Friday, August 7, 2009

John Mason Neale

Continuing in our (somewhat) theme of the week "Not knowing exactly what it is you are supposed to be doing" (or is that the theme of life?), today we celebrate the feast of John Mason Neale.

Because of his chronic illness, he didn't take a parish position and instead was the warden of an almshouse, which doesn't sound any easier to me. He stayed in that position for his whole life. (More about his life here.)

I'm sure this is not what he expected when he entered holy orders. But looking at his life now, what he did seems so obviously good, so obviously right.

I think this is one of the reasons I like obituaries: because you know how things turned out. I've never been one to skip to the end of the book, but obituaries are the end of the book. You can skip over all the doubts, all the false starts, and find out if what was attempted worked or not. Reading this brief outline of JMN's life, I have a feeling we miss the important struggling bits that don't appear in the prayer book bio.

Two other things about John Mason Neale: one is he is best known as a hymn writer and translator. Here are 120 (!) of the hymns for which he is known, which include All Glory, Laud and Honor, and Christ is made the sure foundation.

Secondly, he looks an awful lot like David Duchovny, doesn't he?


it's margaret said...

....and then I thought some more and remembered Dickens wrote an awful lot about poorhouses --you know, where they make the poor and the widows and the orphans work for some bread.... his hymnody is fantastic--wonderful ---but the thought that the 'school' over which he was pastor was like our Indian 'schools' etc... full of Oliver Twists, put a whole new spin on my meditation.

And yes, the resemblance is remarkable!!! Good eye!!! (LOL)

LKT said...

I'm hoping that his effort to have sisters nursing people was indicative that the almshouse he oversaw wasn't as Dickensian as some others. Fingers crossed. And, as a friend of mine commented on facebook today, regarding the resemblance: The truth is out there.

MadPriest said...

I have been studying the life of John Mason Neale for many years. In all the books and papers I have read I have never come across the link between Neale and Duchovny. I suspect a conspiracy. A cover up at the highest levels of academia. Dammit, I wouldn't be surprised if the CIA isn't behind it all.

The truth is out there. But now you have gone public on this - trust no one!

stephy said...

He does look like David Duchovny! Weird!
Thanks for your really nice comment at my site. I hadn't actually noticed it was a bunch of shaming "you" statements they were making but you're right. That's pretty poignant. I wonder too how many shaming you statements I make to myself in my head. Hmm.
Anyway. Thanks for your thoughtfulness.

qoe said...

The resemblance is SCARY! And I am with MadPriest on this, TRUST NO ONE, except, of course, God...