Cutting Dawn

Something about Dawn:

Old English Ēostre, which gave modern English'd Easter, is thought to derive from Proto-Germanic *austrōn meaning "dawn", itself a descendent of the Proto-Indo-European root *aus-, meaning "to shine" (modern English "east" also derives from this root).

Ēostre or Ostara is a Germanic goddess who, by way of the Germanic month bearing her name, is the namesake of the festival of Easter in some languages.

Ēostre is attested solely by Bede in his 8th-century work The Reckoning of Time, where Bede states that during Ēosturmōnaþ (the equivalent of April), pagan Anglo-Saxons had held feasts in Ēostre's honor, but that this tradition had died out by his time, replaced by the Christian Paschal month, a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.

The songs of the Neocatechumenal Way are collected in a book named Resucitó (He rose from death). Most of them were composed by Francisco "Kiko" Argüello, others by Italian musicians or participants of the movement. They usually have a style influenced by Flamenco and Israeli music, and occasionally by Negro spirituals.

Based on the Liturgical Movement, specially the ideas of Romano Guardini and Rudolf Schwarz, that would influence the Second Vatican Council renew of liturgy, the Neocatechumenal Way began in 1964 as a community of Gipsies and marginalised poor, who gathered around Argüello , who had come to live among them with his Bible and guitar in the shanty town of 'Palomeras Altas' in Madrid.

The Second Vatican Council, fully the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, and informally known as Vatican II, addressed relations between the Catholic Church and the modern world.

Several changes resulted from the council, including the renewal of consecrated life with a revised charism, ecumenical efforts towards dialogue with other religions, and the universal call to holiness, which according to Pope Paul VI was "the most characteristic and ultimate purpose of the teachings of the Council".

The universal call to holiness is rooted in baptism, and the Paschal Mystery.

Paschal Mystery is one of the central concepts of Catholic faith relating to the history of salvation. Its main subject is the passion, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ – the work "God the Father sent his Son to accomplish on earth".

Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox Christian churches celebrate this mystery on Easter. It is recalled and celebrated also during every Eucharist, and especially on a Sunday, which is the Pascha of the week.

The very first known use of the term Paschal mystery (literally Mystery of the Pascha) was found in the homily of Melito of Sardis On the Pascha written between A.D. 160 and 170:

Understand, therefore, beloved,

how it is new and old,
eternal and temporary,
perishable and imperishable,
mortal and immortal, this mystery of the Pascha:
old as regards the force
but new as regards the Word;
temporary as regards the model,
eternal because of grace
perishable because of the slaughter of the sheep,
imperishable because of the life of the Lord;
mortal because of the burial in earth,
immortal because of the rising from the dead

— On the Pascha, 2-3

Navigating the Matrix

We may or may not be living in a Virtual Reality. But what difference does it make?

Reality is as reality does.

Even in a Virtual World, like in many of the world game constructs I have been playing, you still want to make good things happen.

Or, at least, I do.

It does differ from players to players.

It all depends, basically, on the kind of game one happens to be into. Some are into destruction, and breaking the game, and playing bad ass evil characters who go on a killing spree massacring NPC and burning towns to the ground.

While I do understand the appeal (for some, those roles are just an opportunity to manifest their shadow; for others, it springs from a political/metaphysical "Lucifer Unchained" kind of anarchist manifestation of their revolt against the perceived injustice/authoritarian/arbitrariness of Order, i.e. "the powers that be," the hypocrisy and violence of society, and of God’s creation - Let’s face it many of mankind’s gods are assholes in their own rights, and the Judeo-Christian God of the Old Testament is no exception.)

Me? Call me a goodie Two-Shoes, I am more into making good things happen.

Which, takes me to this morning encounter, as I was exiting the train on my way to work today.

This cute little brunette approaches me, and says:

"Excuse me, can you help me with something?"

I thought, at first, that she was going to hit me for money. I was hit once, by a girl about the same age, at the local Donuts Shop near the station, as I was ordering some coffee and a chocolate donut. "Excuse me," she’d said. "Can you buy me an Apple Fritter?” The Clerk at the counter looked at me quizzically, and I just said "Give her an Apple Fritter." True Story!

In any case, the girl, this morning, just wanted directions. She had just gotten up the ramp looking for a train to take her to the Union Station and wanted to know if this was the right place and what train to take.

I obligingly pointed to the train I had just gotten out of, that was just departing, and told her that this would have been the one, but, not to worry, that another one, going the same direction, would be arriving soon enough. They have trains running every 5 to 10 minutes or so.

She then asked me, where she could purchase a ticket.

And I thought, Aha! this must be the part where she asks me for money.

I pointed to another set of stairs at the end of the dock, and told her to just follow me, that I would take her to where the ticket machines were.

"Are you French?" she asked.

I told her that I was.

As it turned out, she happened to be French, too.

"Je n’aurais jamais deviné," lui ai-je dit. "Vous n’avez pas le moindre accent français."

"Oh! Si! Si! Quand même un peu," m’a-t-elle répondu, un peu rougissante, mais visiblement flattée.

"Moi, cela fait des années que je vis aux States," ai-je ajouté. "Mais je parviens pas à me défaire de mon accent."

"On ne perd jamais son accent," a-t-elle commenté d’un ton léger.

Nous sommes descendus les escaliers.

"Vous êtes étudiante?" lui ai-je demandé.

"Oui!" “A Irvine,” a-t-elle ajouté. "Et vous?" a-t-elle continué. "Vous travaillez ici?"

"Je travaille dans une fabrique de chocolat," lui ai-je répondu.

Je lui ai indiqué les machines au pied des escaliers, et lui ai demandé si elle savait s’en servir. Elle m’a répondu que oui.

"Parfait!" me-suis-je exclamé.

Je lui ai souhaité une bonne journée.

"Vous de même," a-t-elle répondu.

Puis, nous nous nous sommes dit au-revoir.

She didn’t ask me for any money.

Who was that mysterious woman? And what was the meaning of her manifesting in the Matrix at this point in time?

There is no knowing...

Was there any meaning to this?

Whatever the case may be, it did cause me to think.

Granted, it doesn’t take me much to think about almost anything, even the most trivial of things, those days. As a matter of fact, most people do it all the time. But I do find significance in the most mundane things.

And it got me reflecting on the kind of people we have been associating with, lately. And I thought how smoothly spontaneous and easy and unstressful that exchange with that young woman had been.

Although, we were total strangers in the middle of a crowd, there was between us a level of familiarity and recognition that one normally only experiences with people one has known for some time.

And, I thought to myself, "She is one of my tribe." And, I didn’t just mean the fact that she was French, though that probably did help somewhat, as it most certainly causes us to have many things in common, genetically, historically and culturally, but I was also referring to that certain je ne sais quoi, of which the psychological make-up of individual personalities is made. (I do not get along with all French people, but I do get along with some French people.) My thought was, she is not just one of my tribe, but she’s also one of my kind. And, before you ask, there was nothing sexual about it, the thought didn’t even enter my mind (which is interesting, in itself, considering I am a male, and, as you know, it is a well-recognized fact — Or myth? I’ll just have to take the fifth on that one — that men think about sex all the time) the attraction was not one of sex-appeal, but one of heart-mind affinity.

As I have been feeling a wee bit alienated from the Groupthink mind of some of the people I work with at the chocolate factory, of late, and even from some of the uncouth friends (I won’t name any names) we congregate with around St. Patrick's, this came as the most perfect kind of remedy I needed, at the most perfect time.

This takes us back to the topic of this post: "Navigating the Matrix."

There is a reason one may at times feel like a stranger in a strange land.

As Attanasio poetically put it "The brain is a flower that eats oxygen, but where are its roots?"

Holiday Mathis has it right:

Wherever "there" is.

If there is anything to be learned from my morning train encounter, is that, whether we live in a Matrix, or not, we are not alone.

One lesson I certainly have learned from RPG is: Characters Count.

That girl, this morning, I was sad to let her go. And I could tell that the feeling was mutual. We should have exchanged cards or something. But it all went too fast and the circumstances weren't right.