Friday, 4 April 2014

Everybody Loves B.A.


Seraphic (standing on toes): This is what I would look like if I were 5'4".

B.A.: You're fine at 5'2". Why do you want to be 5'4"?

Seraphic: I don't really. But I would like to decompress my spine. Apparently all you need is five minutes a day on an inversion table.

B.A.: What is an inversion table?

Seraphic: Oh, it's really neat. It's a sort of board and you strap yourself into it and then you flip it over and hang upside down by your ankles.

B.A. (seeing where this is going, i.e. wallet): We don't need an inversion table.

Seraphic: Wah! But I want to decompress my spine!

B.A.: Well, what else can you do to decompress your spine?

Seraphic: Well, I suppose you could hold me upside down by my ankles. Let's try!

B.A.: You're mental. I can't hold you upside down by your ankles.

Seraphic: Why not? I weigh only one-hundred-and-thirty-three pounds.

B.A. Because it is physically impossible.

Seraphic: But you're a MAN. A big, strong MAN.

B.A.: Yes, but I would have to hold my arms up HERE. I could only hold a sack of potatoes from up HERE. And I would hurt my back.

Seraphic (abashed) : Oh! I don't want you to hurt your back. Maybe I could do a headstand or a handstand?

B.A.: But that wouldn't decompress your spine. Gravity would just compress your spine into your neck.

Seraphic: So hanging from my ankles is the only way?

B.A.: Yes.

Seraphic (dubiously): I wonder if I can even do a handstand.

(Seraphic turns her back on B.A. and attempts to do a handstand. Without warning, B.A. grabs her flailing ankles and pulls upward.)


(B.A. drops Seraphic. Seraphic giggles uncontrollably.)

B.A.: I really don't understand why you want to be taller.

Seraphic: I don't want to be taller. I want to decompress my SPIIIIIINE!

My column responding to the deacon who wrote a letter saying I put down the "new Mass" and suggesting I want it banned has appeared online for free. (I guess it's my week for the free-view column.) Here it is.

I suppose the only thing to add is that he was responding to my column (behind a firewall, alas) about how the most beautiful Mass in Toronto is Solemn High Mass at Holy Family Church on Sunday mornings. The point of that column was to alert people who long for beauty at Mass to this Mass, so they would know where to go. As in Toronto you can go to German Mass, Polish Mass, Italian Mass, Chinese Mass, Vietnamese Mass--all kinds of Masses catering to your preferred language or ethnic group--and even a Praise and Worship Music Mass, it seemed fair to me to publicize a Mass that is characterized by the highest possible beauty and solemnity.

I made no claims that it was anyone's dearest Mass, using the analogy of a mother. When you are five, you are convinced that your own mother is the best and most beautiful mother in the world, and so I suppose many, many Catholics feel the same about their own parish mass, and that is good. But naturally Zhang Ziyi and Aishwaryi Rai Bachchan beat old Mum hollow when it comes to objective feminine beauty, as you realize when you grow up. Not that you care. You love your mother because she is your mother while cheerfully acknowledging that she's not as stunning as the brightest stars of the silver screen, and feeling no guilt when you revel in their beauty.

To tell the truth about the Extraordinary Form is not to trash the Ordinary Form any more than to say that my Temporary Pretend Polish Daughter is the reigning beauty of the Historical House is to say I'm a wrinkled old hag. (And, indeed, I said the Holy Family EF is more beautiful than the Edinburgh EF, though naturally I am fonder of the Edinburgh EF.) I know that some liturgists have serious theological objections to the Ordinary Form, but I am not yet convinced this means the N.O. must go. (Can you imagine the confusion and dismay if it did?!) Cardinal Stickler wrote about the "Latin language [acting] like a reverent curtain against profanation" and I find that German, Italian and Polish work like that for me. And Cardinal Stickler points out that when the Novus Ordo is said by the book--he cites the Novus Ordo as said by popes--there is nothing amiss.

There are still many copies of Seraphic Singles available for sale, as my Canadian publisher informs me. If you have not read my first book, why not buy a copy and gladden hearts at Novalis? If you want to buy a copy for a Polish friend, the edition you want is the rather more celebrated Anielskie Single.

If you live in Canada (especially Toronto), why not get a copy of Catholic Insight magazine and read my latest interview about Ceremony of Innocence? Apparently there's a review, too, which I am dying to read.


Heather in Toronto said...

The most recent article from the delightful Reverend Know It All, aka Fr. Richard Simon, refers to the Mass of Pius V, the Mass of Paul VI, and the Mass of Rembert Weakland (the liturgical "reformer" who popularized much of the liturgical silliness of the 70s that has persisted until today). The second and third are theoretically the same but, well, not really so much.

I am very fond of my own parish but Holy Family is a lovely treat every so often. By the way, my RCIA field trip there made such an impression on one of our number that my friend ran into her a while back at the local Catholic bookstore buying a 1962 missal. Mission accomplished!

Seraphic said...

Great! Every Catholic deserves an introduction to this great treasure of the Church! And if they fall in love with it, that's wonderful--as long as they can get to it, which in Toronto is not a problem.

Seraphic said...

And thank you for introducing me to Father Know It All. His post on Bishop Olson is most edifying.

Sara said...

That is freaking adorable. Thanks for sharing the Historical House conversation!! ^_^

Stellamaris said...

lexander technique really can feel quite nice. It can also be expensive though, because I don't find it worth doing without a good private teacher.
Alternatively, what if B. A. Stood on a chair? Then he wouldn't have to lift his arms so high.

Woodbine said...

The chair sounds a bit sketchy. It could be a long fall... What about throwing you over his shoulder? It would still stretch out your spine and you would both be a lot closer to the ground if something goes wrong.

Belfry Bat said...

What I said to another friend wanting to decompress (and who is even shorter than you!), is that there are public jungle-gyms in many places. This is certainly true both here-abouts and back-home, but I must admit ignorance about Edinburgh and environs. Hmmm... then there are your recent animadversions re. class sensitivity, though I can't imagine Rough Bus roughs wanting to play in a jungle gym themselves...

Heather in Toronto said...

Clearly you must run away and join the circus, so you can dangle from the trapeze (in a dignified and ladylike fashion of course). :D

Tess said...

You know, it's possible to do inversions without an inversion table. Pregnant women are encouraged to do inversions in order to get their babies into the best position for delivery, so I've been doing them on the couch at home, using a method on a website called That might sound like an odd resource to recommend, but if you really do want to do inversions, you may find their directions helpful!

Anna said...

I read Rev-Know-It-All and I did enjoy his piece on the Bishop Olson post. However, I would be remiss not to mention that it is an error to say that liturgy means "work of the people". We have this trope in Orthodoxy (it's a Greek word, after all) too, but it's not correct. Liturgy was an ancient term for a public work that the nobles did for the people. You can read more about this here.

"It is time for the Lord to act" begins the Orthodox liturgy (said by the deacon or priest).

Seraphic said...

Anna! Thank you as always for the Orthodox info.

Today after my home Pilates workout, I tried hanging from the side of the sofa. Tess, I will have a look at spinning babies!

Okay, and now I have to write another post about something I need advice about.

Anonymous said...

"Dorothy duck"
Aged P

Kathryn Rose said...

Oh my goodness, this is wonderful. You should write children's books.

Domestic Diva said...

What Sara said!