Thursday, 24 April 2014

7 QTF of Canonizations and Laptops and Things

Yes, yes; I know it is Thursday, but it shall only be so for a couple of hours, and I needed a study break, so... a little early.

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Most Slow-Clap Inducing Post
Have you read 50 Ways to Celebrate Easter for 50 Days? If not, do. The ideas are great, especially if you are having a bit of trouble getting used to the idea of a fifty-day-long part-ay.

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Most Annoying Yet Nice Thing
I have my own computer! One of my older sisters gave me her used laptop over Easter weekend, as she had gotten a new one. It is a tad old by laptop standards, but in excellent condition (thanks, Rozzie!). The only problem is that I cannot find out how to change the keyboard from French standard back to English. The keyboard is bilingual, and the setting is done in such a way that the question-mark shows up like a capital letter E with an accent over it. Bah, humbug. Is anyone really technologically-savvy and have a clue how to switch it aroundÉ

\3/
Most Thrillingly Catholic Thing That is Happening
...the upcoming canonizations, of course!! I have my JPII Holy Card at the ready with a little candle beneath it, and I fully intend to spend the weekend researching both of the late popes. Here, in honour, is my favourite picture of the late, Great Pope John Paul II.


And check this out!

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Best Pope John XXIII Quotes

"It often happens that I wake up at night and begin to think about the serious problems afflicting the world and I tell myself, I must talk to the pope about it. Then the next day when I wake up I remember that I am the pope."

"Madame, I trust you understand that the papal conclave is not exactly a beauty contest."

"There are three ways to face ruin: women, gambling and farming. My father chose the most boring one."


\5/
The Curse of the Interweb Apologetic
One of my best friends, Tarry, is preparing a presentation on the Book of Revelation for our Bible & Religion class, and she asked if I could recommend any books on the subject. I did know one (soon to be on The Catholic Bookshelf!), so I told her I would send the most explanatory quotes to her over Facebook. Little did I realize that the noble task would take two hours. I almost expected Professor Snape to pop up and snarl that fifty points were gone from Ravenclaw on account of my being an insufferable know-it-all, but then I remembered that all Ravenclaws are insufferable know-it-alls. That is the entire purpose of the House. This observation made me feel better.

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In Case You Wanted to Know Some More About the Bridal Traditions of Sparta...



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The Tweet That Made My Day



A blessed Friday to you,

Grace

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Brideshead 101

The lovely Lady Peregrin has graciously typed up her take on the classic Brideshead Revisited (coincidentally, the first novel to be discussed for The Catholic Bookshelf). Afore you read, go check out her wonderful blog, then come back and read this, and then go back and read some more of her blog.

***

Brideshead 101: a Crash-Course in a Small Percentage of What You May Want to Know

Brideshead Revisited.  I’m obsessed with this book.  The thing about Brideshead is that it's such a deep book.  On the outside, it's the memoir of a young man who enters into the life of a dysfunctional and immoral family.  On the inside, it's... well, it's sublime.  Waugh manages to craft his characters so well that none of them are perfect and none of them are entirely evil either.  They're just journeying through life.  It's the incredibly subtle tones that make this the "best Catholic novel of the 20th century", according to Father Robert Barron (of Mundelein! *squee*).  It's beauty lies in its slowness, in its quiet symbolism.  Much as I love CS Lewis’ Narnia series and his exposition on the allegories of the Christian life, I appreciate that Waugh wasn’t inspid enough to make his characters too clear.  Each character is a plethora of hope, joy, anger, prejudice, and sin.  Nobody is perfectly good, and nobody is perfectly evil.  
 I nearly drove myself insane after I had read it, journaling about it late into the night, constantly thinking of new philosophies that tangent off of this book (man, there are so many!).  I decided to make a list of things to keep in the back (or forefront, probably) of your mind while reading this book - things that I wish that I had known before I picked it up and opened it.

1.      Colors.  Always colors.  The grey of the early morning in the prologue, the vibrant hues of summer in Arcadia, the somber tones of his life without Sebastian, the "small red flame" that burns yet in the epilogue.  Somehow, Waugh manages to evoke heartbreaking emotions of nostalgia, hopelessness, and longing.

      

2. This quote.  "I caught him with an unseen hook and an invisible line which is long enough to let him wander to the ends of the world, and still to bring him back with a twitch upon the thread."  Remember.



3. Charles is an artist; Sebastian has a keen eye for beauty.  In his odd ways, Sebastian awakens Charles's longing for light, beauty, and love.  Keep in mind that Charles' life has been loveless and devoid of beauty until Sebastian shows him Brideshead.  Julia reawakens this desire; it's strange that such sin should be in itself a vehicle for the movement of Grace, but Our Lord turns even evil into goodness.  "Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more."  ~ Romans 5:20   Each little thing contributes to the grand sum of the end of the story.  Minuscule happenings, ordinary things - you're tempted to overlook them because they seem so small.  We never know until the end.  These promptings of our heart are no coincidences - they're little nudges, so to speak, from God.  Fleeting earthly pleasure, the shame of drunkenness, the scandal of an illicit affair - strangely, all these are agents of grace.  Our Lord works in mysterious ways.  For example, little Charles was starved for beauty.  *introducing Sebastian and Brideshead*  By learning to love material things in this world, Charles draws nearer to God, who is the culmination of all Beauty.  "I sought this world and  chased its finer things/ yet were these not in You, they would not have been.  My ceaseless longing hid the deeper truth/ in all my desires, I was desiring You."  ~ "Prayer of Augustine"  By falling into sin, he'll finally be able to see the beauty of salvation.  "The worse I am, the more I need God" ~(I'm-not-going-to-say-who-said-this-Spoilers! *River Song voice*)  By deliberately closing the doors to love, Charles experiences the dryness of the soul's moribund sleep.

4.      "Alive" faith vs. "stagnant" faith.  Cordelia vs. Bridey.  Julia vs. Lady Teresa Marchmain.  Strange, how Bridey, the one who at first seemed the most spiritual, is the one with a hollow, charred soul at the end of the book.  Faith is not merely an outward duty; it must spring from the heart.

5.   Maybe think of Brideshead as the Church - "the Church is the bride of Christ, who is the Head of the mystical body".  Brideshead contains everything lovely.  Returning to Brideshead - reconciling with the Church?  Finding fullness once more.

6.     They all seek true freedom, true happiness, true love.  In one way or another, the things that they desire ensnare them and enslave them.  Remember that.

7.      Anthony Blanche.  He’s perhaps the most curious and interesting character in the whole book – good or bad ultimately?  I can’t tell.  What is Waugh trying to tell us?  Arrrgh I have no idea.  “It’ll come, it’ll come” ~ Les Mis, the musical

 8.      The 2008 TV series.  Yes, it’s directed by Andrew Davies; yes, Davies tackled the magnificent and extremely accurate 1995 Pride and Prejudice.  No, that does not mean that he did a good job with his interpretation of Brideshead.  Waugh was a strict Catholic; the book is written with an unashamedly Catholic lens.  Waugh knew that there was much sin in the world, but he knew that the grace of God was stronger than any sin.  Therefore, when a director does not acknowledge the grace of God, and only focuses on the sinful aspects of the story, the story… is… ruined.  What happens when we look at disillusioned youth, flaunted homosexuality, adultery, and alcoholism as not agents of grace but instead despair? A sick taste in the mouth.  Now, maybe I should add that I’ve never seen the series – primarily because of the above reason, but also strongly because Sebastian Flyte is played by Ben Whishaw, who has dark hair.  (Gasp.)  (And I don’t like Julia’s hairstyle.  It looks horrid.) 

Classy.

 
Classy.

Semi-classy.

Awkward.


WUT.

Sebastian, STOP.

So, no thank you, I’ll take my Brideshead Roman Catholic and I’ll take Sebastian Flyte blond.

And again, so we don’t end this in a sour, cynical, depressed mood.  This quote.  "I caught him with an unseen hook and an invisible line which is long enough to let him wander to the ends of the world, and still to bring him back with a twitch upon the thread."  Chills.  Now excuse me, I’m going to read Brideshead again.  Which means that I will subsequently fill up another notebook, and I’ll most likely be back at my own blog, squiggling and fangirling over this book.  Enjoy the respite while I read.  Maybe the quiet will induce you into reading Brideshead too.   

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Presently ~ Eastertide Musings



So. It's Easter! And everyone is under the impression that I am already confirmed, but let me explain to you thing: I shall not be properly initiated until late May, alas and alack. I'm not too unhappy about it (Mary's Month, after all!), just rather impatient. I'm also not too terribly excited to invite all of the Protestant relatives my mother says I should invite... but such is life. The first-world problems shan't steal the joy!
Even so, it's rather gloomy over here. This may be due to the over-consumption of sugar after Lent ended, the exhaustion of attending ALL the Triduum Masses, or just that numb feeling one gets after a long party- picking absently at what's left of the food, in a dim room that seems suddenly cavernous, wearing a dress that seems suddenly too tight. After all of the conflicting emotions of Holy Week- solemn anticipation on Maundy Thursday, painful humbling on Good Friday, the joy and peace of Easter Vigil- one can get rather, well, numb. You know, when sitting in the dark with a bottle of something bitter and fizzy (ginger ale is my lot), and Bach on the radio, seems like a good idea. Or maybe curling up in bed with a chocolate bar and some Downton Abbey. 


...and in the background, we see proof of my Dutch Blitz
mania.



***
The weather has been so wonderfully weird. Soft, puffy snowflakes sift through the layers of the sky and onto the parchment-coloured grass on some days; other days, it's hot, and other days, like January. It's rather like a fairytale.

***
There's a fellow in my parish music ministry who looks so much like Jon Snow that whenever I pass him, I want to hiss, "You know nothing."
And speaking of Game of Thrones (of which I am actually not a fan, contrary to popular belief), I've found a fantastic recipe for 'lemony lemony lemon cakes' that I cannot wait to make and share with y'all. You don't have to like the series to eat the food... right?

***
Lately, I've been listening to Audrey Assad's album Fortunate Fall constantly. It is such an excellent collection of the most beautiful Christian music, and absolutely parfait for this joyous season. It's not syrupy or superficial, which, unfortunately, much of the worship music of this era has become. The lyrics are so truthful and comforting, and Audrey's voice is, as always, lovely. I happened to see the cover art for her newest album, which I don't think has been released yet, Death Be Not Proud. The photo was taken just recently while Ms Assad was (is?) pregnant, which is just nice. Because, as we know, life conquers death in the end (what Easter's all about, after all!), and what communicates the beauty of life as much as a mother?


***

***
“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”
-Blessed Pope John Paul II-


A blessed Easter season to you,

Grace

Rejoice, O Earth, in Shining Splendour


Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, Our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendour,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Saviour shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God's people!





Friday, 18 April 2014

So Great a Redeemer


He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
    and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
 
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
 
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
 
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.
 
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.



Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
    and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
    and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
 
After he has suffered,
    he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
    and he will bear their iniquities.
 
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
    and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
    and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
    and made intercession for the transgressors.


- Isaiah 53:2-12 -



O Happy Fault, fortunate fall, felix culpa,
that gained for us so great a 
Redeemer.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Morning Offering to the Sacred Heart



O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all our associates, and in particular for the intentions of our Holy Father the Pope. Amen.
-Morning Offering to the Sacred Heart of Jesus-




Love overcomes, love delights, those who love the Sacred Heart rejoice. - St. Bernadette Soubirous

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, fountain of eternal life, Your Heart is a glowing furnace of Love. You are my refuge and my sanctuary. - St. Gertrude the Great

Dear Lord! To win my heart, from heaven Thou didst come; for me Thy blood didst shed, O King adored! and on our altars makest Thy home. So, if I may not here behold Thy Face, or catch the heavenly music of Thy Voice, I still can live, each moment, by Thy grace, and in Thy Sacred Heart I can rest. - St. Therese of Lisieux



Friday, 11 April 2014

7 QTF of Elsa and Birthdays

~1~
Sometimes we have to rant. Bearing this in mind, read this work of brilliancy.

~2~
A dear pen-pal gave me this interweb card for my birthday (oh, I turned somethingteen on the 5th of April, by the way). 'tis splendid, no?


~3~
Would you like to sign this petition to defend the Church's teachings on an aspect of sexuality? Contrary to popular belief, we don't actually have to 'get with the times'. 

~4~
And my brother bought me the Frozen soundtrack for my birthday. I'm just sitting here wondering how long it will be until he regrets it. But it puts me a great deal in mind of Peregrin's thoughts on Elsa's introversion/anxiety problems...
and this fan-art .
~5~
Quote of the Week

"Every child that isn't born, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, has the face of the Lord."
-Pope Francis-

~6~
Jam of the Week

Something in the Water by Brooke Fraser on Grooveshark

~7~




That just about wraps things up. I hope all of you are having a lovely meatless Friday. Lent... almost... over...

Grace

About the Pictures...

I may not be the world's best photographer, but all the photographs on this bloggy are mine unless I tell you otherwise. Please ask before you nab, and credit the pictures back here. Thank you!

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