Moody on Monday

Simone Martini, 1333, Annunciation

Simone Martini, 1333, Annunciation

It’s Monday, and I’m exhausted from a full week of commitments, community events and meetings, a due date for Christian Century, and an overnight at the Convent of Saint John the Baptist in Mendham, NJ.  For her ordination, Sr. Eleanor Francis CSJB asked me to play flute on “A Simple Song” from Leonard Berstein’s Mass.  That piece, sung by the “celebrant” right after the chaotic and disturbing opening “kyrie” foreshadows the anguish this idealistic priest will encounter in his loss of faith.  A magnificent 17 year old singer ( a friend of Sr. Eleanor Francis) chose and sang this piece of music.  Katie wants to be a priest and musician and writer etc.  Oh, my Dear! 

Katie and I played the Bernstein piece at the end of the preludes – the last “word” before the procession rumbled toward the inevitable “I believe I am so called.”   Did Sr. Eleanor or Katie understand the significance of “A Simple Song” for an ordination – especially as an introit?  I doubt it.  Maybe the irony pierced me a little too deeply. 

We made Sister Eleanor a priest – all of us priests converging upon her during the veni creator spiritus.  Confined by the altar rails and narrowness of the sister’s chapel, we apparently pressed ourselves into the shape of a cross as we lay hands upon her.  A good enthusiastic crowd, a happy day, if a bit wistful for me.  But I met lots of old friends, as one does at these sorts of events – people from every decade of my adult life.  That seems an extraordinary part of the work of the spirit…

Today’s my ordination anniversary – next year will be the silver jubilee.  And, today I’m doing what I suppose I ought to be doing – I’m working the first stage of preparing this week’s post on the website linking the liturgical year to the “path of grace,” as my teacher Massey Shephard called it. 

During today’s gathering of material I searched The Web Gallery of Art for a couple of good Annunciations which might lend imagery to this week’s topic (the soul’s state of “passive purgation”).  I found this excellent scene: an Annunciation by Simone Martini (above) which expresses another important imagery of prayer: Leave Me The Hell Alone! 

Rogier van der Weyden, detail c. 1440

Rogier van der Weyden, detail c. 1440

I offer this picture to you on your journey.  Surely Martini’s Mary evokes how you feel when the spirit comes upon you – shattering a very finely crafted set of denials, spilling a goblet of vintage plans, or merely interrupting a good read.

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One Response to “Moody on Monday”

  1. Jenifer Says:

    Oh, I just love this portrayal of the annunciation. Probably the most realistic. Less eager to receive. Someone afraid. And yes, Suzanne, I DO know a goblet of plans spilled unexpectedly. You swirl such delightful words.

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