Ringling Brothers, coals of fire, going thru the motions . . .

Fr. Brian this a.m. on Ringling Bros. et al. closing after 100-plus years: Change there is, but God is constant.

Which is good to keep in mind, though it would not work for one who does not think there is a God. On the other hand, allegiance to this concept is held by Buddhist and other non-Christian philosophy, the concept being in part to keep a part of oneself on the outside of things looking on. Not 24-7, obviously: you’d be unable to cross a busy street with all your other-world outside-ness. But as a refresher in the midst of trouble? Brian had it right.

Secondly, and related to this, words from the 1950s Catholic mass, 3rd Sunday post-Epiphany, which I for one find refreshing — the St. Paul reading, Romans 12.16-21, with its “to no man rendering evil for evil.” Talk about your hard sayings!

The rest of it is here:

Brethren: Be not wise in your own conceits. [Don’t be a wise guy.] To no man rendering evil for evil. . . . If it be possible, as much as is in you, have peace with all men. [Ouch.] Revenge not yourselves, my dearly beloved; but give place unto wrath, for it is written: “Revenge is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.” But “If the enemy be hungry, give him to eat; [Oh boy.] if he thirst, give him to drink. For doing this, thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head.” Be not overcome by evil: but overcome evil by good. [There you go.]

Some passage, with the memorable “heap coals of fire upon his head,” which sounds odd but is explained by the following “overcome evil by good,” which I love for its ironical pitch.

You wanna get back at the s.o.b. who cut you off on Clark Street? Well bless him for his inventive solution to getting where he or she has to get. Better yet, manage a smile for the offending oaf, and not a self-congratulating smirk either. For this good (non-ironic) smile, you have to calm down, to be sure, which is my hard saying for the day. Hard, hard, time to go through the motions, the best you can do. . . .

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