Friday, 22 November 2013

St Cecilia's Day anniversaries ...

Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, a brutally senseless and tragic event, however flawed in many ways its victim may have been, which has scarred the psyche of the U.S.A. and perhaps the western world itself to this day - we are still searching in vain for the lost 'Camelot.'

On the same day, largely unnoticed by a world shocked by the news from Dallas, C.S. Lewis died at his home outside Oxford. Here at The Telegraph is a rather patronising report / comment piece about today's commemoration in Poets' Corner... He deserves better than the article's reference to him as a 'children's author and moralist', one might think ..

On the same day the novelist Aldous Huxley died in Los Angeles. An article here by Brendan O'Neill on the contemporary relevance of Brave New World.

The music on this St Cecilia's day is by Herbert Howells: a setting of Prudentius in the translation by Helen Waddell - Take Him, Earth, For Cherishing, composed in 1963 for the memorial service for JFK in Washington D.C. 

“It is hard to have patience with people who say, ‘There is no death’ or ‘Death doesn’t matter.’ There is death. And whatever is matters. And whatever happens has consequences, and it and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say that birth doesn’t matter......”
"......And the past is the past and that is what time means, and time itself is one more name for death, and Heaven itself is a state where 'the former things have passed away.'
Talk to me about the truth of religion and I'll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I'll listen submissively. But don't come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don't understand.
Unless, of course, you can literally believe all that stuff about family reunions 'on the further shore', pictured in entirely earthly terms. But that is all unscriptural, all out of bad hymns and lithographs. There's not a word of it in the Bible. And it rings false. We know it couldn't be like that. Reality never repeats..." 
C.S. Lewis: A Grief Observed

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