Saturday, 24 November 2018

Mass readings in Scots: Final Sunday of the Year, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King (Year B)


Gospel reading
John 18: 33-37

Than Pilate gaed intil the Judgment ha’ again, and ca’d Jesus, and quo' he to him, "Are ye the King o’ the Jews?” Jesus answer’t, “Say ye this o’ yere ain sel, or did ithers tell ye me?” Quo’ Pilate, "Am I a Jew? Yere ain folk and the Heigh-priests hae gien ye up to me: what hae ye dune?” Jesus answer’t, "My Kingdom isna o’ this warld: gin my Kingdom was o’ this warld, my servants wad fecht, that I soudna be gien up to the Jews: but noo is my Kingdom no frae here?” Quo’ Pilate to him, "Are ye a King, than?” Jesus answer’t, "Ye weel say I am a King. For this end was I born, and for this end cam I to the warld, to gie witness o’ the truth. Ilka ane wha is o’ the Truth hears my voice.”

[From The New Testament in Braid Scots William Wye Smith (1904) here]


Sunday, 18 November 2018

Mass readings in Scots: Thirty-third Sunday of the Year (Year B)


Gospel reading
Mark 13: 24-32

[Jesus said to his disciples:] “But in thae days, eftir that dool and stour, the sun sal be darken’t, and the mune sanna gie oot her licht, and the starns sal fa’ frae the lift, and the pooers abune sal be shaken. And than sal they see the Son o’ Man comin i’ the clude, wi’ unco pooer and glorie. And than sal he send oot his Angels, and sal gaither thegither his chosen anes frae the fowr winds, frae the ootermaist pairt o’ the yirth to the ootermaist o’ heeven.

“Noo learn ye a parable frae the fig-tree: whane’er her branch is bein ten’er, and the leaves comin on, ye ken simmer is nar-haun; sae ye, whane’er ye see thir things comin on, tak tent that it is nar -at the vera doors! Truly say I t’ye, this generation passes-na awa, till a’ thir things sal be! Heeven and Yirth sal pass awa; but my words sal-na pass awa!

“But, o’ that day and that ’oor kens nane; no e’en the angels in Heeven; nor the Son; but the Faither."

[From The New Testament in Braid Scots William Wye Smith (1904) here]


Saturday, 10 November 2018

Mass readings in Scots: Thirty-second Sunday of the Year (Year B)


Second reading
Hebrews 9: 24-28

For no intil Holies made-wi’-hauns did Christ gang in -that war but figures o’ the true Holies- but
intil Heeven itsel, noo to come plainly afore the face o’ God for us. Nor yet that aft-times soud he
be offerin his sel ; like as the Heigh-priest enters the Holie-Place, year by year, wi’ ithers’ blude. Else had it been needfu’ for him aften to suffer, frae the beginnin a’ the warld. But noo, ance at the end o’ the time has he been schawn, for the settin-by o’ sin, throwe his sacrifeece. And, inasmuckle as it is laid up for men ance to dee, and eftir this the Judgment, sae Christ, haein ance for a’ been offer’t, and carry’t the sin o’ mony, sal appear a second time, apairt frae sin, to thae that fain wait for him, for their salvation.

[From The New Testament in Braid Scots William Wye Smith (1904) here]

Gospel reading
Mark 12: 38-44

And in his teachin, [...] Jesus said, “Tak tent o' the Scribes! wha like to gang aboot in lang goons, and lo’e compliments i’ the merkits,  and preferred seats i’ the kirk, and heid places at feasts: wha devoor weedows’ hames, and i’ their deceit mak lang prayers: thir sal hae the deeper condemnation.”

And he set his sel doon fornent the Treasury; and a hantle o’ them that war rich cuist in muckle. And thar cam ane, a puir weedow; and she cuist in twa mites, that mak a fardin. And he ca’d till him his ain disciples, and quo’ he, “Truly say I t’ye, this puir weedow has cuisten in mair than a’ they that are castin intil the Treasury. For a’ they, oot o’ their owercome hae cuisten in; but she oot o’ her poortith did cast in a’ she had -e’en a’ her leevin!”

[From The New Testament in Braid Scots William Wye Smith (1904) here]









Wednesday, 7 November 2018

On not being sure what to say: parrhesia and the entertainment society


Watching the last episode of The Walking Dead, I was struck by how declamatory the acting had become: character after character would give a short speech revealing what they were thinking or just what their character was. This may well be simply a sign of writing that has lost its way, but nevertheless performance is, essentially, about making transparent characters: if someone or something cannot be observed by an audience, then it is not a performance. Even more subtle writing has to reveal in some way what a character is about, even if the character within the work is unaware of this herself.

I am increasingly struck by how our cultural world is dominated by the entertainer as paradigm. In particular, the concept of performance and transparency in speech dominates an awful lot of our interactions. Quite apart from explicit references, the concept of parrhesia seems to be behind much that we value online and personally. Putting aside more careful analyses, the idea of free and truthful speech is one that seems to serve as an ideal (we aim for it) and as a description (our speech is regarded as free and truthful and we are held to account on that basis). Twitter is particularly bad (or clear) here. Academics and commentators declaim certain truth; others are held to account on the basis of what they have said, quite apart from any protestations of other intentions or simple confusion.

And that's all rather odd because, in most of our lives, most of what we say doesn't express or reveal anything important about ourselves or the world. We mumble; we say things simply for the sake of saying them. We have no idea what we said and even less of why we said it. The daily currency of speech is less parrhesia as some ideal of authentic expression and much more the apology, forgetfulness and the shrug: 'What did I say? Good grief: I have no idea why I said that.' Part of what is going on here is the opacity of our selves to ourself: only in a society dominated by the idea of performance would that opacity be overlooked or wished away.

In Catholic practice, one of the chief ways out of the muddied self is through speaking revealed text: we find ourselves most truly ourselves by uttering, for example, the psalms in the Daily Office rather than expressing whatever feverish thoughts are clogging up our brains. Secular society ought not to recognise the possibility of inspired speech and yet it seems perversely committed to its existence and indeed its universality: we are all prophets; we are all authentic truth tellers -or at least, we should be held to those standards. But why? As Plato might put it, in the absence of divine inspiration (as in the Ion) or without the long, hard process of philosophical illumination (as in the Republic), why should we expect ordinary speech by the ordinary to be much more than empty sounds?

If this is anything like right, then we need a profound cultural shift, certainly online, but more generally, to taking speech lightly. Most of what is said, in most fora, is babble. To create worthwhile parrhesia is extremely difficult and part of intellectual life should be constantly to remind ourselves of this essential human failure. Instead, we seem set on a path where we forget the muddiedness of ourselves and the consequent muddiedness of our utterances, and instead strut around convinced of our transparency and the importance of our speech.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Mass readings in Scots: Thirty-first Sunday of the Year (Year B)

First reading
Deuteronomy 6: 2-6


[Moses said tae the people:] "Sae that, leevin in the fear o the Laird yer God, ye haud aw his laws an his orders A gie ye: yersel an yer son an yer son's son, aw the days o yer life; an sae that yer life is lang. Sae tak tent, O Israel, an mynd an dae this; sae that it is weel for ye, an ye is unco eikit, as the Laird the God o yer faithers haes gien ye his wird, in a laund fleetin wi milk an hinny.

"Tak tent, O Israel: the Laird oor God is ae Laird: an the Laird yer God is tae be luved wi aw yer hert an wi aw yer saul an wi aw yer strenth. Haud thir wirds A say tae ye this day deep in yer herts."

[From The Old Testament in Scots, vol. 1, The Pentateuch, [Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Nummers, Deuteronomy] trans. Gavin Falconer and Ross G. Arthur (2014) (translation into Plain Scots under the auspices of the Ullans Academy) ISBN 978-1-78324-005-0. Amazon US here. Amazon UK here.]

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 17: 2-4, 47, 51

A will gie ye ma luve, O Laird, ma strenth.
The Laird is ma Fundament, ma wawed toun an ma saviour;
ma God, ma Fundament, in him A will pit ma faith;
ma breestplate, an the horn o ma salvation an ma heich touer.
A will cry on the Laird, that is tae be ruised;
sae will A be sauft frae ma unfreends.

The Laird is leevin; ruise be tae ma Fundament,
an lat the God o ma salvation be honourt.
Great salvation he gies tae his keeng;
he haes mercy on the keeng o his wale, Dauvit, an on his strynd for aye.

[From The Old Testament in Scots, vol. 3, The Books of Wisdom, [Job, Psaums, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Sang o Sangs] trans. Gavin Falconer and Ross G. Arthur (2014) (translation into Plain Scots under the auspices of the Ullans Academy) ISBN 978-1-78324-006-7. Amazon US here. Amazon UK here.]

Second reading
Hebrews 7: 23-28

And truly, in lairger numbers hae they been made priests, for that on accoont o’ death they coudna bide; but he, in that he bides for aye, ever-constant hauds the priesthood. Sae is he able to sauf to a’ extremitie thae that come throwe him to God; leevin aye, to intercede in their behauf.

For siccan a Heigh-Priest as this for us was aye meet, wha was holie, innocent, uncorrupt, sindry frae sinners, and made to be aboon the heevens. Wha has nae need, day by day, to be offerin up sacrifeeces, like thae Heigh-priests, for his ain sins, and than for thae o’ the folk. For this he did, ance for a’, whan his ain sol he offer’t! For the Law appointit men Heigh-priests. haein weakness; but the word o’ the aith-takin (whilk was eftir the Law) appoints the Son, wha is consecrate for evermair.
 [From The New Testament in Braid Scots William Wye Smith (1904) here]

Gospel reading
Mark 12: 28-34

An stannin, lïstenin tae whut wus gaun on, wus yin o tha maistèrs o tha Laa. He heerd whut a guid answer Jesus haed gien, an he axt hïm thïs: "O aa tha commauns, whut yin ïs tha maist impoartin?" An Jesus answert bak, "Tha maist impoartin ïs thïs: 'An tak heed, O Israel, tha Loard oor God ïs tha yin an onlie God, an ye maun love tha Loard yer God wi aa yer hairt an yer sowl, an aa yer mine, micht an main!' [Thïs ïs tha furst commaun.] An tha saicont yin ïs thïs: 'Ye maun love yer nighber jist as much as yersel.' Nae ither commauns ïs abain these twa." An tha maistèr o tha Laa saed tae hïm, "Weel saed, Maistèr,  ït's tha truith ye spake, fer thair ïs yin God, an nane ither but hïm! An tae love God wi aa yer hairt an mine, micht an main, an yer nighber as yersel, ïs mair impoartin than aa tha brunt offerins an secryfices ye cud mak!" Whaniver Jesus heerd tha sense tha man wus taakin, he saed tae hïm, "Ye ir no faur awa frae tha Kïngdom o God!" Eftèr that, naebodie wud dar pit onie mair questions tae hïm.

[From Tha Fower Gospels  (2016) (Ulster-Scots), Ullans Press, ISBN: 978-1-905281-25-1, Amazon UK here,  Amazon US here.)]

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Mass readings in Scots: Feast of All Saints


First reading
Apocalypse 7: 2-4, 9-14

And I [Jhone] saw ane vthir angele ascending fra the rijsing of the sonn, that had a signe of the leevand God. And he crijt with gret voce to the iiij angelis, to quhilkis it was gevin to noy the erde, and the see, and said, Will ye nocht noy the erd, and the see, nouthir treis, till we mark the seruandis of our God in the foirhedis of thame. And I herd the nowmir of men that war markit, ane hundreth thousand and xliiii thousand markit, of euiry lynage of the sonnis of Israel.

Eftir thir thingis I saw a gret peple, quham na man mycht novmir, of al folkis, and linages, and pepilis, and langages, standing befoir the throne, in the sicht of the lamb; and thai war clethit with quhite stolis, and palmes war in the handis of thame. And thai crijt with gret voce, and said, Hele to ur God, that sittis on the throne, and to the lamb. And al angelis stude al about the throne, and the eldermen, and the iiii beestis. And thai fell doun in the sicht of throne, on thar faces, and wirschippit God, and said, Amen! Blessing, and cleirnes, and wisdome, and doing of thankingis, and honour, and virtue, and strenth to our God, into warldis of warldis. Amen.

And aan of the seniouris ansuerd, and said to me, Quha ar thir, that ar clethit with quhite stoolis? and quharfra com thai? And I said to him, My lord, thou wate. And he said to me, Thir ar thai, that com fra gret tribulatioun, and weschit thar stolis, and made thame quhite in the blude of the lamb.

[From The New Testament in Scots Murdoch Nisbet [c.1520] (1905) vol 3 here]

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 23: 1-6

The yirth is the Lord's, an' the fu'niss o't:
the warld, an' thaye that dwall therin.
For he heth fuundet it apon the seis,
an' sete it siccer apon the fludes.

Wha sall gae up intil the hill o' the Lord?
an' wha sall stan' in his haly plece?
He that heth cleen han's, an' ane pure hairt;
wha hethna liftet up his saul untill vainitie, nar swurn wrangouslie.

He sail receife the blessin' frae the Lord,
an' richteousniss frae the God o' his salvatione.
This is the ganæratian o' thame that seik him;
that seik thy fece, O God o' Jacob. Selah.

[From Psalm 24, The Book of Psalms in Lowland Scots Henry Scott Riddell (1857) here]


Second reading
1 John 3: 1-3

Se ye quhat manir charitee the fadir gaue to vs,
that we be namet the sonnis of God,
and be his sonnis.
For this thing the warld knew nocht vs,
for it knew nocht him.
Maast dere brethir, now we ar the sonnis of God,
and yit it apperit nocht, quhat we salbe.
We wate, that quhen he sal appere,
we salbe like him,
for we sal se him as he is.
And ilkman that has this hope in him,
makis him self haly, as he is haly.

[From The New Testament in Scots Murdoch Nisbet [c.1520] (1905) vol 3 here]

Gospel reading
Matthew 5: 1-12

An’ seein’ the multituds [Jesus] gaed up intill ane mountan, an’ whan he had sat doun, his discipels cam’ untill him. An’ he openet his mooth an’ taucht them sayin’:

"Blisset ar the puir in speerit:
for theirs is the kingdoom o’ heæven.
Blisset ar they that murn:
for they sall be comfortet.
Blisset ar the meik:
for they sall inherit the yirth.
Blisset ar they that do hunger an’ thirst efter richtiousniss:
for they sall be fillet.
Blisset ar the mercifu’:
for they sall obteen mercie.
Blisset аr the pure in hairt;
for they sall see God.
Blisset ar the peace-makers:
for they sall be ca’t the childer o’ God.
Blisset аr they whilk аr persecutet for richtiousniss’ sak’:
for theirs is the kingdoom o’ heæven.

"Blisset ar ye whan men sall misca’ yow, an’ persecute yow, an’ sall say a’ kinkind o’ ill agayne yow fauselie, for my sak’. Rejoice an’ be excessiv glad: for grit is your reward in heæven: for sae persecutet they the prophets whilk wer afore yow."

[From The Gospel of St. Matthew in Lowland Scotch, from the English Authorised Version. By H. S. Riddell (1856) here]