- Not being conformed to the spirit of the world, but
- Being transformed by the renewal of our mind.
Have you ever really had one of those shocking shockers that just shocks you in a way that you never expected to be shocked? Well, this might be one of them.
We've just had Pentecost. We are back to Ordinary Time, and Fridays abound. In fact, we are coming up on one. Not Fridays in Eastertide, or the Friday after Christmas, but just a Friday. And you know what that means? Well, maybe not. So let me try to break it to you gently, in case you don't know. Well, heck. No. Here goes.
No meat on Fridays.
Whaaaat?! Isn't that only in Lent?
Nope. It's all year long, baby. It's kinda one of those everyone-thinks-but-it's-not-true things that Catholics no longer have to abstain from meat on Fridays. Don't believe me? Read these canons from the Code of Canon Law (1983), which is the law of the Church in effect now (emphasis mine).
by G. K. Chesterton
If I ever go back to Baltimore,
The city of Maryland,
I shall miss again as I missed before
A thousand things of the world in store,
The story standing in every door
That beckons with every hand.
I shall not know where the bonds were riven
And a hundred faiths set free,
Where a wandering cavalier had given
Her hundredth name to the Queen of Heaven,
And made oblation of feuds forgiven
To Our Lady of Liberty.
I shall not travel the tracks of fame
Where the war was not to the strong;
When Lee the last of the heroes came
With the Men of the South and a flag like flame,
And called the land by its lovely name
In the unforgotten song.
If ever I cross the sea and stray
To the city of Maryland,
I will sit on a stone and watch or pray
For a stranger’s child that was there one day:
And the child will never come back to play,
And no-one will understand.
(I wish I'd ever shot a picture that more closely matches the poem; but the mismatch between the two makes me want to go back with my camera.)
Today is the Memorial of Ephrem the Syrian.
He was a deacon, and wrote numerous poems and hymns to counter heresies that were flourishing at the time, and threatening to drag down the relatively young Christian community of Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq or eastern Turkey). In 1920, Pope Benedict XV declared him a doctor the Church, and his meditations on the Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin were very influential on contemporaries and on the next generation of church leaders, and through them, the rest of the Church. He went to his eternal glory in the year 373 or so.
Here is a poem of his, in praise of the three bishops of Nisibis whom he considered particularly holy. My Syriac class translated it together in grad school.
Here's a link to more of his writing, but not translated by yours truly.
Normally, I don't write much about photography or my photography work in this particular forum. This time, I have decided to do so, though, because of the spiritual dimension. I want to improve my craft, you see, but do photography professionally, and so when I don't have to do it, I often don't want to. The thing is, though, that there are periods when I don't have as much work as I should have to keep myself busy. (I have other work, that is more my staple. Don't worry about me!) So I've decided on a new challenge for myself: any day on which I do not do photography work for pay, I will shoot a roll of film, 21st century style. That is, I will shoot twenty four digital exposures, no more, no less. All images will be processed before going to bed. With just twenty four images, that should be nice and doable. I will show off the good ones, and as always, spare humanity the junk. Going forward, I think I will also force myself to do the whole day at the same ISO, since you couldn't change the ISO on a roll of film. Today, I didn't do that, but I did stick with the same lens the whole day. That brings up another point. I think I will put a constraint or two on any given day's shooting: same lens, same shutter speed, deliberately overexpose every image, or something. That's my challenge to myself.
What I hope to gain from it includes: keeping in the game, learning to be more creative within constraints, a bit of frugality and deliberation to counter the digitally-fueled trend of spray-and-pray for a good shot, a concrete and quantifiable goal, and a bit of diligence and consistency.
Let's see how it goes. Hit this link to see the first day's keepers.