Thursday, April 05, 2007


We have a particularly interesting commenter among us--Shir Ha-Magreyfah. I've been exchanging email with him and have his permission to blog some of it, since I would like you to know him better.

My blog-name means "The Sound (or Song) of the Organ", since this is what I do. I am the Associate Organist/Director of Music at a wonderful parish, located at the farthest Southern end of the Chicago Archdiocese; a parish in which I am starting my eleventh year of service, and whose people I love. The Pastor is one of my closest and dearest friends, a situation that began before I became employed at the parish, and has grown/flowered over the years.

I am not Catholic according to the Church's understanding, although I identify the Real Presence as a Catholic does, but use different language to express it. My prayer as an adolescent, to become a sacred bridge between Judaism and liturgical Christianity has been answered richly through this parish and others I have served during the past 20 years (as well as having sung in the pro-Cathedral of my home town while still a boy soprano -- at age 56, I no longer can reach those notes!)
As this post represents my first visit to the blogspot, I was unaware until now of your battle with breast cancer. Please know that I hold you firmly in my prayers for healing from this horrible disease, and pray that you be restored to complete health. Unless you write and tell me otherwise, I'd like to inscribe you in the parish's Book of Prayer, so that you become one of the intentions of the daily masses and communion services, as well as all dominical and ferial masses. I'll be watching your blog for news of your progress, and will join your rejoicing when this healing comes about.

We can agree to disagree, yet remain cordial and appreciative of each other and each other's quest for truth -- a rare perspective in today's dichotomous and divisive world. Yes, I am well aware of the skirmishes and sometimes, all-out wars among followers of this or that Bishop. As it distresses you, so it distresses me. It would seem that we could focus our "lenses" upon issues without condemning and wounding everyone who differs with us. How much more fruitful discussion would be than warfare, whether with words or weapons!

In responding to that email I mentioned the confusion that can develop out of looking at other religions. He responded:

Confusing --- or edifying. For me, it's worth the confusion for the edification that comes of it. In truth, anything a Catholic or other Liturgical Christian investigates in Judaism only can help strengthen his/her faith as a Christian. I include in that even some of the negative comments with respect to Jesus --- it shows us that, rather than allowing contemplation and quiet prayer to reveal an answer, a seemingly obvious one (and a judgment at that; S. I. Hayakawa, the semanticist, taught that "judgments stop thought") was chosen instead.

The Hellenic influence on Judaism was, in large part, to blame for what became a strict and inflexible legalistic approach -- God, who heretofore had been near and close to the Jewish people, had begun to appear more like a Zeus on some distant mountain who was to be appeased in order to avoid (an oh-so-anthropomorphic!) anger, hence the rigid adherence to commentary as though it were canon (there are no canons in Judaism to my knowledge, as there is no dogma as such). How tragic that the Judeo-Christian family was sundered and grew ever more distant from each other because of suspicion, misinformation, and in some cases, outright malicious rumor!

Carrie, think of this. If the Catholic Church were not to endure, would God have allowed it in the first place? After all, the Catholic Church gave the non-Jewish world the same hope of salvation and resurrection taught in traditional Judaism. Although unfortunate and dreadful hostilities have arisen over these 2000+ years, we are slowly coming together. In my case, in my mind's "eye", I faintly "see" the ancient Temple as the Eucharist takes place. If my opinion as (hopefully) a "sacred bridge" between Judaism and Catholicism means anything, by virtue of this same Eucharist, you are also the Chosen People. Take heart -- the fact that there is controversy in the open is better than its being held secret, then resulting in schism, scandal or worse!

It is troubling when turmoil and discord seem to reign, and for you to express it as burdensome is no more than offering your burden for someone else to lighten and share. Of course, had Vatican II been PROPERLY implemented, Latin and vernacular languages would have been side-by-side, rather than the (SHAMEFUL) burning of Libers and Graduals I witnessed during my early college years. How can one burn books in which the name of God is written?

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