The thoughts, ideas, findings, and fancies of a Catholic student at Our Lady's University.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Movie Review: Peter Pan

"The timeless story as you've never seen it before", says the poster. That's the truth, and it's a good thing. This is a fairy tale, but definitely not in the same way as Disney's version, with its blundering Hook and comical croc. Instead, we have a villain who taunts a vanquished (and pre-teen) foe with the prospect of dying alone and unloved, and a veritable leviathan of a sea stalker.

As part of the more grown-up telling of this story, the filmmakers also play up the tension between Peter and Wendy. There's nothing more than a kiss or two, but there are lots of humorous references to the thumble/kiss confusion and a very sweet explanation of a girl's first kiss.

All in all, a very good movie. I wasn't expecting it, but I found myself entertained through the whole thing. Highly recommended for a little diversion.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Chapel Update

There hasn't been a whole lot of progress on the chapel lately (they've been working on the electrical wiring and other less-visible aspects), but I found a photo that I thought I had posted a while ago, but apparently never did (mea culpa).

So, from June 5:
(apologies for the quality; I literally just stuck my arm through the plastic sheeting over the doorway and snapped a photo without looking)
The view from the lobby has changed somewhat; as you can see, the wall has been put up to divide the lounge and the chapel. No, the chapel walls aren't purple (it's just the sheetrock - see below for the real color).

And then, from today:

The same view as above, but now painted. Obviously, we're still waiting on the stained glass, but the mysterious packages may just contain the wood flooring...

I didn't realize this photo was so fuzzy until I got in onto the computer, but you can still tell what it is. Yes, that's right: a place where the altar should obviously and rightly stay! It's such a crazy idea, it might just work!

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Ever Ancient, Ever New

By popular request, here are some photos of what the Basilica looks like for the summer. In addition to replacing the spire that was blown off a year ago, they are reportedly doing other maintenance (though no one seems to know any details), which is probably a good idea, since it took a month to get all the scaffolding up in the first place. Of course, it makes a somewhat less-than-picturesque backdrop for summer wedding photos, and some of the older alumni who I've run into on campus seem paranoid that there's a secret plan to tear down the steeple altogether and "modernize" the building, but given that it's going to look like this until October (according to rumor), I'm guessing people will get used to it. It is kind of a glaring change to the familiar skyline, though.

(Props to Emily for suggesting the title for this post)

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fuzzy Science

I wasn't too excited about taking Ecology and Environmental Issues in the first place, given my harrowing experience in Psych last semester, but I needed a science class, and I didn't want to take O-Chem, so this fit the bill. So far, it's actually been pretty interesting; more Ecology than Environmental Issues.

The textbook publisher provided a powerpoint presentation (say that 10 times fast!) to assist professors with their lectures. Well, the first chapter of the book is devoted teaching the scientific method, means of evaluating the science used in news stories, etc., with the goal of being able to check that claims are backed up with actual science.

Well, that was chapter one. Chapter two gets into some actual "environmental issues", and therein lies the problem. The provided powerpoint slips in slides that say in big, scary, italics "Pollution kills 40,000 people a year!" and "Overpopulation exacerbates every environmental issue". And where, exactly, is the science to back those up? Sorry, but they taught me to ask.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Today's must-read article (via Dawn Eden) is this piece: "How to Discern the Elements of Your Personal Vocation".

St. Ignatius instructs us to consider the pros and cons of each option. It might even help to write these out. Sometimes proceeding in this way eliminates all but one option and leaves nothing to discern, but often enough two or more options remain. At this point, it is time for emotion to play its part. St. Ignatius suggests that we imagine how we would advise someone else in our exact situation, and follow the advice we would give to that other person. He also has us imagine what we would wish we had chosen if we were looking back on our choice, first from our deathbed and then from the perspective of judgment day. He says we should decide now what we would then wish we had decided.
The idea is that if we are upright, God speaks to us through the desires of our hearts. It makes no sense to tell an adulterer or a greedy person to follow his or her desires, but it makes perfect sense to tell someone who is interested in discovering and following God’s will to do so. This surely is what St. Augustine means in exhorting us to love and do what we will.
The second part especially jumped out at me. I think there's a tendency to think that we should go in the opposite direction of whatever we feel inclined toward because, after all, God must be calling us to a life of sacrifice. But the point of discernment is to align our will to the will of God, and isn't it *possible* that our wills are already aligned to the point that the option that is attractive and pleasing to us is also what's pleasing to God?
If we have eliminated the morally illegitimate options and sincerely strive to do God’s will, we can be confident that he will speak to us through the desires of our hearts. After some time of pondering the different options, one eventually will emerge as the more appealing, and we will be at peace with embracing it. When that happens, our discernment is over. Then we must accept the discernment by beginning to live it out.
Read the whole thing. Then print it, take it to Adoration, and read it again (highlighting as necessary). Yes, it's that good.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Image Source

For some reason, it just strikes me that Latin wasn't meant to be used thusly. Maybe it's because "Yes, we can" is a lame slogan anyway, and putting it into Latin doesn't automatically make it better.

Friday, June 13, 2008

John and Mary Catholic, you've just been insulted

I've seen in a few places today references to Bp. Trautman's objections about the proposed translations, this time to the Proper of Seasons. I thought these articles sounded familiar, and sure enough, he said the same things almost exactly a year ago.

Allow me to reprint what I wrote at the time (I even checked the links to make sure they still work):

John & Mary Catholic in the Spotlight

If you haven't already seen them, check out Amy Welborn's informative and highly amusing thread on Bishop Trautman's statement that the average Catholic will have trouble understanding the proposed translations of the Mass. For a succinct and witty response, do read George Weigel's article "We Are Not Morons"

" Are there clunkers in the new translations? Undoubtedly. But will ICEL’s attempt to restore the sacral vocabulary and linguistic rhythms of the Roman Rite to Catholic worship within the Anglosphere destroy our ability to pray as a community? Please; we’re not morons. I’d even venture the guess that prayers translated with far more fidelity to the Latin originals will be a step toward a deeper, more prayerful encounter with what Bishop Trautman rightly calls “the greatest gift of God, the Eucharist.”
Suppose for a minute that Catholics do come across unfamiliar words in the liturgy. Oddly enough, publishers seem to have anticipated such a dilemma by coming out with a book that - wait for it - provides the meaning of unfamiliar words. Even easier, if one were to Google, for example, "unsullied", and click on the first result, one would find the alternate meaning of "clean". The next time that word came up - in the liturgy or elsewhere - it would no longer be a mystery. More importantly, it would, I believe, lead to a higher level of engagement in said liturgy. Speaking at least for myself, I believe I would find myself more likely to pay attention if I had invested even a small amount of time into discovering the meaning of the prayers. Besides, having some level of mental engagement (hearing uncommon vocabulary) can only force listeners to pay closer attention, and I don't think anyone's arguing against that. A common tip in SAT prep for the Verbal section is to use context to determine or make an educated guess at the meaning of a word. Again, I think we would all be better off if we paid closer attention to what has sadly become all-too-familiar and zoned-out-upon words (I speak as much to myself here as to anyone).

Not only that, but the distinction between the language of the liturgy and the language of everyday conversation leads to a heightened sense of propriety. When one steps into a church, one is (hopefully) reminded visually that they are in a special place. The sights, smells, and music serve as a reminder that this is something set apart, and so too should the words spoken. When you receive a wedding invitation, it doesn't say "My parents and his parents want you to come to our wedding on June 7 - 1:30-ish. Let us know if you can make it." Rather, the words used denote the significance of the event taking place.

I mentioned SAT prep before. Most 11th & 12th grade students are required or strongly encouraged to take an SAT prep class. A bit part of that is studying vocabulary, including words like "abase", "abstruse", "onerous", and "obviate". If the average high-schooler can familiarize themselves with those words, which they'll rarely use, I think they can handle "sullied" and "unfeigned", which will - God willing - be used every Sunday in every Catholic church.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Celebrity sighting...(?)

Spotted today at the Grotto, amidst the funeral cards and other remembrances of the deceased: a torn-off magazine cover featuring a large picture of Christian Bale. Why, you ask? Beats me.

Through the chapel door

Summer Adoration started this evening. We were lucky enough to get it from 7-9 every Wednesday. While I wasn't able to stay for long, it was really great to have the opportunity to go again after a hiatus of several weeks, and there were several people there.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Kitchen Goodness

A few recipes I've tried out lately:

  • Granola. Based on this recipe (with the following changes to the ingredient list).

    6 cups rolled oats
    1 cup sunflower seeds
    1 cup chopped almonds or pecans (I used - I think - a 6 oz. bag; it came out to about 1 1/2 cups. I didn't have a knife handy, so I just broke them in half, which was perfect)
    3/4 cup coconut or canola oil
    1/2 cup real or maple syrup
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
    ½ cup flax seeds
    1/2 cup sesame seeds
    Up to 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (I couldn't find unsweetened, but regular worked just fine)
    1 cup dried cranberries
    3/4 banana chips, broken

    Thanks to the dorm oven, one pan burned a little, but once it was mixed in with the rest, it actually gave it a nice flavor.

  • Oatmeal cookies. In search of a cookie recipe that only made a dozen or so, I came across this one, which uses instant oatmeal. I took advantage of the stockpile of oatmeal left over in the kitchen (unfortunately, the packaging was all in Spanish, but I managed to guess pretty accurately which flavor was in which package). I added vanilla extract and chocolate chips, and they turned out really well. Plus, it only took me about 20 minutes start-to-finish.


FOR TODAY June 3...
Outside My Window... rain. It was painfully humid this morning, so I'm glad it finally "broke" and just started raining.
I am thinking... that it would be a good day just to go back to bed.
I am thankful for... come on, must you ask?
From the kitchen... feeling a little under the weather, so right now, I've got a cup of cocoa and an orange.
I am wearing... a skirt and t-shirt.
I am creating... a few different things, but mostly just the aforementioned socks, which are coming along nicely (although I haven't gotten to the hard part yet).
I am going... to bed early tonight.
I am reading... "Liberating Liturgies", the latest in the on-going parade of scary books found in the library and other various places. Credit for finding this one goes to Kim; I can't imagine why she thought of me when she saw it :-P
I am hoping... that I don't end up working on Thursday or Friday.
I am hearing... the rain. An added bonus: the weather made the masonry work stop early for the day, so they've been quiet for the last few hours. Also, I think I found the perfect soundtrack for a rainy afternoon.
Around the house... sorting the necessary stuff out from the unnecessary in hopes of getting it out of my way soon.
One of my favorite things... having nothing to do but curl up and read.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Oh, you know, this and that; work, read, maybe a few other things coming up this weekend.
Here is picture thought I am sharing...


From Dawn Eden comes this reflection by Fulton J. Sheen on love:

EVERY PERSON carries within his heart a blueprint of
the one he loves. What seems to be "love at first
sight" is actually the fulfillment of desire, the
realization of a dream. Plato, sensing this, said that
all knowledge is recollection from a previous
existence. This is not true as he states it, but it
true if one understands it to mean that we
already have an ideal in us—one which is made by our
thinking, our habits, our experiences, and our desire.
Otherwise how would we know immediately, on seeing
persons or things, that we loved them? Before meeting
certain people we already have a pattern and mold of
what we like and what we do not like, certain persons
fit into that pattern, others do not.

When we hear music for the first time, we either like
or dislike it. We judge it by the music we already
have heard in our own hearts. Jittery minds which
cannot long repose in one object of thought or in
continuity of an idea love music which is distracting,
excited, and jittery. Calm minds like calm music: the
heart has its own secret melody, and one day when the
score is played the heart answers, "This is it."

So it is with love. A tiny architect works inside the
human heart drawing sketches of the ideal love from
the people it sees, from the books it reads, from its
hopes and daydreams, in the fond hope that the eye may
one day see the ideal and the hand touch it. Life
becomes satisfying the moment the dream is seen
walking, and the person appears as the incarnation
of all that one loves. The liking is instantaneous—
because, actually, it has been there waiting for a
long time.

Do read the whole article. It's not terribly long, and well worth your time. His explanation of love at first sight is fascinating and raises the importance of proper formation. If, as Sheen writes, our concept of "the one" is formed by "our thinking, our habits, our experiences, and our desire", how important it is to ensure that those formative elements - including the example of parents, teachers, and friends - create a solid foundation!

He continues with a beautiful image of marriage as preparation for Heaven:

With marriage and its ripening with the fruit of love,
there will dawn a new understanding that everyone
carries with him a blueprint of the one he loves, and
that One is God. The other partner then is seen as the
Lord's John the Baptist, preparing the way and making
straight His paths.
So, not only should our interior concept lead us to one who fulfills the ideal, but ultimately, that idea should also lead us on to God. It's common to hear that spouses must lead one another to Heaven, but it is a bit different to hear them compared to the forerunner. Spouses are not the pinnacle of relationship, and so far from the perfection of God that they are not even worthy to "loosen the thongs of His sandals", but rather, it is their calling to prepare the other for God.

(Incidentally, I love the image of the "tiny architect" inside us; it brings to mind those old animated educational videos)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Luckily, I think I've come down off Cloud Nine a little bit since Saturday. I was downright giddy yesterday, and the night before that I couldn't sleep at all. Why do I say "luckily"? Well, as I wrote to Mary Liz:
"My stream of consciousness ran something like: Oh man. I'm a Notre Dame student. I get a class ring. I get a meal plan. No more walking from Saint Mary's. I don't have to wake up ridiculously early to go to Mass. I'm going to be a Notre Dame alum. I get to take all my classes here. My parents get to come for JPW. They get football tickets, too. Ooh, this solves my Father's day gift dilemma; I'll just get him a ------------... Man, this just simplifies so many things. Who cares if I don't get housing? Oh man. I'm a Notre Dame student... and so on and so forth for the better part of an hour. Hopefully I'll get used to the concept soon, or I'll be one sleep-deprived Domer."

Rejection/wait-list letters: 3
Candles lit at the Grotto: One virtually every day I've been here since August
Transcripts sent to Admissions Office: 6
Study abroad grant I won't be using anymore: $2514
Credits I'm taking this summer to fulfill ND FYS requirements: 6
Days until I can walk up the steps of Main Building: 1077

Being a Domer forever: Priceless.


Sunday, June 01, 2008

There are no words.

(but if there was a word, it would be ~reeeeeeeeeee!~)

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