“Doctor, Doctor, will I die?”
“Yes, my child, and so shall I.”
Hand sanitizer has entered the liturgy as both a stay against mortality and a sacramental displacing holy water. Coronavirus is not cholera but it might as well be. That is the unavoidable impression given by churches with dry fonts but multiple dispensers of sanitizer.
Every acute respiratory illness is serious. By no means is this latest Chinese virus to be taken lightly. But there is no point in my adding to the media drum beat. Continue Reading
To mark Memorial Day, 2007, Peter Collier wrote a magnificent reflection in the Wall Street Journal. Before he died this past November, he gave permission to his friends at Power Line to reprint it. Scott Johnson’s introduction is necessarily succinct: “The column remains timely and is accessible online here. I don’t think we’ll read or hear anything more thoughtful or appropriate to the occasion today.”
Under the heading “America’s Honor,” the essay begins:
Once we knew who and what to honor on Memorial Day: those who had given all their tomorrows, as was said of the men who stormed the beaches of Normandy, for our todays. Continue Reading
Mortality was much on the mind of St. Augustine. In The City of God, he exhibits skepticism that a world thoroughly free of death-dealing plague could ever be possible. The tenor of this old quatrain has an Augustinian ring:
will I die?
Yes, my child,
and so shall I.
Like the original wording of many eighteenth century nursery rhymes, the lines irritate modern ears. Twentieth century sensibilities revised it to suit a well-fed, housed, and vaccinated generation poised to dismiss dispiriting reminders of mortality. Continue Reading