Post 112
To Priests and Sisters and those with a vocation to religious life and to George from HUB Mall

Black: Out (Except for Some)

Chesterton wrote about the mystery of the Catholic Church – how it will hold apart and separate two things when they look almost the same, yet differ in context. The Church makes a really big deal about context. And, to be honest, we people do too. We might love mustard on a hot dog, but we would scream if you mix it in with our chocolate ice cream.

We’ll barely notice you on your bike in a park, but we’ll all be shocked if you ride it down the theatre aisle.

Well, the Church is the same.

Don’t pretend to be shocked.

It’s the same idea.

Within the context of saving the life of another, you might lose your own, but that’s called being a hero.

But . . .

Jump off the building ledge for no reason than sparing yourself further pain, and that’s called being a coward. Mind you, it could also be called insanity, instability or some other thing. But let’s be clear: it’s not heroic. No medal for that, so let’s um, stop glorifying that desperate act, movie-makers and theatre-script-writers.

Within the context of marriage, some actions are sweet, touching and entirely as innocent as the lily over there. Outside of marriage, well, let’s just stop right here, no further, nowhere not never not ever.


It’s everything.

So now I begin to tell you about black.

See, the colour black isn’t like the other colours. Oh yes, of course you know that.

It’s something that’s absolutely perfect, in the right context.

But . . .

Currently, we use it all the time everywhere.

It shouldn’t be like that. It is meant to be used sparingly.

The list is quite short.

It goes something like this:

Black is for
Letters on a page
Numbers on the face of a clock
The sign with the posted maximum speed
And for all things liturgical
Like the priest and his frock

Black is for
The handle of a knife
The cast-iron pan
The rubber bottom of a shoe
And for all things liturgical
Like the priest (but not his flock)

Black is for
The deacon, the sister
The lawyer in court
The stage floor and curtain
And for all things liturgical
Like the priest and his car

Zoom zoom
There he goes
Tinted windows
Cool as a cat

(Cats can be black.
Nothing ominous about that.
All nature gets a free pass
Being whatever colour they happen to be

As for the rest of us,
Let’s be done with black.

Enough of it
We’ve worn it
We’ve done it
Too much
Like no other human generation before

Black head to toe
For what reason
Have we done this
To ourselves
For so long?

No era in history did it quite so
Everything black all the time
A funeral every day
Darkness and shade

You see – it’s about context.

Black isn’t on the spectrum
The regular spectrum

It’s set apart.

It’s different.

It’s Security Desk 7.

As for the rest of us,
Let’s visit the other
One million eleven

Choices of colour
Look at how they beckon!

I see them –
Don’t you?

Coming to greet us,
They flood us

It’s spring!
A new era

“New Medieval”
You guessed it
(Good reader are you!)

Here, look all around!
Here’s blue.
There’s blue, white and pink.

Here’s yellow.
Lemon yellow!
Of COURSE you are back!

Peach, beige, lavender, cream
(I like this daydream!)

Lilac, sea-foam and green!
Where have you been,
Colours of mine?

Where have you been,
Colours of yesteryear?

Oh well,
It’s no matter – you’re all coming back
Replacing the black

That was everywhere
On everyone
On everything

I see all the colours
They’re coming to greet us
Running across fields of poppies and daisies.

Break out the colours, welcome them home.

The black can be forgotten, discarded like yesterday’s news, stuffed into plastic and seen nevermore.


I didn’t.

So shoot me.

(But after you do, please bury me, Tobit-style, in some soil. Don’t spend your cash making me into some ash. Besides, what about all that air pollution? Wouldn’t want that, no. )

Burial in earth.

It’s okay. It’s alright as a solution. Don’t stress.

(As if God can’t deal with decomposition and eco and so forth and so on. He knows all about recycling, my friends – don’t think you can beat him on that. He’s got it down pat. Designed it, as a matter of fact.)

Who should be saddled with what I discard? If it’s not good enough for me, it’s not good enough for anybody. The mink coat was treated with no special care, stuffed in a bag and gone in a wink (it was black.)

Ha ha ha!


I like it.

Goodbye, Mr. Black. Goodbye Black Friday, goodbye Black Mass. Goodbye to blackened eye and eyelash. Goodbye mascara, goodbye black line. Goodbye black sweater black parka black ‘yoga’ (!) ‘pants’ (!!). Goodbye black shades, goodbye black coats and black jeans. Goodbye black book black negligee black night with bright neon black night on the town.

Now if I’ve just lowered the resale on your black automobile, then fret not or worry. Find a priest or a young man who has a vocation – they’ll be great candidates for a black set of wheels. And if you can’t find such a young fellow, hang on a few minutes; soon they’ll be appearing – thunderclouds on the horizon. As for the sisters, they’ll catch you by surprise – Christ always hides his dear brides.)

The era has changed.

The lamppost knocked down
(see Chesterton’s Heretics, Chapter number One)
has come back into town.

Carried on the backs of the humble ones
You couldn’t quite see
(Not that you tried).

That incandescent bulb they were trying to outlaw
The innocent thing they were trying to phase out

Was hoarded and guarded by those who knew
What it was worth

Warm pale ye11ow light
Calm, even, organic
Traditional untwisted unspiralled shape –

‘Twas endangered
Do you remember?

Remember how they dared take away
From the average householder
In the name of the green goddess Eco

This little tiny light
This incandescent spark

Symbol of
A new idea?

Ah yes,
They tried.

But then there was

A new era.