than Jesus, who will be my bliss when I am there; and this has always been a comfort to me, that I chose Jesus as my heaven in all times of suffering and of sorrow. And that has taught me that I should always do so, and choose only him to be my heaven in well-being and in woe.

He did not say: You will not be assailed, you will not be belabored, you will not be disquieted, but he said: You will not be overcome.

I felt the pain and then afterward the joy and the delight, now the one and now the other, again and again. . . . And in the time of joy I could have said with Paul: Nothing shall separate me from the love of Christ; and in the pain, I could have said with Peter: Lord, save me, I am perishing.

Our Lord . . . says: “Pray inwardly, even if you think it is giving you no satisfaction. The prayer is profitable even if you feel nothing, even if you see nothing, even if you think you can do nothing. When you feel dry and barren, when you are sick and weak—that is when your prayer is most pleasing to me, although you find it giving you but little satisfaction. This is how it is with all your prayers made in faith, in my sight.”

We should rejoice greatly that God lives in our soul, with a far greater presence than of our soul in God.

Then our good Lord opened the eye of my spirit and showed me my soul in the middle of my heart. I saw the soul as large as if it were a world without end and also as if it were a blessed, blissful kingdom. Through this revelation, I understood that the soul is a glorious city.

 

Trinity in the Hail Mary

 
“Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.”

This is Gabriel, speaking for the Father.


“Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.”

This is Elizabeth, speaking of the Son.


“Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death.
Amen.”

This is God’s people, speaking through the Holy Spirit.
 

Prayer 3



Prayers 2–12 may require you to upgrade your Java runtime.

Prayers 2 1
 

Friday, February 18, 2005 +

Notes 86

Between God and a meaningless universe, God is the less impossible of two impossibilities (thanks to Eric Bentley, The Life of the Drama, p. 122).

See also C. S. Peirce on the Concept of God.
 

Snow Shadows

Walking to noon Mass at Holy Cross Church today I saw an interesting effect. About 11:30 a snow squall had left a coating of white on the mostly clear ground. Then the sun came out, evaporating the snow except where there was shadow. It was remarkable to see smooth shadow-darkened snow silhouettes of railings and lampposts on the pavement and walkways. By the time Mass was over, the snow had disappeared from the shadows, leaving here and there its memory in dampness.

That my first sentence said “effect” rather than “phenomenon” confirms that lately I’ve been thinking about art.
 

E-Mail from Brother Barnabas

Fri, 18 Feb 2005 08:59:10 +0100

Lieber Leo,

Danke fuer die circles for Zacharias und Elisabeth.

Ich war krank vom 10. Dezember bis 9. Februar. Andre schrieb Dir eine mail in meinem Auftrag. Ich hoffe Du hast sie bekommen.

Gott ist so gut zu mir! Ich kann schon wieder laufen [Brother Barnabas lost two-thirds of his right foot]. Ich habe ganz wenig Schmerzen.

Dir und Mary und Olivia viele Grue├če und Gottes Segen,

Dein Bruder Barnabas
 

Prayer 2



Prayers 2–12 may require you to upgrade your Java runtime.

Prayer 1
 

Thursday, February 17, 2005 +

Meaning in the Our Father


The Our Father is not one person’s prayer: it is the prayer that our Lord Jesus taught us to pray. Who we are includes at the very least all who pray the Our Father, and most likely all the sons and daughters of Man. Whether prayed alone or in a group, the Our Father is a prayer for the prayer and the prayer’s brothers and sisters. Even when prayed alone—and the prayer never is alone, since the Our Father is always being prayed—the Our Father is a people’s prayer: “Our … us … us … we . . . us … us … us.”


“Our Father,”

God is our parent, our maker. We are his sons and daughters, the brothers and sisters of his Son. We, male and female, are made in his image. We talk familiarly (as family) to our parent.


“Who art in Heaven ,”

Our Father is in heaven; heaven is our home. We are not necessarily far from heaven. “The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” and perhaps, within us. But heaven is not earth.


“Hallowed be thy name.”

Our first thought is for our Father. We obey the first commandment. We do not commit the faux pas of saying, Dear Father, I’m fine, how are you? Instead, we use the language of heaven and say, Hallelujah!


“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Earth is not heaven. We pray that heaven come to earth. Heaven is the kingdom of God, not any human government; as the King’s children our place is in the kingdom and our first loyalty is to the King. How is our Father’s will done in heaven? With joy. We should do likewise. What heaven and our Father’s will are we learn from our Lord, from our brothers and sisters, and from our minds and hearts. When we don’t know, are in conflict, or when our will differs from our Father’s, we pray that His will be done.


“Give us this day our daily bread.”

We ask our Father to give us today what we need for today, “every man according to his eating.” We do not ask for more than what we need today. We ask our Father for this, knowing that no matter what our own efforts, all gifts are from him. We trust that our Father knows what we need and will give us good things when we ask.


“And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

We are aware of our sins, and the sins of others; we know sin in history, in our life, and in our heart. To forgive is hard for sinners. We ask our Father to forgive us, as he does when we forgive our brothers and sisters; when we forgive we do as our Father does, and become more like him. We, and earth, shall not have peace without forgiveness.


“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

We know our weakness in the face of temptation; we ask that we be not put to the test. Temptation often ends in evil and our capture by the tempter, the evil one who is the enemy of our Father. We cannot free ourselves from evil. Our Father must free us.


“Amen.”

So be it. This is our agreement, as between a Father and his children.


Two E-Mails from Fran Adams

@columbia.edu
Wed 2/16/2005 5:22 PM

Hi Leo,

I’m glad you showed my parents your tiles. I think they were impressed.

They said you also showed them pictures of the Gates project in Central Park, which makes me think you must be interested in it. We are really enjoying it. The color is just glorious!

On Sat. am when it was being unfurled, Dave and I and a cousin who was visiting ran up to the roof of our building first thing in the morning. The gates are small from there, but you can see a ribbon of orange snaking all over the park. Later, we went walking under them. We were all entranced.

Now we have the idea of going out at night and looking at them by flashlight. It’s raining today but we’ll try it sometime. The rain makes me think how lovely they'd be in the snow, should that chance to fall.

Love,
Fran


@columbia.edu
Thu, 17 Feb 2005 12:42:18 -0500

Hi Leo,

What do I think of it as art? A good question, endlessly discussed here at the office. Some people say it’s not as good as his other work, a few say the park doesn’t need any “improvement” anyway, several artist friends said it’s an event, not an art work for the ages. I more-or-less agree with all this, but I think it’s so very pretty to look at and makes it so much fun to walk around the park, and that’s all I ask of it. I say it’s a good piece of art.

Here’s what my brother has to say in a message he wrote
yesterday. He was with Esme:

We entered the park at one of the points rec. by the Times, W. 72nd St., where a number of lines of gates converge, and my first reaction was that they were a bit jarring. After walking around for awhile, however, I began to find them an ever more agreeable and somehow comforting presence, to the point that I am even now, while they are still up, already feeling how keenly I will miss them when they're gone. It is tempting to complain that they should be up for 2 months or 2 years instead of 2 weeks, but I suppose their ephemeral nature makes one appreciate them more and makes it impossible to start taking them for granted.

Love,
Fran
 

Prayer 1

02005 02 17 +

Brother Lawrence, who practiced the presence of God, died at age 80 on 17 February 1691.

We should never, Brother remarked, grow weary of doing little things for the love of God, Who regards not the greatness of the work but its love. We must not be surprised at failing often in the beginning, for in the end would come a habit that would make us produce our actions without thinking about it and with wonderful pleasure.
—Nicholas Herman, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, The Practice of the Presence of God, trans. Sister Mary David, S.S.N.D. (New York: Paulist Press, 1978)


Many people are being sent here today by The Anchoress.
 

Wednesday, February 16, 2005 +

Art in Heaven?

“The housemaid would not have needed the penny novelette if such goings-on had been prevalent on the backstairs, nor must one fool oneself that kitsch is a special case. None of us would listen to a Beethoven quartet if we had such serenity and such ecstasy at our beck and call.
—Eric Bentley, The Life of the Drama

On the other hand,

“And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.”
—Isaiah 6:3 (see also Revelation 4:8)

and I should think we would join in.
 

Circles for Lent


 

“My Father is working, and I am working.”

Tuesday, February 15, 2005 +

Notes 85

“Go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.”

“Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.”

“Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.”

“And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.”

“And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”

“And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.”

“And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.”

“And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.”

“Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.”

You did not ask everyone to follow you.
 

Notes 84

I am still feeling my way through life.

One feels no discomfort in reading “sackcloth and ashes.”

It was providential that after the Resurrection you appeared to your apostles and not a gathering of theologians.
 

Eric Bentley on “Plot”

“I feel that the Church has lost the plot a bit.”
Piers Paul Read

Excerpts from the first chapter of Eric Bentley’s The Life of the Drama, (New York: Atheneum, 1964). Bentley considers this book his best work of criticism.

The living experience of a play, as of a novel, or a piece of music, is a river of feeling within us which flows, now fast, now slow, now placidly between broad banks, now in a torrent between narrow ones, now down a slope, now over rapids, now cascading in a waterfall, now halted by a dam, now debouching into an ocean (p. 3).

We only dream of being national heroes. But this is another way of saying that we are national heroes in our dreams. Once we realize that we dream most of the time, we have to reverse conventional view and declare that our lives are dramatic after all (pp. 5–6).

Violence interests us because we are violent. . . . I have sometimes wondered if it wouldn’t make better sense to teach budding playwrights, instead of the usual Dramatic Technique, two rules grounded in human nature: if you wish to attract the audience’s attention, be violent; if you wish to hold it, be violent again. It is true that bad plays are founded on such principles, but it is not true that good plays are written by defying them (pp. 8–9).

Greek scholars are always explaining that, for Aristotle, imitation does not mean imitation. Nevertheless, it does (p. 9).

The flowers of dramatic art have their roots in crude action (p. 10).

Aristotle does not say that plot is an imitation of life. He says: “the plot is the imitation of the Action.” What is the Action? Aristotle forgot to tell [I should say that plot is life with a shape, and that that shape is Action. LW] (p. 15).

In art, recognition is preferable to cognition: a good story is one we have heard before; that is, a good storyteller aims at the effect of re-telling, a good dramatist at re-enactment. . . . New stories must always be old if they are to take hold of us (pp. 17–18).

For the past century and a half Shakespeare has been a popular author, but on what account? Chiefly, it would seem, for the Poetry and the Great Characters. The Poetry can be exhibited in extracts. The Characters could be celebrated in books which abstracted them from the play and invented for them what the poet had forgotten to mention [this applies to many books about Jesus and to Catholic books about Mary. LW] . . . . One can read thousands of pages of what is reputed to be the best Hamlet criticism and not find the primary questions dealt with if these be questions of plot (pp. 25 and 27).

It is the child in us that responds to stories, and the modern antagonism to narrative is much too exclusively adult an attitude for an artist (p. 29).

 

Notes 83

What a person does should be the most important thing in the world to that person.

If I do everything for you, then everything I do is important.

I shall not lose my reward for giving a cup of cold water to a little one.

If I do what I should do, then it is pleasant to think that others do it much better.


The Lowest Trees Have Tops

The lowest trees haue topps, the ante her gall,
The flie her spleene, the little sparke his heat:
The slender hears cast shadows, though but small,
And bees haue stinges, although they be not great;
Seas haue their sourse,and soe haue shallow springes:
And Loue is Loue, in beggers and in Kinges.
Wher waters smothest ronne, ther depest are the foords,
The diall stirrs, yet none perceiues it moove;
The firmest fayth is fowned in fewest woordes,
The turtles doe not singe, and yet they loue;
True heartes haue ears and eyes, no tongues to speake:
They heare and see, and sigh, and then they breake.
—Sir Edward Dyer (1543-1607)

 

Monday, February 14, 2005 +

Circles of Valentines


For M and O.
 

Sunday, February 13, 2005 +

Saint Joan

Some lines from the play by Bernard Shaw:

LA HIRE. But by all the devils in hell—Oh, God forgive me, what am I saying?—by Our Lady and all the saints, this must be the angel that struck Foul Mouthed Frank dead for swearing.

THE CHAPLAIN [rising in a fury ] You are a traitor.
CAUCHON [spring up ] You lie, priest. [Trembling with rage ] If you dare do what this woman has done—set your country above the holy Catholic Church—you shall go to the fire with her.
THE CHAPLAIN. My lord: I—I went too far. I— [he sits down with a submissive gesture ].
WARWICK [who has risen apprehensively ] My lord: I apologize to you for the word used by Messire John de Stogumber. It does not mean in England what it does in France. In your language traitor means betrayer: one who is perfidious, treacherous, unfaithful, disloyal. In our country it means simply one who is not wholly devoted to our English interests.
CAUCHON. I am sorry: I did not understand. [He subsides into his chair with dignity. ]

CAUCHON. What will the world be like when The Church’s accumulated wisdom and knowledge and experience, its councils of learned, venerable pious men, are thrust into the kennel by every ignorant laborer or dairymaid whom the devil can puff up with the monstrous self-conceit of being direclty inspired from heaven?

THE CHAPLAIN. How can what an Englishman believes be heresy? It is a contradiction in terms.

THE CHAPLAIN. But this woman denies to England her legitimate conquests, given her by God because of her peculiar fitness to rule over less civilized races for their own good.

JOAN. [crossly ] Well, I have to find reasons for you, because you do not believe in my voices. But the voices come first; and I find the reasons after: whatever you may choose to believe.

JOAN. Give my that writing. [She rushes to the table; snatches up the paper; and tears it into fragments ] Light your fire: do you think I dread it as much as the life of a rat in a hole? My voices were right.

CAUCHON. We decree that thou art a relapsed heretic.
THE INQUISITOR. Cast out from the unity of the Church.
CAUCHON. Sundered from her body.
THE INQUISITOR Infected with the leprosy of heresy.
CAUCHON. A member of Satan.
THE INQUISITOR. We declare that thou must be excommunicate.
CAUCHON. And now we do cast thee out, segregate thee, and abandon thee to the secular power.

LADVENU. I took this cross from the church for her that she might see it to the last: she had only two sticks that she put on her bosom. When the fire crept round us, and she saw that if I held the cross before her I should be burnt myself, she warned me to get down and save myself. My lord: a girl who could think of another’s danger in such a moment was not inspired by the devil. When I had to snatch the cross from her sight, she looked up to heaven. And I do not believe the heavens were empty. I firmly believe that her Savior appeared to her then in His tenderest glory. She called to Him and died. This is not the end for her, but the beginning.

From the Epilogue:

CHARLES. If you could bring her back to life, they would burn her again in six months, for all their present adoration. And you would hold up the cross, too, just the same. So [crossing himself ] let her rest; and let you and I mind our own business, and not meddle with hers.
LADVENU. God forbid that I should have no share in her, nor she in me! [He turns and strides out as he came, saying ] Henceforth my path will not lie through palaces, nor my conversation with kings.
CHARLES [following him towards the door, and shouting after him ] Much good may it do you, holy man!

THE SOLDIER. That dont mean anything, you know; but it keeps you marching.

JOAN [interrupting the soldier by strolling across to the bed, where she sits besides Charles ] He tied two sticks together, and gave them to a poor lass that was going to be burnt.

CHARLES. What is hell like?
THE SOLDIER. You wont find it bad, sir. Jolly. Like as if you were always drunk without the trouble and expense of drinking. Tip top company too: emperors and popes and kings and all sorts. They chip me about giving that young judy the cross; but I dont care; I stand up to them proper, and tell them that if she hadnt a better right to it than they, she’d be where they are. That dumbfounds them, that does. All they can do is gnash their teeth, hell fashion; and I just laugh, and go off singing the old chanty: Rum tum trumple—Hullo! Who’s that knocking at the door?

DE STOGUMBER. Well, you see, I did a very cruel thing once because I did not know what cruelty was like. I had not seen it, you know. That is the great thing: you must see it. And then you are redeemed and saved.
CAUCHON. Were not the sufferings of our Lord Christ enough for you?
DE STOGUMBER. No. Oh no: not at all. I had seen them in pictures, and read of them in books, and been greatly moved by them, as I thought. But it was no use: it was not our Lord that redeemed me, but a young woman whom I saw actually burnt to death. It was dreadful: oh, most dreadful. But it saved me. I have been a different man ever since, though a little astray in my wits sometimes.
CAUCHON. Must then a Christ perish in torment in every age to save those that have no imagination?

THE GENTLEMAN [emphatically, to mark his indignation at the interruption ]—by the Bishop of Orleans into the claim of the said Joan of Arc to be canonized as a saint—
JOAN [again interrupting ] But I never made any such claim.

THE GENTLEMAN [putting up his paper, and retiring beside the Executioner ] In Basilica Vaticana, the sixteenth day of May, ninteen hundred and twenty.
DUNOIS [raising Joan ] Half an hour to burn you, dear saint; and four centuries to find out the truth about you!

CAUCHON [kneeling to her ] The girls in the field praise thee; for thou hast raised their eyes; and they see that there is nothing between them and heaven.

JOAN. And now tell me: shall I rise from the dead, and come back to you a living woman?
A sudden darkness blots out the walls of the room as they all spring to their feet in consternation. Only the figures and the bed remain visible.
JOAN. What! Must I burn again? Are none of you ready to receive me?
CAUCHON. The heretic is always better dead. And mortal eyes cannot distinguish the saint from the heretic. Spare them. [He goes out as he came. ]. . . .
DE STOGUMBER. Oh, do not come back: you must not come back. I must die in peace. Give us peace in our time, O Lord! [He goes ]. . . .
CHARLES. Poor old Joan! They have all run away from you except this blackguard who has to go back to hell at twelve o’clock. And what can I do but follow Jack Dunois’ example, and go back to bed too? [He does so ].
JOAN. [sadly ] Good night, Charlie.
CHARLES. Goo ni. [He sleeps. The darkness envelopes the bed ].
JOAN [to the soldier ] And you, my one faithful? What comfort have you for Saint Joan?
THE SOLDIER. Well, what do they amount to, these kings and captains and bishops and lawyers and such like? They just leave you in the ditch to bleed to death; and the next thing is, you meet them down there, for all the airs they give themselves. What I say is, you have as good a right to your notions as they have to theirs, and perhaps better. [Setting himself for a lecture on the subject ] You see, it’s like this. If—[the first stroke of midnight is heard softly from the distant bell ]. Excuse me: a pressing appointment— [He goes on tiptoe ].
The last remaining rays of light gather into the white radiance descending on Joan. The hour continues to strike.
JOAN. O God that madest this beautiful earth, when will it be ready to receive Thy saints? How long, O Lord, how long?

 

Thinking about the Playwright

Excerpts from Eric Bentley, Thinking about the Playwright (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1987):

“Political Theatre, Pro and Con”
Con:
[The] making of excessive claims for art comes, oddly enough, from having too little faith in it. We search far afield for its purpose only bcecause we cannot look it in the face. It is to gain the whole world for us, because it has lost its own soul. What wories us is the modesty, the intimacy of art as it really is: its real effects are small, internal, personal, and hard to describe or even to observe. Hence, though the purpose of the Ninth Symphony may be to introduce universal brotherhood, the chilling fact is that it has failed to do so. Shall we join the Salvation Army, which undoubtedly has more success in that direction? I would respect the man who drew such a conclusion more than the man who trumpets that our modern artists must strive to succeed where Beethoven failed. There is a third possibility: to find what the Ninth Symphony can actually do for people—what it has done for some and will do for others. What actually happened to you when last you heard that work may seem rather a small incident compared with the invention of the atom bomb, but must you have an inferiority complex about this? The arts depend for their existence on our repect for such small incidents. The exploration of drama and society must properly start from respect, not for society, but for the individuals whom it comprises, and in the first instance, for their private experience. Second, artistic activity must be taken as a good in itself and therefore not needing justification on ground of its utility in other fields, such as religion or politics. It satisfies a natural and not unhealthy craving. It is part of the good life. It is not suspect. It need not be on the defensive. If these two points—which are really one—are accept, we must conclude that whatever, if anything, the arts may do for a society, they make a contribution to the life of individuals.

Pro:
The prospects for anything good are always black. The good things were often flatly impossible until they happened—it is only afterward that they were found to have been inevitable.

The public, as is well known, is likely to find Death of a Salesman just as noble and profound as King Lear. The invalidity of this proposition has prevented critical people from seeing the corollary: King Lear is just as noble and profound as Death of a Salesman—in other words, the mass public has nothing, finally, against King Lear, but is willing to be as moved and impressed by it as by a much more easily accessible modern work. . . . The masterpieces of dramatic art may have subtleties in them that it takes generations of scholars to decipher. They certainly have a characterstic which is far more important socially: they are emotionally powerful, and their principal emotions are such as make an immediate impact on a crowd. I think one might even say that the subtleties are at the periphery and that the center of each great drama is a certain simplicity. I do not, of course, mean superficiality, but rather that inessentials are so fully eliminated that we face an elemental and universal subject in its nudity. In this sense, the story of the Crucifixion is simple as told in the Gospels, even though men still disagree as to what it means.

“How Translate a Play?”
All the best people perpetrate howlers. Those who believe the English Bible was written by God must believe that even God perpetrates howlers, because there are quite a few in the only translation that’s really great, the King James Version. I am told that the same is true of John Florio's Montaigne. Perhaps the best translations are the ones with the most mistakes? No reason why not. The primary criterion is what a text amounts to in the language it is (now) in. Florio and King James’s clergymen made great books—as well as lots of mistakes. We have translators today who make few mistakes, perhaps none, and who make bad books, bad plays.

“Is the Drama an Extinct Species?”
You are not surprised to find money changers in the temple; the surprising sight is Christ with a whip. One is amazed at Shakespeare and Ibsen; Thomas Dekker and Henry Arthur Jones one takes for granted.

“What Is Theatre?”
It could be that, in the eyes of the gods, there is no Problem of Modern Drama, no special and different task for the modern writer. Even so, we who are not gods can only see a perennial task in its urgent and present form. “Teaching the human heart the knowledge of itself,” says Shelley. Assuredly he spoke for all time. Nevertheless, in the age following his death, the perennial task took a form which, it seems to me, can be roughly expressed in the words: teaching the human heart that it still exists. Or, better perhaps, teaching the human heart that it can exist again, that it can be brought back to life. . . . There is a line of Schiller that sums it up in advance: “Dass der Mensch zum Menschen werde” (“That man may become man”).

“Letter to a Would-Be Playwright”
With all this goes a technical change that some people think the most important change of all. The dramatists are no longer writing for a box set hidden behind a proscenium arch. The proscenium arch may still be there, because the buildings can’t be made over in a hurry, but it is ignored, canceled out, defied. The box set has been carted off stage forever. What the new generation clamors for is some sort of open stage, possibly Elizabethen, possibly also a Roman circus or a Greek arena. Whether such a physical change is the most important change or not, it is one that implies the others. The different shape and functioning of such a stage implies a fundamentally different technique of drama and, with that, a different view of art and life. Take one feature alone, the relation of the action to the eye of the specatator. In the nineteenth-century theatre, the specatator is asked to peep through a little door, like Alice, into an illuminated garden; in the twentieth-century theatre, the actors are brought out to him. In the one, the spectator is a voyeur; in the other, the actor is an exhibitionist. Here too, in the demands they make on the physique of the stage, the more alert modern playwrights have been searching for the classic theatre. The naturalistic theatre offered a peep through the keyhole into the room across the way. The classic theatre provides a parade ground for passions and thoughts and for the human beings above or below life size who experience them.

 

Temptation

On our way out of the Cathedral from this morning's Mass we walked near a long table laid out with several platters of cookies and petit fours for an afternoon event at which the Bishop would preside. The treats, from Villa Italia Pasticceria, were very tempting. Jude took out her little scissors, thinking to make a small cut in the wrapping covering one of the platters, and take a few cookies. She paused and asked me, “Should I?”

LEO. Why not? They won’t be missed.

JUDE. No, better not—I’d have to go to confession.

LEO. “Bless me, Father, for I have snitched.”

JUDE. And Father would ask, “How long has it been since your last confection?”

><>     ><>     ><>     ><>     ><>      ><>

See also Temptation at Happy Catholic
and Six Aspects of Temptation at A Penitent Blogger
 

Wake-Up Call

The mother of a colleague died last week. She had loved making cell-phone calls from her bed at the nursing home. The family decided to put her cell phone in the casket with her. At the wake, the cell phone rang!
 

Parables

“Time, Talent, and Treasure”

Several people have unearthed this.
 

Tiles for Kira Stevens