September 9, 2016

Two Rivers, the Mystic Union

"There are two rivers that encircle the whole of life; the two touch and renew each other, without ever co-mingling or confusing..." D.H. Lawrence, A Propos of Lady Chatterley's Lover

When Will I See You Again
by Babyface

When can my heart beat again
When does the pain ever end
When do the tears stop from running over
When does you'll get over it begin
I hear what you're saying
But I swear that it's not making sense
So when can I see you

When can I see you again
When can my heart beat again
When can I see you again
When can I breathe once again

The great 20th century English wordsmith and thinker,   
D.H. Lawrence, had many things to bring forth to his readers. Some conveniently have reduced him to the word, sex. However the writer, in his own words, shows that he is more thoughtful and more searching than any facile pre-determination borne by others.

In his little book, an essay of 63 pages, Lawrence writes in 1931, two years after his Lady Chatterley's Lover was published in Europe, at a time when bootleg copies began to appear elsewhere, that he was aware there was a storm prompted by its appearance; many places banned the story as obscene.
Here the Author, Lawrence checks in:
"As David was mad for Bathsheba [in the Bible]... But when a woman's sex has lost its dynamic call, and in a sense is dead or static, then the woman wants to attract men... she exposes her flesh more and more... men are repelled by her, but socially thrilled... a chic declaration of independence, it is modern, free, popular because it is strictly a-sexual or anti-sexual... They want the counterfeit, mental substitution... The very men who encourage women to be the most daring, complain most bitterly of the sexlessness of women... Man is often willing to be deceived-- for a time-- even by nothingness...
The point is when women are alive, quivering, helplessly attractive, they will cover themselves, drape themselves with clothes gracefully... While sex is a power in itself, women try all disguises and men flaunt... 
The Catholic Church, especially in the south [southern Europe], is neither anti-sexual, like the northern churches, nor a-sexual like Mr. Bernard Shaw and such social thinkers. The Catholic Church recognizes sex, and makes it marriage, a sacrament based on the sexual communion... The man is a potential creator, law-giver, father and husband... lives full and satisfied...
The Catholic Church does not spend its time reminding people that there is no marrying nor giving in heaven. So that sexual lure is not deadly to the Church. Much more deadly is the flippancy, "freedom," cynicism, irreverence... in the dangerous, vulgar form of atheism. Naturally the Church is against it. The Chief Priest of Europe knows more about sex... because he knows more about the essential nature of the human being..."
-- A Propos of Lady Chatterley's Lover

August 26, 2016

The Song of Ascent

My Joy
by Depeche Mode

My joy, the air that I breathe
My joy, in God I believe
You move me

My joy, the blood in my veins
My joy, flows in your name
You move me

I'm not a mountain, no
You move me

My joy, heavenly bliss
My joy, the pleasure I miss
You move me

I'm not a mountain, no
You move me

To your Joy (Depeche Mode), I am Rapture (Anita Baker); to your queen (Alicia Keys), you, love, are King (Sade). Together these few modern song examples form a coherent theme. Song for many is prayer; it's magic. It raises us up, outward, beyond our everyday selves. It inspires and lends insight. In the biblical Songs of Ascent there are the Psalms 120-125 of the Tanakh informing and encouraging: to be faithful, patient and true to our Lord, the one who makes, who creates with us, protects his creation, gives sight to the wise and sound to the prayerful. He is merciful and forgiving. Peace and justice are his ways; this is the way of the faithful Christian as much as the faithful Jew.

Thus the Psalm was born. Out of a deep desire for wisdom and prayer, psalms are to be chanted or sung, The following Songs of Ascent can be summarized by two great sixth century mystics, saying:

"My beloved children, I embrace you in the Lord, imploring him to keep you from all evil and to give you endurance like Job, grace like Joseph, meekness like Moses and courage in combats like Joshua, the son of Nun, mastery of your thoughts like the Judges, the subjection of enemies as to kings David and Solomon, fruitfulness of the earth as to the Israelites. May he grant you the remission of your sins with healing of the body like the paralytic. May he rescue you from the waves like Peter, and snatch you from tribulation like Paul and the other apostles. May he keep you from all evil, as his true children and grant you, in his name, what your heart requests, for the benefit of the soul and body. Amen"
--Barsanuphius and John of Gaza, Epistles

A part of the Song of Ascents follows here. For the complete Songs of Ascent, see the Psalms 120-134.

Prayer of a Returned Exile Psalm 120
A song of ascents

The LORD answered me
when I called in my distress:
LORD, deliver me from lying lips,
from treacherous tongues.

What will the Lord inflict on you,
O treacherous tongue,
and what more besides?
A warrior's sharpened arrows
and fiery coals of brush wood!

Alas, I was an alien in Meshech,
I lived near the tents of Kedar!
Too long did I live
among those who hated peace.
When I spoke of peace,
they were for war.