Michaelwclark.com

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Close, closer, closest

These were taken with my iPhone yesterday. Very low light. The Mass had ended and I was in the middle of a sublime meditation. Photos never really capture the essence of Church because they don’t convey the Holy Spirit. At least, not in the same way as actually sitting there, in person. But I thought I’d share, anyhow.

Close via Tumblr

Closer via Tumblr

Closest via Tumblr

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TV and Church

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So today I finally got around to taking the wheels into the shop. We had four slow leaks.

The auto shop is pretty cool. In a grubby end of town under gentrification. The shop has been around for years, unchanged, and is pure Starsky and Hutch. The characters coming and going… I swear I could write a successful TV pilot from just a few hours there!

But I didn’t stay the whole time. I had to get away. So I walked to the downtown core, which is getting more congested every year. Felt more like Chicago or New York instead of my once modest Toronto.

After an icky visit to the Eaton Centre – don’t like it much any more – I hopped over to the newly renovated St. Michael’s Cathedral. I haven’t been to Mass for about a week and felt like a fish out of water… happily diving back into the tank after almost thirsting to death for the waters of heaven.

But it was a huge change from the auto shop.

Leaving, I noticed a brand new flatscreen monitor by the exit. It seemed strange and unnecessary. But what do I know?

I just took the picture…


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Beautiful little church in Grafton, Ontario

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Image via Tumblr

Image via Tumblr

We were driving toward this Church yesterday and traffic was held up by an accident. So I turned off Hwy 2 and up a small road to check it out. Was pleasantly surprised. Old. Bricks. Catholic. Very nice! Also greaaaat to get out of the city. I dipped my feet in water and walked on some bare concrete mixed with pebbles… this bringing back incredibly fond memories of spending entire summers barefoot on the preCambrian rocks at Georgian Bay. Very relaxing…


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Up front

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Ever since I witnessed a person call a nearby lady a “f****** b****” and me a “f****** loser” on two separate occasions at a downtown church, I’ve been avoiding that parish and going to this one. I can handle a verbal assault, and didn’t contact the authorities, even though the outburst against me was witnessed by a Eucharistic Minister. The two incidents spurred a lot of new thought about madness and mysticism, which I’ve been blogging about at earthpages.org.

So I’m avoiding that parish, for the most part, to avoid conflict. It’s not right and I should be able to go and worship without fear wherever I please in Canada. But sometimes the smart move is to just stay away.

This photo was taken yesterday at another parish that, actually, is closer to where I live. As you can see it’s under reno and tends to be very crowded because 2/3 of the pews have been temporarily removed. The holy water basins are empty, I guess because they’d be full of construction dust otherwise. So I just take my own little bottle of holy water and apply it once I get inside the parish.

Yesterday after Mass I noticed the sun was hitting the small gold cross on a pole, and I thought it was an interesting contrast to all the other scaffolding poles in the background. Something significant there. The worldly and the sacred.

Unfortunately I just used my phone, and it was zoomed 3x, so the image is a bit more blurry than I’d like.


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How things change

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Just after Mass tonight at a local parish, the parish I actually converted in in 2001. What a great year to convert, considering 2001 was also my favorite movie for many years (along with the theme that went with it). Nice synchronicity for me.

Anyhow things have “changed” as per the title because when the new pastor, so I assume, brought in these high tech video screens my initial reaction was “how much did THAT cost!” 🙂

But tonight I have to admit that I really did enjoy the whole thing. Seeing the song lyrics on the screen while the great band played was quite captivating. Sort of like the intro to Star Wars transformed into a holy setting. Very nice. Also, seeing the youths carrying the mics and sound gear around afterward, laughing and having a good time was refreshing. So walking home I thought, “who am I to judge how Church funds are spent?” Clearly this parish has been transformed.


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A deep inner beauty


When I tell people that I like to go to catholic mass I often sense some kind of inner reservation from the other person. I’m not surprised. I know why. Or I have a pretty good idea. The Inquisitions, the child abuse, the corruption. Or maybe just the regimentation. Not to forget the sexism.

I know all about that stuff but regardless, still feel the Holy Spirit active in the Mass. Some folks give me a blank or hard look when I say that. To me, that just tells me something about where they are. Many people think they are open minded but imo are just as narrow and regimented in their thinking as any hardcore Catholic.

Myself, I just go on what I feel. And that leaves me open to a whole new vista that I didn’t even know existed, prior to recognizing the call.


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nativity

Our Lady of Lourdes Parish via Tumblr

I’ve been meaning to take a half decent pic of this. It’s by far my favorite nativity scene in Toronto.