My father is buried in a venerable Washington cemetery.
The place is run by a very strange individual. I know this because I negotiated with him about having my dad buried with our forebears.
Anyway, I thought I would pay my dad a visit on the occasion of our Lady’s birthday today.
As I entered the cemetery, I was confronted with the sight of a small, wooden Washington Monument, with a dragon on the top of it.
I would have been stunned. But I knew the handiwork of my old friend.
Three years ago, as he and I drove across the cemetery to see if there was room to put my dad next to his grandmother, the custodian asked the man in a Roman collar sitting next to him: “So…what religion do you follow?”
Anyway…Apparently a storm killed a few old oaks in the cemetery. So my buddy hired a chainsaw artist to sculpt the tree trunks into a depiction of Revelation 20.
Not a good idea. Sculptures of Revelation 20 are not recommended, even under the best circumstances. A “chainsaw sculpture” of Satan being released from hell, carved into the dead trunk of an oak tree? Well, it’s a prescription for hideousness.
My dad is buried fifty yards from Constantino Brumidi, an illustrious nineteenth-century artist who painted the “Apotheosis of Washington” in the Capitol dome. Brumidi’s august presence makes “Unleashed!” (the new sculpture’s title) all the more incongruous.
Thankfully, my father’s grave is not in the same section as “Unleashed!” You can still see both the Basilica to the north and the National Cathedral to the west while you are standing at my dad’s grave. It is still a beautiful, peaceful place. And when the Last Day comes, and my dad stands up again, the fire of God’s glory will have burnt the ugly sculpture to ashes.
…If you didn’t have the chance to read it a year ago, perhaps you would like to read last year’s post for the Blessed Virgin’s birthday.
If you are a Lord of the Rings fan, then you know that Shelob is the ancient, giant spider that almost killed Frodo when he entered the land of Mordor.
Few of us would want to encounter such a creature. Nonetheless, it is fun for any afficionado of Middle Earth to visit Louise Bourgeois’ sculpture. The truculent iron spider is currently in front of the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington.
…The Lord Jesus said: “Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.”
St. Therese of Lisieux wrote:
I look upon myself as a weak little bird…I am not an eagle…In spite of my extreme littleness, I still dare to gaze upon the Divine Sun, the Sun of Love, and my heart feels within it all the aspirations of the eagle…
O Jesus, I know and so do You that the imperfect little creature, while remaining in its place (that is, under the Sun’s rays), allows itself to be somewhat distracted from its sole occupation. It picks up a piece of grain on the right or on the left; it chases after a little worm; then coming upon a little pool of water, it wets its feathers still hardly formed. It sees an attractive flower and its little mind is occupied with this flower. In a word, being unable to soar like the eagles, the poor little bird is taken up with the trifles of earth.
And yet, after all these misdeeds, instead of going and hiding away in a corner, to weep over its misery and to die of sorrow, the little bird turns toward its beloved Sun, presenting its wet wings to its beneficent rays. It cries like a swallow and in its sweet song it recounts in detail all its infidelities, thinking in the boldness of its full trust that it will acquire in even greater fullness the love of Him who came to call not the just but sinners.
Jesus, I am too little to perform great actions, and my own folly is this: to trust that Your Love will accept me.
–St. Therese of Liseux, Story of a Soul, chapter IX (Manuscript B)