The Corner

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A Little Perspective (13 Centuries’s Worth, That Is)


Last night here at the hotel–to my astonishment, my publisher is putting me up for a couple of nights at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills–beautiful people, all dressed almost entirely in black, buzzing about Arnold, “the industry,” and youth, youth, youth. (A friend in his late twenties is breaking into the music industry. He told me he passes himself off as 24–and then he added only half-jokingly that if I ever tried my hand at screenwriting I’d need to dye my hair, get a little Botox injected into my forehead, and drop a full decade from age.) It was all kind of a wild high.

This morning at church–today is a holy day of obligation for us Catholics, and at St. Peter’s, a church of the Maronite Rite–a little band of old Arabs, most of whom seemed to have come from Lebanon (the church displayed the Lebanese flag next to that of the United States), chanting the sacred mysteries in a combination of English, Arabic, and Greek. It was 13 centuries ago that the Christian Middle East was overwhelmed by Islam, but despite all those hundreds of years of hardship and all the brutalities of the twentieth century itself, there they were, this little group of the faithful, tucked away in Beverly Hills, keeping alive their faith. It sobered this boy up.