In the ancient Roman Rite, the faithful on Ash Wednesday approach the Communion rail before Holy Mass to receive ashes (from the blessed palms/foliage of the previous year) on their foreheads in the form of a cross. The priest as he administers the ashes says, “Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return” (Meménto, homo, quia pulvis es, et in púlverem revertéris). The custom of distributing the ashes to the faithful arose from a devotional imitation of the practice observed in the case of public penitents. Although it is not a holy day of obligation, receiving the ashes is a worthy manner of beginning the season which liturgically-speaking begins on the First Sunday of Lent. The words of the Introit of Ash Wednesday are a wonderful reminder of what God does during this season of Lent: “Thou hast mercy upon all, O Lord, and hatest none of the things which Thou hast made, overlooking the sins of men for the sake of repentance, and sparing them: because Thou art the Lord our God”. * From the UNA VOCE CARMEL website
The Lenten Series is centered on passages from THE URANTIA BOOK that highlight various events leading up to, and including, the passion and death of the Master. We do this in the spirit of trying to heed the advice found in this most incredible book of revelation:
The time is ripe to witness the figurative resurrection of the human Jesus from his burial tomb amidst the theological traditions and the religious dogmas of nineteen centuries. Jesus of Nazareth must not be longer sacrificed to even the splendid concept of the glorified Christ. What a transcendent service if, through this revelation, the Son of Man should be recovered from the tomb of traditional theology and be presented as the living Jesus to the church that bears his name, and to all other religions! Surely the Christian fellowship of believers will not hesitate to make such adjustments of faith and of practices of living as will enable it to "follow after" the Master in the demonstration of his real life of religious devotion to the doing of his Father's will and of consecration to the unselfish service of man. Do professed Christians fear the exposure of a self-sufficient and unconsecrated fellowship of social respectability and selfish economic maladjustment? Does institutional Christianity fear the possible jeopardy, or even the overthrow, of traditional ecclesiastical authority if the Jesus of Galilee is reinstated in the minds and souls of mortal men as the ideal of personal religious living? Indeed, the social readjustments, the economic transformations, the moral rejuvenations, and the religious revisions of Christian civilization would be drastic and revolutionary if the living religion of Jesus should suddenly supplant the theologic religion about Jesus. THE URANTIA BOOK Part IV, 196, 1 .
This Leonard Cohen song, originally recorded by Cohen in '66, is an obvious response to the "God is Dead" wave of thinking, that was part of the philosophical/ theological confusion of the 60's era. Here's it's sung by Native American Buffy Sainte-Marie, from her ILLUMINATIONS CD, released on the Vanguard label in 2000.
God is alive, magic is afoot God is alive, magic is afoot God is afoot, magic is alive Alive is afoot, magic never died God never sickened Many poor men lied Many sick men lied Magic never weakened Magic never hid Magic always ruled God is afoot, God never died God was ruler Though his funeral lengthened Though his mourners thickened Magic never fled Though his shrouds were hoisted The naked God did live Though his words were twisted The naked magic thrived Though his death was published Round and round the world The heart did not believe
Many hurt men wondered Many struck men bled Magic never faltered Magic always lead Many stones were rolled But God would not lie down Many wild men lied Many fat men listened Though they offered stones Magic still was fed Though they locked their coffers God was always served Magic is afoot, God rules Alive is afoot Alive is in command Many weak men hungered Many strong men thrived Though they boast of solitude God was at their side Nor the dreamer in his cell Nor the captain on the hill Magic is alive Though his death was pardoned Round and round the world The heart would not believe
Though laws were carved in marble They could not shelter men Though altars built in parliaments They could not order men Police arrested magic and magic went with them Mmmmm.... for magic loves the hungry But magic would not tarry It moves from arm to arm It would not stay with them Magic is afoot It cannot come to harm It rests in an empty palm It spawns in an empty mind But magic is no instrument Magic is the end Many men drove magic But magic stayed behind Many strong men lied They only passed through magic And out the other side Many weak men lied They came to God in secret And though they left Him nourished They would not tell who healed Though mountains danced before them They said that God was dead Though his shrouds were hoisted The naked God did live This I mean to whisper to my mind This I mean to laugh within my mind This I mean my mind to serve Til' service is but magic Moving through the world And mind itself is magic Coursing through the flesh And flesh itself is magic Dancing on a clock And time itself The magic length of God
About THE URANTIA BOOK
For those readers who might not be familiar with THE URANTIA BOOK, let us just say that this is something that must be looked at individually by each person. The book claims to be a revelation, the most recent major revelation since the time of Christ. Is this possible? What do they say? - "With God, all things are possible" - or something along those lines? Certainly it seems reasonable that a new revelation of some type was due in the 20th century. Mankind had reached the stage where spiritual progress couldn't keep up with the many challenges, unseen consequences, and at times nightmarish realities, the new world of technology and industrialization had brought as the unexpected bounty of progress. But THE URANTIA BOOK gives an insight that offers hope of eternal survival no matter what bleak realities of mortal existence we experience and face in our future. A good part of the book is obviously meant for later generations - sections regarding the nature of God and the Trinity read like advanced physics of another dimension, way too much for probably even a well-trained Dominican, and far beyond the capacity of any Jesuit. But the book isn't this massive over 2,000 page doorstop that you are bound to read - beginning to end - like War and Peace. You can browse through the index, or random parts of the text, and find an unbelievable number of interesting topics discussed: survival after death, who God is, who Jesus is, all about angels, history of the planet, who were Adam and Eve, why this planet is so screwed up, the future of those who reject God, and lots more. Part IV of the book, the life of Christ, is certainly the most understandable part of the text, and without a doubt the most relevant to modern life. If you're wondering what others think of all this just google Urantia (the name of our planet) and you'll find lots of places with varying info about the book, including skepticism over the book's authenticity and claim to be true revelation. Decide for yourselves, but be open-minded. If you're disappointed/disgusted with institutional religion you should definitely have a look. The fact that the book definitively states that there is no such thing as ecclaesiastical authority, that all such authority belongs to God, should be enough to pique the interest of any disillusioned Catholic, jack-Mormon, lapsed-Lutheran, or pure heathen. For background information, an online copy of the book, and more - go to:
If you get tired reading off a computer screen, please get the real thing. Most public libraries will have a copy; new copies are available in bookstores everywhere; and used copies can be found on eBay and Amazon. Lastly, I should note that we are only using fragments in most cases of various essays from the book. For more, buy a book or visit the Urantia site, where you can see the various posts in their complete context. The Urantia site copy is simple to access and navigate.
"The only way to sum up the style of Chicago clarinetist and composer James Falzone is to say that it can’t be done. Falzone is an inveterate genre-crosser, and though he squawks and swoops with some of the city’s best free improvisers, it’s his fluency in classical and ethnic European cultures that set him apart. . . . an already important Chicago voice." * Matthew Lurie, Time Out
The CD came out in 2010 on the Allos Documents label. It's somber, and slightly eerie, jazz. It's Ash Wednesday, for certain.