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Doleful Mysteries March 30, 2013

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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I prefer the old-fashioned Maundy Thursday to keep Batman and Robin out of it. Good Friday is Golgotha and I was in no mood for skulls, and have yet to find anyone to enlist in my proposed pilgrimage to find nine bar doors in New Orleans from which you can view a church. And then there is that vision of the Stations of the Cross. Yes, He suffered just as we do, and more they said in catechism. I checked the work calendar, the to-do list and the checking account balance and suddenly flashed on myself under Alex DeLarge’s scourge in A Clockwork Orange. Here it is Holy Saturday (Batman!) and I am deep into a purgatory of laundry for the sin of sloth. I am curious to see who might be in Holy Rosary keeping vigil on one of the two days of the year in which the consecrated host is removed from Catholic tabernacle, the sumptuous gold box at the back of the altar. Most people know that one doesn’t put the baby in the crèche until Christmas morning, but I wonder who outside of the Altar Society realize that relic of mystic flesh is taken out on Good Friday. And then what do they do with it?

Santa Claus Eve and Easter Bunny Day are problematic for an apostate like myself who is none the less deeply imprinted with a Catholic upbringing, a near equivalent of the secular Jew: steeped in the culture by a complete indoctrination in guilt and exceptionalism that no therapy could hope to erase. It doesn’t help to notice in your son’s catechism classroom that the colors of the Church calendar are purple, green and gold, to ride on the bus home and watch a Latino woman cross herself at each church passed and be reminded of an old girlfriend, to look at the St. Expedite candle on my bedroom mantle. I could easily complete some of the more gruesome qualifications for excommunication from an institution I abhor but it would make no difference. Fish on Friday still seems as right as red beans on Monday or meatballs on Wednesday even if the last time I had my throat blessed was in grammar school.

What to do on Jelly Bean Sunday? I think I still have the plaid shirt I used to wear to church on Easter Sunday when I was raising my children, as solemnly promised, as Catholics, one that looks like a horrible accident at the Paaz factory but I really have nowhere to go in it. I often buy a new straw hat Holy Week but after vacuuming all of the change out of the couch, I’ve decided to just steam the ones I have back into shape and try to scrub the sweat stains out with some Oxyclean and a toothbrush. Still, when the Goddess Diana Ecclesiastical Calender conspires with the weather to bring us Ishtar Easter at Spring, some observance is required. I will probably do what I usually do come that Sunday in honor of Jesus the Teacher and in contravention of the dictates of Peter’s church. I will listen to Pharoah Sander’s Love is Everywhere, a song that to me is the bell-blessed communion chant of the church of all mankind, and read Wallace Steven’s Sunday Morning.

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1. samjasper - April 2, 2013

I had to explain the term “cradle Catholic” to someone last week. This was a result of my explaining that I had spent some time on Good Friday reading some of the historical Jesus materials that have been found over all these decades of studying Dead Sea Scrolls, Nag Hammadi, the Apocryphal gospels and other bits of papyrus.There were many links that drew a click, like was the date of the crucifixion ever arrived at, and some scholars think April 3 as a result of extrapolating a timeline based on the four New Testament gospels along with other sources and figuring back to when Passover would have been during the year generally agreed to as his year of death. That lead to “stauros” and how the cross we know may not have been the type of cross used, although the Romans had a variety of sadistically whimsical designs, but that it is often referenced by ancient Greek historians as stauros, which would have been one giant vertical beam. That all lead to depictions of the crucifixion during various ages and the number of nails used in this time period vs that, and whether they painted it with nails through the wrists or the hands.

I then found a marvelous link to click on the “historical/actual Jesus” and the “Jesus of the mind” in which a debate was raging about whether or not the physical being known as Jesus actually ever ate, drank or, indeed, suffered, or did all that suffering only take place in the mind of Paul, and apparently there are folks that spend their lives studying all this, and there I was, on Good Friday just about 3PM, the time of death we were taught, reading not scripture nor a missal, but philosophical and historical treatises. I didn’t start out to do that.I really had sat down to answer some email and thought I’d look this “one little thing” up while I finished brewed my tea.

Cradle Catholic. As inescapable as DNA even for one as lapsed as I.

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