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Showing posts from February, 2015

Easter Proclamation - Exsultet - New Translation of the Roman Missal - P...

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A Lenten Apprenticeship

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Barring the realization that my voice is judged awful and offensive, I will be singing the the Exultet at this year's Easter Vigil. The text of this ancient hymn runs to nearly six pages and, depending on the singer's pacing, runs between ten and eleven minutes. It's my custom to preach no longer than eight minutes and, generally, I err on the side of four or five. Having to sing twice as long as I'm accustomed to speaking...this will be something!

Some people give up chocolate, or alcohol, or meat for Lent. Others commit themselves to more time spent in prayer. My Lenten journey will be recorded in and through the text of an intimidating song. I thought, then, that it might be fitting to break the text up into small sections and offer a few words of reflection upon it.


Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven, exult, let Angel ministers of God exult, let the trumpet of salvation sound aloud our mighty King's triumph!
Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her, …

Delayed Gratification

Last night I began reading a remarkable book entitled Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men. Written by sociologist Michael Kimmel, the book attempts to offer a map of the terrain young men face today in order to help them "steer a course with greater integrity and honesty, so they can be true not to some artificial code, but to themselves."

Kimmel quotes a young graduate student in psychology:
I feel like my whole life has been one long exercise in delayed gratification...I mean, in high school, I had to get good grades, study hard, and do a bunch of extracurricular things so I could get into a good college. Okay, I did that. Went to Brown. Then, in college, I had to work really hard and get good grades so I could get into a good graduate school. Okay, I did that. I'm here at Wisconsin. Now, though, I have to work really hard, publish my research, so I can get a good tenure track job somewhere. And then I'lll have to work really hard for six years just …

A Frozen Prison

As the morning sun begins to creep over the horizon, the new day's light illuminates a pretty stark scene: just about four feet of snow has fallen. Four feet might not sound like a lot, but when it is pushed and plowed up, the sidewalks - where plowed - become little more than rabbit warrens leading a walker (hopefully) to his destination. Add to this frigid temperatures, with windchill as low as -25 Fahrenheit, and it's hard not to feel that one is living in a winter prison. 
When I head up to class this morning, I'll try to get a few pictures and upload them. It really is remarkable to walk to campus and find cars completely buried in snow. And, by buried, I mean totally encased. 
Yet I can aver: neither sub-zero winds nor towering piles of snow will deter some students from wearing shorts to school. I have no doubt that, as I stand in line to buy a cup of hot tea, at least one student will walk past wearing shorts, as though to stand in fashionable defiance of our wint…

Another Snow Day

Last night, before I went to bed, I prayed fervently that we'd not have a snow day today. One of my seminars, "Theology in a Secular Age," meets each Monday and it's a topic in which I'm keenly interested. The main text for the course is Charles Taylor's A Secular Age, a sprawling tome in which the author attempts to answer the question, "Why was it virtually impossible not to believe in God in, say, 1500 in our Western society, while in 2000 many of us find this not only easy, but even inescapable?" 
The book is a very long, and very challenging, narration of how we got to be where we are today. It is a story far more complicated than the one we typically hear. The typical narrative runs something like this: In the old days, when we didn't know as much as we do now, we needed to believe in a God to explain lots of things. But as we advanced in science and technology, we were able to shake off these silly beliefs and settle into a world governe…