I started reading Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? this week. His short novel is famously the basis for Ridley Scott’s science fiction masterpiece Blade Runner. The 2007 “Final Cut” of Blade Runner is absolutely one of my all-time favorites, hypnotically slow and hopeless. Naturally, Dick’s book has been something I’ve wanted to read for some time. I feel like Dick is one of those authors who has a lot of great and interesting ideas, yet has a hard time writing decent prose to convey it, similar to Daphne du Maurier cinematically fine-tuned short stories or to George Lucas’ struggles as a writer/director. Some people are just better suited to the big picture. I think Ridley Scott’s adaptation, as different as it is from Dick’s book, is more capable of exploring the themes that Dick wanted to peruse, with of course one major difference in Ridley Scott’s interpretation of the main character.
I attended my first Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts this week also. For those who don’t know, the Presanctified Liturgy is a Lenten Eucharistic liturgy without an Anaphora (Eucharistic prayer) of the Byzantine Churches. Of old the Byzantine fathers noted the incompatibility between feasting and fasting. Though Sunday is always a feast day (even during Lent), it was considered inappropriate to celebrate the Eucharistic feast on weekdays of strict fasting during Lent. However, the nourishment communicated to the faithful in the Eucharist was considered too great to abandon totally for forty days, so the ancient liturgists, among them Pope St. Gregory the Great Dialogist, devised the Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts, in which the bread and wine consecrated at Divine Liturgy on the previous Sunday is dolled out to the faithful usually on Wednesdays and Fridays. Indeed, the liturgy is altogether devoid of the joy of the Sunday Divine Liturgy. Instead it is characterized by a yearning but hopeful sadness, almost as if stepping back into the Old Testament looking forward to Christ. It is typically celebrated just before sundown, so that as the liturgy progresses it becomes darker and darker. It is a wonderful image indicative of the way nature and supernature can inform and enrich each other.
Our belovéd Lady Gaga released a new music video recently and to that I say ABOUT FREAKIN’ TIME! It is another one of her campy, semi-profound epics, this time filmed entirely (or so it appears) on the grounds of the notoriously decadent Hearst Castle in California. The song is not the best, but if it’s one thing Lady Gaga has taught us it’s that it’s not just about the music. So far nothing from ARTPOP has grabbed me like Born This Way did, and I doubt she’ll ever be as good as The Fame Monster again (remind me to write more about that). Enjoy (maybe):
This past Tuesday was the Feast of the Annunciation to the Theotokos, the only non-strict fasting weekday of Lent (besides its forefeast the day before. It celebrates the visitation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Theotokos, announcing her role in bearing the son of God. By her acceptance of the this task, “Be it done to me according to your will,” Our Lady fulfilled her role as the New Eve, succeeding where Eve failed, saying “yes” where Eve said “no”, recapitulating the Original Sin of our first parents. By her cooperation with grace salvation entered the world, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Therefore:
It is truly meet to bless thee, O Theotokos, who art ever blesséd and all-blameless and the Mother of Our God – more honorable than the Cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim – who a virgin bearest God the Word and are truly Theotokos, we magnify thee!
Another thought of Son of God: For a film which seems to celebrate Jesus’ Jewish religion, I was surprised that the Last Supper is portrayed in such a colloquial way. I cannot think of any film which actually gets the Passover Cedar Meal correct. They always show the Last Supper as a friendly get-together where they just happen to be eating dinner. In reality it is a Jewish liturgical ceremony involving feasting. This is why the disciples are so shocked when he stops the feast to go to the Garden of Gethsemane. It also echoes later on during the Crucifixion when Jesus says , “It is finished.” What he means is, by his death on the Cross, the Passover meal is completed. Again, like I said in the review, the oversimplification of the text does not do this film any favors.
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