Thursday, 10 May 2012

Imperfectly transmitted

For a couple of months, I have been spending an inordinate amount of time on a catholic parenting forum. Mostly this can be explained by the fact that I don't have an inordinate amount of time, just little bits of time here and there when the baby is asleep.

Still, I think I was fascinated by a certain innocent way of relating to the world and to God which I have lost entirely and will never recapture. I will never again pray to the Virgin Mary for this or that to happen. Not that I haven't tried, but the picture of squeletically thin children superimposes itself on my brain each and every time. I'm crushed and want to cry. In fact all I want to do when I attempt to pray is cry.

So, on this forum, I came across this manual of a choir boy. I browsed a few pages and could not believe my eyes. Although written in 1845, the style was timeless, for all I knew it could have been written five years ago. "This is an extraordinarily youthful, timeless voice" I thought, and really quite remarkable. I am a sucker for works written in this timeless voice, which to me is the hallmark of good style. But on that occasion it seemed to be exactly the same as the voice of the priest I grew up with.

I read a bit further and it was like trying to understand a foreign language you would have learned at school for a little bit years and years ago. Vaguely familiar, but distant and incomprehensible. How could this brand of catholicism have passed almost unchanged from the early 1800s to the mid 1990's and why did it stop with me? Why has this DNA change of some magnitude occured in my young soul which makes me unable to relate to that stuff on any further.

Actually, my metaphor of a foreign language is not the best one. What this feels like is more like waking up one day and realising you have forgotten how to speak your mother tongue. You can still live and function somehow but your mind is stunned and numb.

Since this is a state of affairs I can't really change, I tell myself "So what?" A Christian subculture thrives for a couple of hundred years in a particular time and a particular place, well that's a good thing. But if you can't relate to that one, there are plenty more to choose form, including some that haven't been thought up and codified yet. To hell with the scent of cold incense, this thing is alive, let us hear new timeless voices.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

Great to have found your blog. Btw, I had to google “squeletically.” It seems that you and one science fiction blog are the only ones that know about this word. Google suggests that you meant “Scelestically” which means, “Evil; wicked; atrocious,” but I’m sure that’s not what you meant. So there, I’v only read your blog once and my vocabulary of obscure words has almost doubled, obliged, daniel.