Sunday, December 25, 2011

Beyond a "Good Cause"

There are benefits to living now.

Well, wasn't that cryptic as all get out? Thems that know me as the arduous skeptic optimist existentialist wastrel that I be are going "O dooty, he's on a rant again."
Not this time. By "now" I mean in this era of immediacy, particularly the bane of some and the very manna of many, that which is called "The social network." I mean, I've sworn to any that would listen that FACEBOOK is literally Satan's Little Black Book. Like, why would it need to singe its number into the scalps of little miscreant toddlers holding huge Bowie knives, or brand bar codes onto or into our dermal tissue when it has "followers?" Please.
I got egg on m'face. I hate eggs. All eggs, right out of the rear of a hen or poached in some Oster steamer. Eggs smell like sulfur (get it?). Eggsmell, cat pee, skunk emission? It's a draw.
But the egg on me face is that my eldest daughter put together a wonderful benefit concert of both seasonal (Christmas, secular and sacred) songs and "new" BroadwaChary favorites in JUST TWO WEEKS via Facebook to benefit our local Children's Hospital NICU unit. Both our grandsons were premies, but little JC was born at 26 weeks five years ago, and virtually lived in that NICU for three or four months. And then the inevitable respiratory problems surfaced that required a two year period in which JC was trached, and couldn't vocalize until after he'd turned two. (He hasn't stopped talking or singing since, though!)
Charlotte, second from right
Anyway, a local downtown eatery, renovated from many incarnations in a hundred year old building, graciously offered the space, and tons of people showed up. In less than two weeks, no formal publicity, and a lot of people from a thorough cross section of theatre people, church people, parent people with kids helped by Childrens' Hospital raised nearly a grand without breaking a sweat, and a great time had by all.
What I noticed from our proud parent perch back of the eatery house was that as soon as my daughter welcomed everyone with a song, she then invited the crowd to join in singing "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" every soul there took it up immediately. I couldn't help but wonder then why it seems like we in Catholic music ministry must often feel like by merely announcing or listing a hymn/carol/song whatever for our congregations that we're oral surgeons with halitosis threatening medieval tools and techniques upon the congregants'  sensibilities and comfort zones as if they were to undergo a root canal. I mean it's singing!
I can help make chanting "Attende Domine" a pleasant experience, if folks would just let their hair and pretense defenses down. But I think that's my point, yet again. It comes down to intent!
The audience for the benefit was there for a tangible, but TEMPORAL reason. But they meant to be there even after less than two weeks' notice. Roamin'-minded Catholics know that they can BE THERE each Lord's Day. And as I've stated before, my experience affirms that your guaran-darn-teed hunnerd percent partipatio actuoso Masses include HOLY THURSDAY, Thanksgiving Day and _____ (fill in your blank.)
Oh, and daily Mass. Daily Mass people are serious. As are TLM folk. Maybe the participation at those sorts of liturgies varies according to the "cheerleading" congnescenti who would likely point AK47's at anyone on Sunday not actually moving their lips during the singing of "All are welcome." It's about INTENT.
Well, my grandson and all those children across the globe who've been lifted from tragedy's clutches by the Childrens' Hospitals, Mayo Clinics, St. Jude's will hopefully pay it forward as my daughter is trying to do.
But I sure would like someone to explain to me how believers who fret, worry, obligate themselves, make cosmic bets or subscribe to existential superstitions in order NOT to be consigned to Hell or otherwise outside of whatever they imagine heaven to be, still and yet don't get that there's a whole lotta singin' goin' on in that very heaven, because that's what lovers do! They sing love songs to the ONE who gives meaning to their being creatures in creation, their creator. And perhaps they ought to remember that these angels and archangels, Thrones and Dominions who acclaim "Hosanna" without end may have harps in their duffel bags like popular culture has deluded us. But they also are a formidable host of fearful creatures who mean business more than any U.S. Navy Seal team.
Good on ye, my child. And thank you for using your gift to honor God, the real healer of our boy and millions of other children, with your voice. My advice for vocal laggards and zombies, get some voice lessons. And quick.

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