I’m in the middle of reading Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love) and will likely comment on it during the coming week. For now, though, a word about the commentators who seem to be bemused at the former “Grand Inquisitor” of the Church turning out a such a tender document as his first encyclical. They seem to be of the opinion that Benedict has somehow become a different man from the former head of the Congregation of Divine Faith, which is the office of the Church concerned with orthodoxy, etc. What they have utterly failed to recognize is that the very same love, wisdom and cognizance of Divine Love as the ground and being of all Christian service — from the marital relationship to social activism — was also the ground and center of then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s impetus as Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Faith.
This encyclical is great reading. My Protestant friends will be astonished at how poetically idealistic the Church is in matters of Love… but there it is. Yet it’s an idealism linked inextricably to Truth, not some pie-in-the-sky unattainable mush.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted because of computer problems (again!); in fact, I’m posting from a friend’s computer tonight.
Chorale rehearsals resumed after what seemed like an interminable month-long hiatus following the Messiah performance. Several of us made a point of getting together a couple of times over the holiday, but it was wonderful returning to the rehearsal venue on January 10 to pick up a new concert preparation. I’m singing soprano this semester; I’ve been working with Barb, the Chorale manager and my Raleigh roommate, and even with my lack of discipline and our irregular and infrequent schedule I’ve added almost half an octave to my upper range.
The schedule this semester is two concerts in May — the first with the NC Symphony, performing Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, followed a week later by our own subscription concert featuring the Bruckner Mass in E minor and several varied songs. I’ve never encountered German before and find the Mahler challenging, but the Bruckner is gorgeous and a joy to work on.
Another treat I’ll make mention of is that Barb and I went, the week-end of the 15th, to the sleepy little town of Mount Olive (home of the pickle company of the same name) to visit my friend, Fr. James Garneau. We had a wonderful and heartening visit on Saturday evening, and Sunday morning Barb sang “How Beautiful” from Messiah and I played for the parish’s sole English-speaking Mass and cantored the Psalm. Fr Jim is doing a wonderful work in that bastion of Baptist culture, and is greatly respected and loved by people of all faiths there; he is even teaching some history classes at the local Baptist college! Please remember him and his work there in your prayers.
I hope to be more regular in posting for a while, now. Thanks for your ongoing prayers. Much love to all.
My deepest sympathy and my prayers go out for the repose of the souls and the consolation of the loved ones of the victims of the mining disaster in West Virginia.
I was once engaged to a man from Ohio whose youngest brother had worked as a miner; even such an indirect link makes this tragedy all the more vivid and personal. I can’t help but be angry, too, although I’m not sure just where to direct my indignation. Is it comprommised workplace safety? The greed of mine owners? The callousness of consumers driving a demand for services and product that kills men? I just don’t know.