The Annals Say

The Annals Say

The annals say: when the monks of Clonmacnoise
Were all at prayers inside the oratory
A ship appeared above them in the air.

The anchor dragged along behind so deep
It hooked itself into the altar rails
And then, as the big hull rocked to a standstill,

A crewman shimmied and grappled down the rope
And struggled to release it. But in vain.
‘This man can’t bear our life here and will drown,’

The abbot said, ‘unless we help him.’ So
They did, the freed ship sailed, and the man climbed back
Out of the marvellous as he had known it.

– Seamus Heaney, seen here.

Scottish independence

I know nothing about it, but I’m for it. “If the entire political class are convinced that Scottish independence will be a disaster, then I think we can be reasonably certain it will prove a boon…”

Here’s my touchstone; if everybody on both sides of the aisle is for it, whatever it is, it will do me no good. If a large bipartisan coalition of responsible congressmen and senators is against it, whatever it is, then I’m for it.

The Prodigal Son

“They key is actually that in the story of the prodigal son the son is returning. There’s no indication of return, for any reason, in this situation and in many in which the parable is invoked.

“Jesus could have told a parable in which the father went and ran after the prodigal son’s party set shouting, ‘Hey guys! Hey guys! Can I come too? I’m a cool guy too!’ and imagined that perhaps by coming along he would evangelize the party-ers — using words only if necessary (to paraphrase the famous yet bogus St. Francis quote.) He could have told a parable in which the son comes back, unrepentant, and offers to throw a party at the father’s house, making the father an honorary master of ceremonies. He could have told a parable in which the son comes back, the father rushes out to meet him, but the son turns out to only be returning to wash his laundry and borrow some more money.

“However, these are not the parables that Jesus chose to tell…” — The Prodigal Son Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means


In the town of Vanity Fair, the judge is Lord Hate-good. He instructs the jury:

“There was an act made in the days of Pharaoh the great, servant to our prince, that, lest those of a contrary religion should multiply, and grow too strong for him, their males should be thrown into the river. There was also an act made in the days of Nebuchadnezzar the great, another of his servants, that whoever would not fall down and worship his golden image, should be thrown into a fiery furnace. There was also an act made in the days of Darius, that whoso for some time called upon any God but him, should be cast into the lions’ den. Now the substance of these laws this rebel has broken, not only in thought (which is not to be borne) but also in word and deed; which must, therefore, needs be intolerable.” — Faithful’s martyrdom at Vanity Fair, from Pligrim’s Progress

Christians will be on the wrong side of the line. If any are not, the line will be moved to put them there. That’s how things are; and really, it’s nothing to worry about.