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On Forgiveness Sunday, the alleged plurality of methods by which one may relieve a feline of its flesh, and other musings

First off, this very important announcement:

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Imperial Majesty Richard the Mad of Nether Wombleshire
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Right.

So, Cheesefare Week, as noted earlier, started off with some bad news. I had been obliquely informed about a month ago that good news would come via e-mail, and bad news would come via postal mail; therefore, when I saw the envelope in my mailbox on Monday, I knew exactly what it contained before I even opened it. Bottom line: I will not be a matriculated graduate student this fall. Ricardus est insufficiens petitor.

Exactly what is next for me is unclear. I was instructed to thank God for keeping me from going down this path since He obviously has something better in mind for me, so I’ll start there. There are some well-placed people who have told me they absolutely believe I can do this and want to talk about what happened and what they think I can do from here; I’m more than happy to listen, but in the meantime, I am beginning to consider what my other options are, up to and including the possibility that, being 31, perhaps my window of opportunity just isn’t open anymore.

However, without conceding that point just yet, I can say that I will finish this school year with two years of Latin, three semesters of Greek, and a year of Syriac. By the end of next year, I will have the fourth semester of Greek, a second year of Syriac, and a year of Coptic. I will also begin the St. Stephen’s course through the Antiochian House of Studies in the fall, with a concentration in Byzantine Musicology. This will, eventually, lead to a Masters in Applied Theology accredited by the Balamand Seminary (although I am under no illusions that anybody will take that seriously if I try to pass that off as my only Masters degree). I plan to forge ahead with a project I proposed in my personal statement, since I still think it very much worth doing, and I believe I’ve got the toolbox at this point to at least give it a shot and see if something productive (and perhaps publishable) comes of it. I will perhaps discuss it here from time to time as I make progress on it.

After that… I guess we’ll see. Perhaps there is something to be said for trying to do a Masters at a seminary such as St. Vlad’s; it wouldn’t exactly be ideal financially (depending on what our other circumstances are at that point), but there might be far worse things than working with Fr. John Behr and Dr. Paul Meyendorff for a couple of years. At least given what the current data are, Bloomington does not exactly seem like the place I am meant to thrive, so perhaps once some other things are clear, it will simply be time to move on.

My path has been less than linear up to this point; why should it be any different now?

Meanwhile…  Forgiveness Vespers has been served, and Great Lent is upon us. Forgiveness Vespers is a fascinating service; I’ve never seen the Mutual Forgiveness portion have the same tone two years in a row. Some years it seems quite somber; some years it can seem very chipper and cheery. I’m sure somehow that sets the mood for a given year’s Great Lent one way or the other, but I haven’t yet figured out how. Regardless, it’s a beautiful and moving service — I just wish more people came. It seems to me that if everybody isn’t there, part of the point has been missed.

On a different matter altogether — things like this just make me sad:

The Kingsway Cathedral in the Sherman Hill Neighborhood may be demolished to make room for a gas station and convenience store.

Right, because that’s what the world needs.

And then things like this just make me shake my head: “Satanism in Orthodox Catholicism!” It being Forgiveness Sunday, I suppose my most appropriate reaction would simply be to say, “Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do.”

Forgive me, a sinner.

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