(We have a Novena to the Infant at our parish every Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., by the way!)
But His Holiness’ main reason for heading east this past weekend was to be as far away from Detroit as possible. He was basically on the other side of the earth. He was 4,355 miles away from Ford Field when the darkness descended.
On the other hand, fatal subway crashes, endless delays, surprise station closures, and other signs of managerial incompetence are usually atributable to human error.
…For the record, my disapproval of John Catoe’s regime began two years ago, when he instituted the following public-address message in the stations:
We have a lot of escalators in our system. You’ll notice that most people stand on the right side. And while you’re riding, hold the handrail for your safety. Enjoy your trip, and thank you for riding Metro.
This is not an effective message. It is an effete message.
But Catoe did not want to insist that anyone stand to the right. He didn’t want to give an order. He thought doing so would only encourage Type-A personalities to rush through stations in a furious hurry on the left.
Call me a Type-A personality if you want–call me something worse–but I do not think “stand to the right” is a suggestion. It is like the eleventh Commandment. It is escalator Rule Number One.
1956 in New York: The I.R.T. has a subway station which has been flooded by the Fire Department, and there is a train sunk into the roadbed. Everything is fully repaired and operational five days later.
2009 in Washington: John Catoe does not want to encourage rushing. It is the deadliest, most bogged-down year in the history of Metro. The WMATA Board renews his contract and gives him a standing ovation.
In the 1920’s, art snobs complained that suits of armor do not belong in world-class museums filled with paintings by such geniuses as Pablo Picasso.
Au contraire: Many suits of armor are exquisite works of art.
One may discover this fact for oneself by visiting The Art of Power, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. It is just about the coolest museum exhibit ever.
…Back to El Greco: His most famous painting is “Burial of Count Orgaz,” which is in a church in Toledo, Spain.
One of the benefactors of the church was such a good and pious man that, when he died, Saints Stephen and Augustine came down from heaven to lay the dead man in his casket.
(click once or twice on the picture to see it even larger)
The painting is so grand, it opens heaven up to our contemplation.
But for many of us the most excellent thing about the painting is…the vestments worn by the saintly clerics.
If you zoom in on St. Stephen’s dalmatic, you can see–right beside the little boy, who is supposedly painted to resemble El Greco’s son–a tiny little El Greco painting of the first Christian martyrdom, as embroidery on the vestment. (St. Stephen is the first martyr.)
In honor of St. Matthew’s feast day, we present El Greco’s portrait of him:
This painting is in the El Greco Museum in Toledo, Spain.
As you can see, El Greco’s figures are elongated.
The museum guide in the Prado in Madrid told us that all the people in El Greco’s paintings are 13% taller than they should be.
By the by…El Greco was indeed a Greek. He was from Crete. (He was a Cretan, though hardly a cretin.)
The Spaniards could not pronounce his name, so they called him “The Greek.” (No relation to Jimmy the Greek.)
Jean Poyet was a late-medieval illuminator who produced the beautiful image of the Mass you see below. He also drew a magnificent St. Matthew.
The picture of St. Matthew is in the “Book of Hours of Henry VIII,” which is in the Morgan Library in New York. Alas, I cannot find the image of St. Matthew anywhere on the ol’ internet, so here’s Poyet’s picture of the Holy Mass instead.
The Havemeyers had travelled extensively in Europe to acquire paintings by artists that the other American collectors did not know about.
One of the countries they visited was Spain, and one of the artists they “discovered” was El Greco.
Their interest in El Greco’s paintings transformed him from an obscure sixteenth-century painter to one of the giants of the art world.
When I was sixteen, I had the opportunity to visit Spain. We toured the Museo del Prado, and I laid eyes on the paintings of El Greco for the first time.
To say that they are ethereal is an understatement. To say that they are sublime is to say too little. To say that they are spiritual is true–but it sounds lame. El Greco is simply the greatest, in a class by himself.
Not sure how to watch the “Golf Channel.” But if I could, I would definitely tune in for Raymond’s golf lessons…
Let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room. Let’s stop taking around things. Let’s stop living in a fantasy world.
The problem has a name.
He is tall. He is handsome.
But he is not a good NFL quarterback. He never has been, and he never will be.
The problem IS: Number 17, Jason Campbell…
In honor of Friday, the day our Lord carried the cross, we present a beautiful meditation submitted by an anonymous reader:
Simon says… Blood, Sweat, and Incense
A great gift was given to St Simon of Cyrene; a gift he didn’t want at first. He didn’t want to become involved in Our Dear Lord’s Passion. He probably would have preferred to be an anonymous face in the crowd. He was merely a strong man in the right place, at the right time. Simon was pressed into service; forced to assist our Dear Lord in His struggle. But, through this forced burden, Simon became a great saint.