Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Mass of Questions

Was it wise to get me started again? Today I have a question. A question that returns to trouble me when I stray beyond my accustomed paths of worship for whatever reason - or sometimes when I'm in my familiar environment and find myself profoundly grateful for what I find there.

So: the question. Why do Roman Catholics sound so perfunctory in the celebration of the Mass? The rapid delivery - so rapid that anyone unfamiliar with it can't make it out, microphones notwithstanding (yes, I know - the rapid mutter of the Mass is a cliché, but it's one that would be well abandoned), the perfunctory prayers, the almost apologetic readings ... I'm not even going to mention the music; I suppose that's something that rather depends on what you've got. But why make the holy mysteries sound so very matter-of-fact?

You can tell from this that I've had a recent experience. And I noticed one difference from the last time. They said "Amen" in the way I'm accustomed to, rather than with the stress on the second syllable with the "Ah" said as "Ae". Who brought this about? Was it part of the upheaval that took the liturgy back to the language of the Prayer Book?

So come on, good people. I want to know.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Planning or living?

This blog post is an act of conscience, brought on by Kelvin's reminder of how much I've been neglecting my blog. So here's a wee blether for today ...

A couple of hours ago I was phoned by a pleasant-sounding woman - youngish, I'd say, West of Scotland accent - offering to help me plan for my old age. Just a few questions would do it. And I'm afraid I laughed. No, no, she said - it's for anyone over 35; 35 to 80 year-olds can do this thing, whatever it was.

She was clearly not happy with me. I told her I was probably past planning for my old age, and that rather than think about it I really needed to get out to the shops as my bare larder might result in our not needing to plan further. And she let me go.

Thing is, I can't accept that I'm old. And if I think about planning for when I'm utterly ancient I become depressed. Which makes me wonder if in fact that only people who should be planning for their old age are my children's generation, because then it still seems unlikely that it's ever going to happen to you, this old age malarkey.

But take heed. It does happen - but people like me, we stick our heads in the sand and sing "la la, I can't hear you". We continue to wear jeans and turn our hair improbable colours. We walk and we sing and we go on holidays. We play on social media and we watch rubbish on the telly when our absurd lifestyle wears us out and we need a wee sit down.

We often laugh a lot. Sometimes we weep. People fall off their perches around us, and we become sober for a while. We talk about what the future might hold, and agree not to think about it. So don't ask me to plan for my old age. I'm too busy living. Right now.