(Image: St Macarius the Great with Cherub, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)
So last Friday I found myself in an unfortunate position for a blogger. I don’t want to write outrage stuff but I was sitting on a pile of stuff I really felt I ought to object to, and that it would be worthwhile to share my reasons for doing so with all of you. I didn’t end up writing it, because some news and such came up. I found out Balthasar had a birthday, Mary found out I haven’t watched enough Cecil B. Demille, and so on- click on “Steel Magnificat” above and you will see in reverse order all the things we ended up writing about. You’ll see the things it was on my heart to write about over the next few days.
Not wanting to write angry, I started the day with an immunization, looking back at Mary’s post from a few months back on not participating in the culture war. It started out as just what Mary happened to write that day, but it is coming to feel more to me like a kind of policy statement. Of course we at Steel Magnificat are in the Catholic blogosphere, so expect us to disagree with others, even at times rather strongly. It will probably turn a little contentious, like it did last Friday. But when we do contend, please question the impulse to cheer if you think we are right. Please question the impulse to jeer if you think we are wrong. If we disagree with someone- maybe even dash out a slightly aggressive retort – remember as audience the same thing we need to remember as authors. Keep your most patient eye and ear and listen for the whys of our view, especially if you think we are correct. Do your best to understand the whys of those we argue against. I’ll try to be a decent example; feel free to state your objections in the comments if you think I don’t do a good job of it. We might contend, it might be difficult, but we can’t go into this seeking winners or losers. If it has to be struggle let it be agonistic if it needs to be, but not antagonistic if we can help it (to echo the odd but appropriate phrasing of channel editor Sam Rocha).
So this (and the post I will sharing with you all Monday) was on my mind as I was typing last night right before bed, and still in the back of my thoughts when we went to liturgy this morning. All through liturgy, I had the joyful experience of having the hymns and gospel of the day replace what the bones I had been gnawing up to that point. This morning’s gospel of the wicked tenants really helped to get my mind where it needed to be, a place I hope we all return to as often was we can – where am I missing noticing Christ? In whom did I see only faults (or, in my perception, faults)? When did I become the reason others failed to see Christ? And how to remember to see Him better, and get in the way less?
So, at liturgy today, I particularly appreciated the cherubic hymn we sing at Great Entrance. (For anyone unfamiliar with the byzantine liturgy- this takes the place corresponding to the offertory in the Latin Rite: Father collects the gifts at a table off to one side while we sing the first half of the hymn. He then processes them to the altar while intoning a litany, then we sing the remainder of the hymn.)
“Let us, who mystically represent the cherubim, and sing the thrice holy hymn to the life-creating Trinity, now set aside all earthly cares.
That we may welcome the king of all invisibly escorted by angelic hosts.”
It is good to remember to lay aside everything. Our concerns, our sins, what we hope to do next time instead of them, everything. To allow them all to be God’s problem for a while. Hopefully I can remember to do this not just at liturgy, but sometimes in the week and during each day as well. I am likely to be able to see Christ in others, and they are more likely to be able to see Him without my getting in the way, if I do.