Oh Lord, purify me, make me a chalice in which you dwell, offer your sacrifice in me and spread your love through me. Let me shine like gold, adorn me with the jewels of virtue that I may always be open to you. Fill me. Overflow me. Let me be like that most perfect vessel, the Singular Vessel of Devotion, She to whom I cry for protection against the Evil One. I ask this for your glory, for the vessel is nothing without the sustenance inside, the cup nothing unless it is filled. Oh Lord, purify me.

Give me a word, Abba

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Where the moon hits your eye...

Italy, that land of wine and cheese. Italy, that land of mountains and lakes. Italy, that land of music and art. Italy, the land of the birth and rebirth of Western Civilisation, where Kingdoms, Republics, Empires, and Papacies have flourished, fallen and faded almost from memory.

It seems like such an important place. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. I could talk a lot about the politics and how much they fail at running a country, but I'm not interested right now in that. I'm interested in a Crisis that isn't particularly political. I recently read a blog post by a famous blogger that mentioned that the US is experiencing some crises. There are, for instance, some situations in the US that aren't quite good, as in the slaughter of innocent children, poverty in our cities and the breaking down of the moral character of our culture. Ok. I understand that. It's probably true. Certainly people I trust believe it. I've been somewhere else for almost an entire school year, but things probably haven't changed.

I've been away though as I said. I've been in Italy, where "the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie." In fact, I was in Napoli very recently, the place where they say that the pizza is particularly good. Maybe it is. I didn't try any.

Napoli is something else though too. It's been on the international radar quite a bit if I'm not mistaken for its garbage problem. Believe me, if Rome is bad, Napoli is worse. The homeless look more homeless, the streets look dirtier, the buildings look like they're in worse shape. In many ways, it looks like the end of a civilisation, which it might well be. But is this the point? Not quite.

We might think we have it bad in the US. Let me tell you, poverty looks worse here. I've walked though Chicago. I've walked through Milwaukee. I've walked through London. I've walked through Brussels. I've walked through Washington D.C. And now I've walked through Napoli and there's no comparison.

I can't tell you what it's like to walk with 47 students through a city full of grime, filth and poverty and all we're there to do is sketch classical details.

Except here's the thing, attached to the church of San Gregorio dei Armeni is a cloister of nuns who take care of 200 children who are displaced for one reason or another, whether poverty or the crimes of their parents. It's all still there. The Church amazingly still works in this city. Secular our society may be, but hope is definitely still there as long as the church is there, for where the Church is, there is Christ who is the hope of all. Can he magically snap his fingers and make all suffering on earth stop? I believe he could, but not without ending the world. The world is so messed up by selfishness, laziness, and sin in general and so people suffer. Then there's "natural" suffering from disease, not the direct consequence of sin. What is the meaning of this? Why does Christ let this happen to these people? A walk through puddles and wet feet is like nothing in comparison. I have to admit I don't understand it and I don't know what I can do about it.

I certainly would do something if I could.

But here I am, in the land of low key fascism and low key communism, monarchies and republics, the Mob and the mob and throughout all this, the poor and dirty shine through, trying to reflect the Sun as only they can...if only we will see it.

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