Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Holy Order of Cat Stevens

My family recently sat down to watch Harold and Maude again and I caught what I thought was an interesting exchange between my father and younger brother. Now, both my parents experienced Catholic upbringings complete with Catholic school education, but they raised their own family with more of a freethinking, secularist strategy and the difference is sometimes obvious.

During the film, a priest started to recite a prayer and my father joined in, ending with, "You kids should have had more religious schooling. Do you know what that is?" to which my brother responded, "huh?"

Just as the prayer finished, a Cat Stevens song began to play in the background and my brother recited the words aloud. Somewhat confused, my father responded, "Huh?"

I can't find the name of the Catholic prayer, but I found some of it on youtube:

"...that he may bless and deliver all souls of the faithful departed, bring them to the bliss of heaven and eternal peace. Oh lord grant him forgiveness for his sins by the help of your grace, you who live and reign forever and ever. Amen"

The song that followed was Cat Stevens's "Tea for the Tillerman"

"Bring tea for the tillerman, steak for the sun, wine for the woman who make the rain come, seagulls sing your hearts away, cause while the sinners sin, the children play"

I was struck by this moment. Here were two prayers being recited, both meaningful and meaningless in their own way, both known yet unknown by the other reciter. Did they notice how equivalent their unrelated expressions actually were?

If you haven't seen Harold and Maude yet, you owe it to yourself to see one of the funniest and truly greatest films ever made.

"You know, at one time, I used to break into pet shops to liberate the canaries. But I decided that was an idea way before its time. Zoos are full, prisons are overflowing... oh my, how the world still dearly loves a cage. "

"Vice, Virtue. It's best not to be too moral. You cheat yourself out of too much *life*. Aim above morality. If you apply that to life, then you're bound to live life fully."



fulleju said...

i love that movie