Some helpful suggestions on economical traveling from our friend, Stephen, and the New York Times.
Here's a snippet from Stephen's suggestions:
"Visit locations in NY that have been used as scenes/locations in movies or cited in works of literature. Then of course, there is a laundry list of famous, old, or trendy saloons to wet your whistle afterwards."
The scene above is set in the Met: the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I wonder how many times guards have had to endure staged discussions of pepper, paprikash, and pecan piiiie.
What would I like to see? Friends from grad school at Fordham in the Bronx, friends like Sharon, and friends that I've only known online. I would like to see the Met and the Frick museums again, as well as Central Park. Here's Walker Percy's description of the Great Meadow from The Last Gentleman:
"It was a beautiful day but only after the fashion of beautiful days in New York. The sky was no more than an ordinary Eastern sky, mild and blue and hazed over, whitened under the blue and of not much account. It was a standard sky by which all other skies are measured. As for the park, green leaves or not, it belonged to the animal kingdom rather than the vegetable. It had a zoo smell. Last summer's grass was as coarse and yellow as lion's hair and worn bare in spots, exposing the tough old hide of the earth."
And, yes... see the construction at Ground Zero, maybe visit the Fireman's Memorial in Riverside Park (which well predates 2001).
The Other Journal: Communion and Liberation video. I love what Greg Wolfe says from 5:20 to the conclusion.
Something happened in Cairo October 2010: a cultural event inspired by The Meeting in Rimini, as may be seen in the photo slideshow above. Davide Perillo describes the course of events in the #10 issue of Traces. Here's a snippet, but go read the whole account: "You Have Brightened Egypt"
The clear impression is that it is as if the very idea of 'dialogue between religions' has been swept away, leaving room for reality: people who are in dialogue precisely because they are religious–that is to say, zealous for the heart, for the question of meaning, for beauty. One distinguished man, unidentified, during a pause, began a discussion with Emilia Guarnieri: (the English is rather improbable, but the point gets through), 'You spoke of certainties and the fight against relativism; can you explain better?.' She explains, and he nods, and replies, saying something like: 'I understand. Whatever is an obstacle to man’s imagination is to be fought.' In his own way, he sounds like Fr. Giussani when he speaks of 'the category of possibility,' which keeps reason open to the Mystery. Another point made by an Egyptian friend and highlighted was: 'We are looking at things with your eyes.'
The final concert was an apotheosis of what we have in common and of what distinguishes us. The Schubert Trio and classical music inside the walls of Saladin’s Citadel: all eager to hear beauty (Brahms, Paganini, and Dvorak), many ready to acknowledge that it is only a relation of the other music, played by the Sama’a group the previous evening: Eastern chorales and polyphony entwined with 'our' melodies. They, too, are beautiful, but different, without that note of melancholy that echoes, so to speak, in the 2nd movement of Schubert’s Trio, presented as 'one of the pieces that Fr. Giussani loved most.' At this point, we realize how often that name has been quoted continually over these days, on the stage and off it, in both Italian and Arabic speeches, and how alive Fr. Giussani still is, present more than ever.
The editorial in the same issue of Traces notes the remarkable contours of this event:
"For two days, there were assemblies and exhibitions, a demonstration of earthly beauty as the basis for a dialogue, in an Islamic country. It was organized by Muslims, people who live their tradition deeply, but who were struck by a friendship with those who live Christianity deeply, making it flesh and blood–that is, culture."
Although I haven't seen The Meeting in Cairo or The Meeting in Rimini, I will have the opportunity to see the American edition of The Meeting: The New York Encounter. It's happening January 14-17. The presentations are free and open to the public — I hope to see you there!
"While Jonas watched, the people began one by one to untie the ribbons on the packages, to unwrap the bright papers, open the boxes and reveal toys and clothing and books. There were cries of delight. They hugged one another.
The small child went and sat on the lap of the old woman, and she rocked him and rubbed her cheek against his" (The Giver, Lois Lowrey, 123).
"The great majority of people will go on observing forms that cannot be explained; they will keep Christmas Day with Christmas gifts and Christmas benedictions; they will continue to do it; and some day suddenly wake up and discover why" ( G.K. Chesterton in Generally Speaking, via Quaerere Deum via gkchestertonquote).
"there is a way of being together that is not Christian communion. And what is the clearest indication of this? That it does not liberate us, that there is no liberation; that is, it is not Communion and Liberation. Fr. Giussani told us that this happens due to a lack of memory, due to a lack of existential depth in the awareness of belonging. [...] When St. Paul says, 'Yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me,' he defines exactly the content of the new self-awareness. Without this new awareness, there is no Christian communion, because we are not letting into our life the gaze that made us become part of this communion." (Living is The Memory of Me, 54).
May you live Christmas and the Christmas season filled with the memory of Christ!