Monthly Archives: December, 2008

Catholic Carnival 205: Christmas Rosary

Sarah hosted this week’s Catholic Carnival. She always adds a clever spin to the list of posts; I wish I had her creativity! She’s a full-time mom and blogger and she still stays herself. If only I could have that kind of balance in my life.

The rosary theme this week groups the submissions underneath the glorious mysteries, with first-person reflections from Mary’s point of view by James M. Hahn. I always associated the joyful mysteries with Christmas; back when I used to pray the rosary daily, I prayed them for the entire octave. The Marian focus is clear this time of year, though. I much preferred them to the “updated” nativity story I read on Boundless last night.

James’s own submission is a great read. I was thinking at Mass recently that, if I ever do have children, Mass will never be the same for me. I’ll either be busy taking care of them and worshipping at the same time, or I’ll be thinking about where they are at those moments, united with me through the Eucharist across time. Like James, though, the Catholic habits I’ve built will undoubtedly remain.

Owen of Luminous Miseries relates his daughter’s experience of “feeling empty” after going to a Protestant service before Mass one Sunday. I’ve never been to a Protestant service, but I would go if I had a buddy. Based on hearsay (which I know is a tenuous foundation), I think I would miss Mass to much to switch permanently.

Adoro te Devote (love that hymn!) offers a whole slew of conversion/reversion posts. My spiritual journey is similarly long and complicated, so I can relate. If you love any kind of -version story like I do, give hers a read.

Related to, though not in the Carnival is Larry’s post at Acts of the Apostasy on CatholicGoogle. I use Pro-Life Internet in place of Google for my Firefox search bar, so I’m not in the market (so to speak) for a new search engine, but the concept is interesting. It’s distressing to see that some are still surprised that faithful Catholics do exist, though. I would assume that someone using CatholicGoogle would want to find Church documents, no?

Finally, related to Larry’s post is this AP article on iBreviary. Just when I thought high-tech Catholicism was limited to the Holy Spirit I have as my cell phone background, the LOTH bursts onto the iPhone app scene. Now that’s what I call claiming the modern world for Christ.

History’s Channeled Bias

I just finished watching a special on the History Channel about the seven deadly sins. They had two episodes tonight, on lust and envy. I love all things church-related, so even though I rarely watch the History Channel, I watched both episodes to see what they were up to and to compare. The differences –and the similarities–were striking, and a little bothersome.

The episode on lust was far more religiously-themed. It seems almost ludicrous to say that the special on the sin of envy was less religious, but I know what I saw. Lust was never once separated from love. Having read and prayed and thought as much as I have about the true nature and purpose of sex, love, and marriage, I know that lust is not love, and love not lust. Pope Gregory the Great’s reform of a fourth-century monk’s list of the eight terrible temptations of man into the traditional list of seven was made to seem like another crazy Catholic whim. The beginning of the tradition of priestly celibacy, then, followed from the desire to crush any possible enjoyment of sex. Marriage, the show concluded, was clearly promoted to eliminate all that. Modern society should succumb to its natural tendencies toward lust, then, and stop pretending like it isn’t profitable and natural.

That, of course, is ridiculous. Marriage, even sacramental Catholic marriage, is about union and procreation both, not one without the other. Lust and love are different. Like every other sin, deadly or venial, it is not the fact that such desires exist within the human heart that is sinful, it is the action that follows from the desire. One of the expert commentators finally said that, to my relief; I think it was the rabbi. In their defense, they did interview a Benedictine priest, and the visual presentation was excellent, but the content left much to be desired.

The episode on envy was not as anti-religious, but just as uneven. Envy was portrayed as the most common of the seven deadly sins, the one that everyone experiences but hides. (Aren’t they all like that?) It was a much more historical examination of envy: the power that fuels capitalism, equality, and the drive to better oneself. Envy, they reasoned, wouldn’t be so bad if you could just harness it a little. They separated the vindictiveness of envy from the distraction of jealousy, but that was as good as it got. They interviewed random high school students just to have them say what we all know: people, especially teenagers, want what others have. Just like lust, gluttony, pride, and every other sin, it’s the failure to harness temptation that leads us to sin.

Honestly, if I wanted information on the seven deadly sins, I’d probably be better off with The Divine Comedy–and that’s fiction!

ND Campus Shots

One of my surprise graduation presents back in May was a digital camera, which I took with me this summer at ND. While I’m searching for a good solution to online photo hosting, I thought I’d share some nature shots I took. Flowers don’t really move or blink, so they make good subjects. I also had a small obsession with the Golden Dome and a random statue of the Holy Family (nicknamed the Holy Hand-off). On a related note, Picasa makes good collages. (Click the thumbnails to see them in their full, enormous glory.)

The Weekly Musing #4

In the spirit of being a good hostee, I am going to participate in this round of the Weekly Musing. For Christmas, I’m giving Anna link love.

Considering the holidays that have just passed by and the ones that are to come, this Musing is all about the holiday season. I’ll try to make the questions relatively generic, so answer them based on whatever holiday you celebrate.

What were your wishes for the holiday season, material (presents – who doesn’t love them?) and non-material? Did you get everything you wished for? I wished mostly for a break! I feel like I’ve finally gotten the opportunity to be myself and be back with God over the last week. I wanted to not be Miss W. for a little while. Present-wise, I like everything my friends and family gave me. I’m very excited to have Beedle the Bard, Nemo, and The Best Yet.
Name the funniest present (i.e. a gag or joke gift) you gave to someone or someone gave to you. It can be something from this year or from years past. Last year, I gave Maura a fuzzy gift bag filled with M&M’s. I didn’t have much money then, and I definitely don’t now, but it let her know that I care. I don’t think I’ve ever given a gag gift.
What are some of your favorite foods to eat around the holidays? I love mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, all kinds of bread, and hot chocolate with whipped cream. I still don’t know what kind of rolls my grandmother serves (she buys them), but they’re so amazing!
How are you going to spend your New Year’s Eve? What are your hopes and wishes for the new year to come? I’ll be back in College Park, either at the girls’ house or the guys’. It should be low-key but fun. I hope that in 2009, I can avoid completely losing Lindsay to Miss W. again, and maybe even finish more than one non-school book. Who knows, maybe I’ll even conquer the Bible this year.


My Progress Report

I feel quite accomplished. I stayed up until about 2 a.m. blogging yesterday, but only because I spent an hour or two conquering the Iliad. I didn’t read the whole thing, only the excerpts in my World Lit textbook, but now I have a plan for how to guide my students through it. I also realized that Achilles is a really angry man, and that I should see if I can show my students any relevant scenes from Troy.

I always hated worksheets, especially in AP Lit in twelfth grade. I realized sometime during that year that what Ms. Sim was doing was guiding us through our reading. We would have to read a chapter of Lord of the Flies or one of the Canterbury Tales, then answer ten or twelve questions, some easier than others. When we came to class, we could use our “worksheet” answers during the class discussion. She was really giving us discussion points, just like Adkins for AP US History, but she called them by another name.

I still hate worksheets, but I think my kids need them. My teacher’s edition has comprehension level, plot-based questions for “less proficient readers,” as well as literary analysis discussion points. Before, I tried to actually lead a discussion using those points. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it failed miserably. I experienced more failure than success, to be honest. I had the most success when I walked them through the plot and the analysis points for Gilgamesh. Some of them even said Gilgamesh was their favorite of the (admittedly few) stories we read last semester. I know that tackling the Iliad will be difficult, and it will determine whether I bother with the Odyssey. I’m going to try using worksheets, though. I’ve just typed out the comprehension and analysis questions from my TE, but it should help as we read aloud in-class. If I can get them to keep learning pronunciations, we should manage.

It was a hard semester, but I learned from it. I would prefer to sit around finishing Rediscovering Catholicism, or just visit friends until I fly back to AL. I know that putting so much effort into planning even two weeks of lessons will pay off in the end, though. I have to believe that.

Friday Five: Books!

I love how, just when I remember the Friday Five exists, it’s about books. If only I believed in coincidence….

  1. Do you enjoy reading? Absolutely. I rarely have the opportunity to read real, physical books, but I love doing it. I read all day online and in class, but that isn’t the same.
  2. What is the first book you remember reading? When I was little, maybe six years old, I was sitting outside reading a Looney Tunes book to my friends. I remember seeing the Road Runner on the page. One hand was holding the book, but the other was resting in the grass. A wasp landed on the hand in the grass. I panicked; it stung me. I don’t remember much about the book, but that sting hurt a lot.
  3. Who is your favorite author? J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter was my life. I also like Jason Evert, Wendy Shalit (though I’ve only read one of her books), Cynthia Voigt, Lois Lowry, and E.L. Konigsburg.
  4. What is your favorite book?My favorite HP book is tied between Goblet of Fire and Deathly Hallows. My favorite classic is Pride and Prejudice. I also love Alice in Wonderland.
  5. What is the last book you read and the first you’ll read next?This one’s almost cheating: The Tales of Beedle the Bard! I only managed it because it’s so short and I had to read something on the plane home. Before that, it was probably Girls Gone Mild last January, since school reading doesn’t count. Right now, I’m working on A Civilization of Love and Rediscovering Catholicism. Reading two books at once is like a death sentence, considering my current lack of time for pleasure reading, but I didn’t want to bring a book I knew I would finish quickly. Well, that made sense when I was packing, at least.

via the Friday Five @ LJ

Catholic Carnival 204: Christmas!

I love that Christmas break means I got to catch up on my life. Not just Advent, not just Google Reader, but even the Catholic Carnival. This week is number 204, up at A Catholic Mom Climbing the Pillars. Of note is “Only by God’s Grace,” a lovely pro-life story in eight parts, and the “true meaning of Christmas” poem found at the carnival’s home for the week.

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