Monthly Archives: August, 2006

No Fairies Around Here

I realized recently that I am not the best godmother to my brother. (You’ll have to excuse the sponsorship incest.) When Ryan was baptized, I had only recently stumbled back into the Church. Now that I’m on this quest to become holy, I have to take my role more seriously. It’s even more important because I’m his big sister as well as the third-in-command in his religious education.

I took small steps at first. Ryan likes to stay up late (everyone in my family is a night owl), but he has enough discipline to still get up early when he has to. That makes him about twice as likely as my sister to be ready for Mass on Sunday morning. Since we’ve been going to St. John the Evangelist, I’ve been pointing out the readings and Nicene Creed in the missalettes they have there. I don’t really like reading along; as a lector, I feel it’s only proper to pay attention to other lectors. It helps some people a lot, though, especially children.

Back in May, when Maura, Mike M., and I took our field trip to the National Shrine, I got a black plastic-bead Rosary for Ryan. It felt like the godmotherly thing to do. Come to think of it, it was probably around the anniversary of his baptism. I also brought him a little illustrated booklet with nice pictures for each mystery (all twenty). It was clearly not the sort of present he was hoping I’d bring, but it made me feel better.

Then I got busy with work and moving into b-b.net, and now it’s nearly time for me to disappear for another few months. I mentioned to Ryan on the way home from Mass this past Sunday that I would teach him how to pray the Rosary. So last night, despite my headache, his sniffles, and my exhaustion from not getting enough sleep the previous night, I finally got around to it.

It was weird purposely inviting Courtney and Ryan into my room. They’re usually only in here on the heels of my mom. They know I’m less likely to kick them out with my mom watching. We all sat on my bed and I explained how to follow along with the beads. I’d decided beforehand that we should pray the Joyful Mysteries. Those take the least explaining. They split up leading the last decade. They had trouble with some of the language (I don’t think “blessed art thou” shows up much in manga), but it was sweet. I realized my buddy the Holy Spirit was watching over us when they took a closer look at the medals on their Rosaries. I wasn’t sure my sister even owned a Rosary, and I’d picked out Ryan’s because I liked the crucifix best on that one. It turned out that they had the same style of Rosary: hers with white beads, his with black. I briefly went over the other fifteen mysteries, then explained the writing on the scroll over Jesus on the crucifix, and they went off to bed.

The best part of our prayer session was when I told them that I pray the Rosary daily. Ryan said he’d like to pray it every week. I don’t know if he’ll remember that, but I hope he does. Our Lady could bring him such graces!

Switchfoot, and American Education

Yay! On top of finding out that Season 2 of Joan of Arcadia will be out in November, I got an email today that Switchfoot’s new CD will be out on December 26! It’s called Oh! Gravity. The punctuation in the title makes me think of Panic! at the Disco. I’ve only heard “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” and I hate it. I like the style of the music, but I don’t understand how a song with a chorus that gets edited so liberally can be so popular. Forget them: there’s new Switchfoot on the horizon! The email mentions a fall tour, too… any takers?

In other news (pun not intended), I read two WashPo articles today and one yesterday that deserve mentioning. The first was in the Sunday Source, which is my favorite section. It was written by a Yale senior who took a cooking class designed specifically for college students. Genius! Forget lab sciences; I need to take that class. The second addresses one of my biggest complaints about the current state of education in the United States: high school graduates’ vocabulary is pitiful. How do you graduate from high school without knowing what “satire” means? You don’t have to understand it, but you shouldn’t frown at the sound! The author blames this crisis on the lack of pleasure reading. To some extent, I agree. However, in the era of Harry Potter and (unfortunately) The Da Vinci Code, more students are reading. Even back at my high school, I’d see my peers reading what are popularly called “black books.” (Borders keeps them under “African-American Interest.”) So they’re reading, but apparently it’s more about the sex scenes than expanding their vocabulary. Mark my words: I will be the teacher the students complain about because she makes them watch School House Rock.

The third article caught my eye for several reasons. The first, clearly, is good copy editing leading to good headlines. The second is that it’s an issue I’ve pondered myself, also for clear reasons: black American culture.

Where is the civil rights groundswell on behalf of stronger marriages that will allow more children to grow up in two-parent families and have a better chance of staying out of poverty? Where are the marches demanding good schools for those children—and the strong cultural reinforcement for high academic achievement (instead of the charge that minority students who get good grades are “acting white”)? Where are the exhortations for children to reject the self-defeating stereotypes that reduce black people to violent, oversexed “gangstas,” minstrel show comedians and mindless athletes?

The best example of this chasm between the reality and the potential of black American youth may be my sister and me.

Yeah, this is gonna get personal.
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Cardinal Says: No More Suffering

Happy Catholic posted a link to the transcript of an interview with Cardinal Francis Arinze, well-liked among NeoCaths. One section struck a particularly positive chord with me, especially after my uneasiness during the MD CDA anniversary Mass.

There has never been a document from our Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments saying that dance is approved in the Mass.

[…]

Now, some priests and lay people think that Mass is never complete without dance. The difficulty is this: we come to Mass primarily to adore God — what we call the vertical dimension. We do not come to Mass to entertain one another. That’s not the purpose of Mass. The parish hall is for that.

So all those that want to entertain us — after Mass, let us go to the parish hall and then you can dance. And then we clap. But when we come to Mass we don’t come to clap. We don’t come to watch people, to admire people. We want to adore God, to thank Him, to ask Him pardon for our sins, and to ask Him for what we need.

[…]

Most dances that are staged during Mass should have been done in the parish hall. And some of them are not even suitable for the parish hall.

I saw in one place — I will not tell you where — where they staged a dance during Mass, and that dance was offensive. It broke the rules of moral theology and modesty. Those who arranged it — they should have had their heads washed with a bucket of holy water! [laughter]

Why make the people of God suffer so much? Haven’t we enough problems already? Only Sunday, one hour, they come to adore God. And you bring a dance! Are you so poor you have nothing else to bring us? Shame on you! That’s how I feel about it.

The emphasis is mine. That was definitely something I needed to hear. Now go read the whole thing.

Friday Five: B-Day

Via F5 at LJ. And mine’s coming up, yay.

1. Do you really make wishes when you blow out the candles on your cake? Yes, but I don’t remember if I did last year. They’re usually general good luck wishes anyway.
2. Have any of the wishes ever come true, if yes? Sort of. Life comes with sucky days, too, unfortunately.
3. How do you feel about birthdays? (e.g., love the attention, just another day, don’t want anyone to know my real age, etc.) I really don’t like it when all eyes are on me, but I do like the chance to gather together my favorite people to, well, celebrate me. And my family always makes a scene. I groan about it, but I really do like that we have enough fun together to make a scene.
4. Tell us a favorite gift you’ve received, or something you’d really like for your next birthday. I got a keyboard for my tenth birthday (I think), which was awesome. I practiced on it for seven years straight. I kind of want an RSV Bible this year, but it’d be kind of awkward if any of my friends got me one. That’s the person I’ve become, though. … And I just went out and told my mom that I want the DVD of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, so I’m good.
5. What flavor cake? Marble (yellow with swirls of chocolate) with chocolate frosting.

Catholic Carnival 83

This week’s Catholic Carnival is up at Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering. In the Carnival post, she apologizes for not assembling it with trackbacks/pingbacks, but I think she did just fine, especially considering that she hasn’t been blogging for long. I kind of want to host the Carnival one week, but I’m worried about having all that extra traffic come in. We’ll see.

This week’s highlights:

  • Bethune Catholic posts about a new way to look at the Sunday Mass readings. As I said in his combox, the main reason the non-feast day New Testament readings seem disconnected from the OT and the Gospel is that they go straight through each epistle in turn. His prayer group chaplain suggested a new way of looking at Paul’s writings.
  • You’ve heard of knocking on wood to avoid jinxing yourself, right? Well, Jay at Deo Omnis Gloria reveals that “knock on wood” may have originated in Catholic tradition. I’d never heard of that; if you hadn’t, either, you might want to take a look.
  • In my quest to find the right word to describe the way I live Catholicism, I think I found the right one in “happy Catholic.” Eddy Lee of To Jesus Through Mary writes about his way of dealing with what kind of Catholic he is. From the flavor of Holy Vocations, I can tell that we share this problem of finding an appropriate label. If only we didn’t need labels at all, and we could be simply Catholic.

Checking In

The bad part about this awesome new blog is that there’s so much to do behind the scenes that… I forget to post. So let’s rectify that now.

Life has been pretty good lately. I can’t believe it’s already the middle of August, though. In mid-July, I was ready to go back to school solely for the company. Now, I realize that going back means going back to class, which sucks, and so I’m less eager. I’m excited about living in Commons. Maura and I might have some moments where we’re crossing each other in the bathroom, but if we managed to live practically on top of each other for a year, we can manage this.

I am learning to cook! I made a Mexican lasagna for my mom and Courtney a few weeks ago. I found the recipe online, then put the ingredients on the grocery list and gave it a whirl. And it was so yummy! I even took the leftovers to work the next day. On Saturday, I tried another recipe and made a pizza casserole. It was like pizza-style macaroni. I think I should have used chopped pepperoni instead of sliced, though, because it was hard to mix. It had a ton of cheese, and the pizza sauce wasn’t as tangy as I’d hoped, but my mom said it was “really good.” Considering my relationship with my mom, that was a huge compliment.

Earlier this week, I got the best news since Honors hired me: CBS is releasing the second season of Joan of Arcadia in November! I still wish they hadn’t canceled it. At least I’ll get to relive my intro into Joan. The first episode I saw was “Independence Day,” which immediately drew me in. I mean, when Will.I.Am (yes, the guy from the Black Eyed Peas) is playing God, you know it’s gonna be a good show. I finally got around to watching the first season finale recently, which was unbelievable. I cried. I don’t cry very often when watching TV or movies. If my birthday party plans continue, I think we’ll be watching Joan. Or maybe the live-action Alice in Wonderland.

What entry would be complete without a random link? I found a video by OK Go via Happy Catholic. It’s mesmerizing. I can only wonder how many rehearsals it took to perform a song while “dancing” on eight treadmills.

Not much has been going on lately; I suppose I haven’t posted about my life because I don’t have much to post about. I finally bought myself a thesaurus (Oxford) this weekend when I went with Mom and Courtney to The Blvd at the Cap Center. (For non-locals, it’s an outdoor mall constructed where the hockey arena used to be.) I also ran into Paul, who I knew from high school. We had the standard “I’ve just run into a casual acquaintance I haven’t seen since high school” moment.

Also, I entered the second half of my 54-day Rosary novena on Saturday. I wasn’t sure how it would work out, but now I’m convinced it works, because of my vocation breakthrough and Lacy’s resignation as CDA regent. (We have to elect a new vice-regent now, since the bylaws say Cathy’s automatically regent.) It’s always nice when I actually catch the answers to my prayers.

Four Years

Today marks the occasion of my four-year blogging anniversary (or, as I have called it before, my “blogiversary.”) That makes me a dinosaur as far as most blogs go, besides the “big names” like Megnut and Kotte. It’s been a fun ride, though. I’ve had eight layouts, five of which I designed from the ground up. I actually had two Blogger subdomains, but when I realized how bad “musings_blog” was, I moved. I feel like doing a whole retrospective. On the other hand, I also want to get this entry up before I have to backdate it. Maybe another day.

Last year, I didn’t make note of my three-year milestone, though I did comment on Planned Parenthood’s horrible video, “A Crusader for Choice.” I mentioned the anniversary a few days before that, back when I was tiring of Blogger (again), but thinking about moving to LJ.

(By the way, Dawn Eden has written a chastity book due out in December. I love chastity, and I love converts. It’s the perfect match.)

Two years ago, I remembered my anniversary four days late. Three years ago, I forgot again, but I only posted one day late.

Then, of course, there is my first blog post. Oh, man. I sound so bright and bubbly. Then again, I was fifteen. My gosh, has it really been FOUR YEARS since I started blogging? Importing my entries might not have been such a good idea. Is there an online equivalent to burning?

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