Monthly Archives: August, 2007

Ready for Kindergarten

August 13, 2007, was my fifth blogiversary. I have had this blog on and off for FIVE YEARS. My blog would be old enough to start kindergarten if it were a person. I rarely remember my blogiversary on the actual day, but I’ve never been two weeks late.

Last year, I commemorated the day by posting a retrospective about my previous blogiversaries. I had just switched to WordPress then. Have I really been out of Blog*Spot for a whole year?

This year, I commemorated the day by thinking, “I really should blog.” Two days later, I actually managed it. I started blogging as an extension of my love of journaling into my love of the Internet. I did return to paper for my spiritual journal, but my day-to-day (or semester-to-semester) writings are still online for the world to see. It’s a little scary. I’ll have to have another plan once I start teaching. I don’t want my students Googling me.

On to year six, in which I will graduate from college and move on not to the real world, or even to the real world of teaching. If college is like day care for new adults, grad school is kindergarten.

Catholic Update

Zenit reports that a pontifical council is working on a code of conduct for Catholic evangelization. This could be a very good thing. Catholics aren’t great at evangelizing. We don’t have the rapid-fire Bible-quoting abilities of evangelical Protestants, and we have a ton of social prejudice to overcome. I hope this code will give more guidelines and suggestions than restrictions on how to spread the gospel of Christ.

My own spiritual life has been pretty great over the summer. Working all day meant that I couldn’t go to daily Mass. Only when I was denied that part of my day did I realize how much I missed it. This week has been great for Mass; I’ve gone every day since Saturday. These past few weekdays and last Saturday were at the Shrine, because I held onto my car and Fr. Kyle took one last vacation before the semester starts.

Just tonight, I filled my second spiritual journal. I’m glad to have finally worked through it; I picked a bad notebook and had been writing on every other page just to use it up more quickly. I rarely reread my entries later, and I have no intention of letting anyone else ever see them, but it helps me a lot. I can process my thoughts more clearly when I have to write them out, word by word, in cursive. Spiritual journaling forces me to mull over my thoughts in a slow but remarkably productive way.

I’ll be glad to have my “normal” life back once school starts. Daily Mass, endless hours at the CSC, and my wonderful community of faith bring me so much joy.

A Few Sots in Our Lot

T. O. at LAMLand relays a priest friend’s story about old Catholic habits that die hard. I guess it goes to show how much the Church ingrains itself into our lives. No matter how hard you try to fight him, God will get to you. Once a follower, always a follower.

Fr. Bill, when I emailed the post to him, replied, “Who’s to say the man wasn’t still a Catholic? We have a few sots in our lot.” It takes all sorts.

Catholic Carnival Catch-Up

[Note: I was working on this ages ago and just never posted it, so I just want to get it out of my drafts queue.]

In Carnival 118 at Postscripts from the Catholic Spitfire Grill, Fighting Irish Tom offered us an article from Catholic Exchange on “Running the Rosary.” I highly endorse this practice, but with walking instead of running. (I can’t run; my bad knees have been even worse since Holy Week.) Last week, when I put in a few extra days in the Honors office, I squeezed in my daily rosary by praying the first two or three mysteries on my walk across campus. My meditations aren’t as deep during rosary walks, but at least I offer God that sacrifice of thought-time.

For Carnival 117 at 50 Days After, Elena of My Domestic Church writes about the decision she faced over her daughter’s First Communion dress. I think my grandmother made mine. I remember being excited to wear the white veil. I think my First Communion photo session was the first time I saw my (now well-worn) rosary. I also remember feeling very uncomfortable in church that day. My family didn’t go to Mass then, but somehow my mom still understood that it was sacrament time for me. That is a reflection for another day.

Leticia at Cause of Our Joy describes a town without children. Seriously! I can’t imagine such a backwards place.

A Nation of Nonreaders

The AP reports that very few people read books these days. Being almost an English teacher, I was upset at first. Then I realized that, if not for Harry Potter and my school reading, I’d fall into that group, too. School, oddly enough, is what keeps me too busy to read for pleasure. When I added the iRead book tracking facebook application, I was dismayed to find that I had almost nothing for my Currently Reading section. (The Bible only sort of counts. Sorry, Lord.) I love to read, and I want to do it more, but my plan to stretch the day into more than 24 hours has yet to go through.

This reminds me that I never posted a review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I’ll get on that. In the meantime, read Stephen’s King’s amazing review in Entertainment Weekly.

On the Assumption

Once again, I emerge from a huge span of time spent without blogging. Happy Feast Day. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of the hardest theological dogmas of the Church to understand and explain. We have enough Marian love to defend, and then we come upon a feast day (a solemnity, no less) smack dab in the middle of summer Ordinary Time, devoted to something most Catholics have never realized they don’t really understand. Judging by the attendance at the Assumption Vigil Mass at St. Mark’s last night, that lack of understanding leads to a lack of caring about showing up for the Holy Day of Obligation, and therefore a lack of falling into mortal sin.

I see the Assumption like this: Mary is our model of humanity. Jesus was, of course, human and divine, having two natures inseparable from each other. Mary was completely human. She wasn’t God or even godlike. But she was as close as any of us can hope to be. Mary was a perpetual virgin, perfectly chaste from her very first days. She was perfectly obedient, always eager to follow God’s will and resistant to disobeying him, so she was without sin. She died, as all humans do, but instead of her body falling into corruption and decay while her soul moved toward the final judgment, she was immediately taken into heaven. Her humanly perfection extended beyond her death. She did not rise into heaven on her own, like Jesus, but she was taken there by Jesus. Glorious in her heavenly body, she reigns over heaven: Daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, Spouse of the Holy Spirit.

Basically, if any of us have a role model (other than Jesus), it should be Mary. I can only hope and pray to be as obedient and loving as she was.

I’ve been reading a book of excerpts from B16’s writings that Father Bill gave me last semester. Today’s excerpt is from a book B16 wrote while he was still Cardinal Ratzinger about Marian theology, Daughter Zion. In it, he writes that our human mortality, the ability to die, is caused by “the usurped autarchy [self-rule] of a determination to remain within ourselves.” Our self-centeredness led us to sin, which brought death into the world. Mary died, but was whisked away into immortality because in her “the innate propensity to autarchy is totally lacking…there is the pure dispossession of the one who does not rely upon [herself]….Instead, the whole human being enters salvation.” Mary didn’t care about what she wanted, only what God wanted. By denying herself, she gained everything.

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