Our Lady and Sheen

The Three Stooges

The Three Stooges is, of course, a physical comedy.  There is not much that I can say about it beyond that.  The premise of the movie is to save the orphanage that Larry, Curly, and Moe grew up in, and let the hammers to the head ensue.

There are few scenes that I was not particularly fond of, but overall this movie was simple slapstick comedy… wise guy, eih?  Half the nuns in the movie were played really well, although there is a scene with a “nun” in a skimpy bathing suit for a few moments.  I didn’t find this movie overly insulting, exciting, or pretty much anything.

I was going to recommend NOT seeing this film, and even though it is only rated PG (Parental Guidance) I was surprised and pleased to see that the USCCB’s website gave this move the classification of L (Limited adult audiences) because of, “irreverent and occasionally offensive humor directed at clergy and religious, some crude comedy and extensive physically abusive slapstick.

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April 30, 2012 Posted by | Movie Review Monday | , | Leave a comment

In Soft Garments by (Rev. Fr.) Ronald Knox

In Soft Garments is the written record of a series of lectures preached at Oxford by Father Knox.  Before you stop reading there, do not fear, these are not boring.  There is exciting material throughout the sermons given by Father Knox.  Because these sermons were given to students in college, (as a monk I would know would say, “when college students were college students”) they are on a level that most adults in our country should comprehend, even though the English from across the pond and 75 years ago is a little more stylistic than our current palate, it’s a very easy read.

Fr. Knox handles his subjects with a clarity and depth that are not often seen in these days.  The brevity in which he handles even the most complex subjects helps the reader to move through the lectures.  He also provided me with a lot of facts that made me want to do more research.  The most fascinating idea that he brought up was the Bishop of Little Rock’s role in the First Vatican Council; I was stunned that a bishop so close to home was so controversial!

Not every lecture is simple, but I have confidence that most men and women could read, understand, and grow from this book.  If you’ve never read anything deeply theological, this is a good starting point because it is the spoken word on paper, which means the number of hard words is fewer!

April 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Toward the Gleam

In “Toward the Gleam” I found an impressive mixture of history mixed with fantastical imagination.  Because of the nature of the book,I don’t want to give too much away.  I think for people who know members of history, this book is exciting because of the mysterious ora throughout the entire book.  The great “reveal” of this novel made me happy.

Universal truths of good vs evil are explored throughout the book in many different ways. This novel is a read that will challenge you philosophically and mentally.  This book can challenge the casual detective novel reader, the deeply philosophical reader, the fantasy reader, and people who just are looking for a non-fluff fiction.

April 26, 2012 Posted by | Book Review | Leave a comment

Theophilos by Michael D. O’Brien – A review

I recently completed the book Theophilos by Michael D. O’Brien.  I have also read Father Elijah by the same author, and the two books are very different.  Father Elijah: An Apocalypse is about the end of the world; Theophilos is historical fiction.  I read this book because my friend Brenda encouraged me to read some fiction, because I usually focus on heavier reading.  Theophilos was a great choice.

1. I had misgivings when I picked out the book for a few reasons.  The first was my history degree makes it difficult for me to read things in a historical setting, it’s a horrible drawback, and I don’t want to get events confused in my mind.  Also, on a more lighthearted note, I was worried that when the judgement day comes, and I see St. Luke, that he will laugh at me for thinking about this fictional story as his actual life.

2. To my first misgiving, O’Brien managed to knock me off my feet.  His historical research is impressive, even entwining fictional characters in with real events.  I know that that is the purpose of historical fiction, and so I give O’Brien a 5/5 for his skill.  Also the amount of effort that went into creating the culture of the time, the feelings of people, the interactions within society, and the visual descriptions each brought me out of 21st century America and into the 1st century Mediterranean region.  If you would like to escape your world for a while, this book will help you do this.

3. Linguistically this book was a cornucopia of words and phrases.  The thoughtful, yet seamless, insertion of Latin, Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, and possibly other languages was magical.  O’Brien is a wordsmith, using language in ways I could not have really dreamed.  I believe that the beauty of the language and the names helps keep the book in a “mystical” setting.  Throughout the book I made myself happy by making connections between the Greek or Hebrew or Roman names for those I know in English and their stories.

4. Now to the meat of the book: the Life of Christ.  O’Brien answered one of my fears in the author’s note at the end: “This novel is an imaginative reflection on an obscure aspect of the Gospel and is in no way an attempt to present its characters and scenes as visions of what actually occurred.”  This book is an attempt at getting deeper into the meaning of Christ’s mission, if not the day to day timeline of the early Church.

By taking the historical events of Christ’s life and going into a narrative O’Brien is able to re-tell the Truth of the Gospel in terms that are understandable and believable.  O’Brien’s dream of the Life of Christ, that he puts into words, is one that you can sit back, read, and consider deeply or superficially.  I was brought to tears by one story in particular, “Zakhhay the fool,” in Nazareth.  Of all the stories, I hope that I see Love like that one day.

5. In looking up Theophilos you will find a great many theories as to who this “Most excellent Theophilos” is, to whom the Evangelist wrote the account of Christ.  I find that some of the ideas expressed by others are as plausible as the idea presented in this book that Theophilos was St. Luke’s uncle.  That being said, Theophilos (meaning “friend of God”) is also all of us.  The fictional journey of Theophilos is this book is something that each of us encounter on a daily basis.  If we don’t encounter it while trying to deepen our faith, then we encounter it in other things.  We each must explore beliefs, religious or otherwise, and come to grips with our own understanding, before we can move ourselves deeper down the path of enlightenment.  Theophilos shows us how to do that.

To the reader this can be a novel of theology, philosophy, history, or mystery on whatever level they wish to receive it.  The format of the book is also very easy to follow.  First a letter, then journal entries, then recordings of interviews, then personal reflections, then a final letter.  It’s the first time that I have read a book that had so many different presentation forms, and I rather enjoyed it.

I would recommend this book to anyone.  For those with faith, this book challenges us.  For those without Christian faith, this book offers a more in depth look into why people believe.  Nothing stood out to me that would make this book inappropriate for teenagers, but the vocabulary and philosophical intensity would make it a harder read.  This would be a great book to read with your children if you have patience to explain concepts and historical events to them.

St. Luke, pray for us.

O Most Great Theotokos, pray for us.

April 25, 2012 Posted by | Book Review | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Disney’s Chimpanzee (possible spoilers)

Disney’s nature documentary Chimpanzee was not entirely what I was expecting.  I was expecting the hordes of children, but there were a few things that were surprises.

Chimpanzees are not as cute as I thought they’d be.  Yes, they are pretty cute, but more on the scale of puppy-dog cute.  I was expecting cute beyond all belief.

Disney really, really wants to believe that chimpanzees are human beings.  “Scar’s men,” and other comments are a little over the top.  I don’t know if this is from an intentional point of view to denigrate the dignity of man, a way to keep kids interesting, or just a false philosophical buy-in.

The film was masterfully done in the graphics department.  I was impressed by the quality of camera work (for the most part), and I really felt like I was in the rain forest.  Also, Tim Allen did a great job narrating the documentary.

In the end, I’m glad this movie was only one hour and 18 minutes long.  That was about 10 minutes longer than I thought I could handle it, but I survived.  I’m also glad that it wasn’t any shorter, because then I would have felt silly paying for a movie.

Oh!  One more thing, parents, you may have to be ready to talk about death.  And also, CNS’s movie review seems to agree with me, but they use better words like “anthropomorphizing,” I feel smarter now!

Chimpanzee, rated G, is rated A-I (General patronage) by the USCCB, because of brief animal violence.

Final note, I think children would like this movie,

April 23, 2012 Posted by | Movie Review Monday | , , , , , | Leave a comment

They found the Abbot! And his awesome teeth! (Who knew he was missing?)

“There has been no comparative grave found for the last 50 years in British archaeology.”

This is awesome!  I found on New Liturgical Movement an article about a former Abbot (may his soul rest in the Peace of the Risen Christ), that was just discovered in Britain:

He – or at least his remains – survived Henry VIII’s destruction of his abbey in 1537, eluded the grave-robbers that followed, and avoided discovery by Victorian archaeologists.

Even deep excavations and the underpinning of the crumbling building in the 1930s failed to unearth him.

But the abbot who headed Britain’s second richest and most powerful Cistercian monastery may soon be unmasked…

Please go to NLM or at the Daily Mail here to see the awesome picture.  Plus, this guy has got some AWESOME TEETH!

April 20, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

7 Years ago today…

“HABEMUS PAPAM!”

7 years ago I was running to the Spiritual Center at Penn State when we learned we had a new Pope.  With some of the best men and women I knew, we celebrated.  A friend of mine was weeping tears of joy in the HUB.

Fr. Z has the video from FoxNews.

April 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dichotomy of man

I’ve been reading Theophilos by Michael D. O’Brien, and I have discovered some very insightful themes and passages. While Theophilos, of Gospel of Luke fame, is examining Christianity. One of the women, Reut gives a discourse on the Passion, death, and Resurrection of our Lord, finishing with the Easter message:

All men hate the pain of their sins but love the pleasure of their sins. This is our bondage and our test. The door is before you, Theophilos father of Loukas. In former times it was closed and locked. Now it stands open before all.

How true it is that we love the pleasure of sin. How true it is that we hate the pain of sins. Why else would we continue to do wrong? Why else would we try to pass the blame for those sins? The guilt that covers our soul when we’ve sinned, and sometimes physical pain, is unbearable. We run from it, sometimes we run to the cross, often we run deeper into the dark to escape the Light which is showing us our flaws. We descend deeper and deeper into the cavern of sin, and as we go farther and farther from the Light we tell ourselves that we feel better. But, do we feel better? No, we stop feeling at all.

As we leave the Life giving Light, the warmth of the embrace of He who Loves us with a fiery passion, our heart grows colder, and colder, until finally it feels nothing at all. I know that some of you (if there are any readers at all) scoff at this and think it untrue. I can’t tell you what to think or believe. I speak for myself only when I say that I see myself seek out more false pleasure the farther I go away from God. At some points in my life, I have been completely and dismally lost, and more importantly afraid. I know that I did not love anyone when I was down. Yes, I had fun with friends; yes, I thought I was doing what I wanted. But inside I hated almost everyone and everything, and I hated myself most of all.

Now, when I somehow muster the strength to defend myself from sin, I truly rejoice that God has provided for me the test. When I fail, I usually am not as happy for the test. I don’t know what else my life will bring, but I hope that I become stronger in the Lord and weaker in myself, so that I can surpass the tests and remain true to Him who remains true to me, and to you.

God love you!

Archbishop Sheen, pray for us.

 

April 19, 2012 Posted by | Book Review | , , , , | Leave a comment

I like my women like I like my… (Part 4)

This might be the last installment of this little playful posting, because I’m not nearly as smart as other people when it comes to the Mass.  If people contact me with other ideas that Mass could be like a woman, I might be able to comment further.

4. Sacrificial

Do I think my “type” of woman is sacrificial… I don’t know.  On one level, I want her to be, and on another level I want her never to suffer any sacrifice and for me to sacrifice instead.  But… love is sacrificial.  I want the woman for me to love me, and in doing so, sacrifice is required, as I want to love her.

I feel, that the bible offers two types of sacrificial love in Ephesians 5:21-25, the first being submission, or subordination “to one another,” and also wives to their husbands.  That’s probably the hardest sacrifice I can imagine.  It is almost easier to follow the husband’s specific instructions: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her.”  Dying for someone, in my mind is easier than dying to someone.

Let us also remember that “being submissive” is not a bad thing.  “Sub” means under; “missive” is a letter that acts as a “battle plan.”  Or submission, under the same “mission.”  The mission of the family is to get to heaven.  If the wife is under the same mission as her husband, and they are under the same mission for each other, and the man is sacrificing his life for his bride as part of his mission… aren’t we all on the same mission?  This aside is just to say that Ephesians 5 shouldn’t be taken as demeaning, it needs to be taken in it’s whole context.

So, do I want a woman who is sacrificial? Yes, but I don’t like it on a superficial level.  But, in true love, we will grow strong together and reach our goal of heaven, and that requires us to take up our Cross and follow the Master.

We are therefore present at each and every Mass under the
appearance of bread and wine, which stand as symbols of our body
and blood. We are not passive spectators as we might be watching a
spectacle in a theater, but we are co-offering our Mass with
Christ. If any picture adequately describes our role in this drama
it is this: There is a great cross before us on which is stretched
the great Host, Christ. Round about the hill of Calvary are our
small crosses on which we, the small hosts, are to be offered.
When our Lord goes to His Cross we go to our little crosses, and
offer ourselves in union with Him, as a clean oblation to the
heavenly Father.

At that moment we literally fulfill to the smallest detail the
Saviour’s command:

Take up your cross daily and follow Me. In doing so, He is not
asking us to do anything He has not already done Himself. Nor is
it any excuse to say: “I am a poor unworthy host.” So was the
thief.  – Archbishop Sheen, Calvary and the Mass II, The Offeratory

St. Raphael, pray for us.

April 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Coolest Chasuble EVER (maybe)

New Liturgical Movement has a great collection of pictures from all over the Catholic world.  This one is awesome:

April 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment