Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tuesday Tidbits #3

Running Through My Head Today:

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes from Cinderella (2015; Lily James) and It is Well With My Soul

Grateful For:

The transitional deacon who has been assigned to our parish for the past two years has been reassigned to our parish as his first assignment after he is ordained to the priesthood in a few weeks. There is a very interesting article about him here: Higher Calling Supplants High Court Dream

Everything Keeps Coming Up...

Mary. Yes, I'm finishing up my (re)consecration to Jesus through Mary with 33 Days to Morning Glory on May 13th. Last time I met with my spiritual director, I had a list of things I was working on and realized that the answer to all of them was to be found in turning to Mary.

This consecration includes 33 days of preparation and prayer timed to be completed on a Marian feast day. (You can view a chart here.) John and I were married on the feast of the Queenship of Mary and did St. Louis de Montfort's Marian consecration leading up to that day.

33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael Gaitley has a simpler format than the original preparation material  (it only takes a few minutes to read each day - and I really look forward to the material) but it is very beautiful and substantial and leaves you with plenty to reflect on each day. It is a very doable devotion for ordinary busy people like me. :)


We have really enjoyed the quiz site Sporcle.com over the last few years. We have spent many hours learning basic facts (like Countries of the World and Elements of the Periodic Table), memorizing bits of beautiful poems and speeches (such as St. Crispin's Day Speech from Shakespeare's Henry V, Sam's Speech from The Two Towers and Eisenhower's D-Day Speech) and even working on some basic religious knowledge, such as the Catholic Books of the Bible and the Top 200 Characters in the Bible. We have enjoyed plenty of the more trivial quizzes as well. ;)

By the way, one way to make some of these substantial quizzes more fun is to do them as a group/family. Also, for the ones newer to a quiz, they will often use most of the time themselves and let others help them for the last minute or so. Have fun with it!

I am currently reading Jane Austen's Emma and Adam Cohen's Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck. The former is rather light and delightful. The latter is rather heavy (though very readable) and I think will turn out to be an important piece of history and perspective. It is certainly very eye-opening so far (more below on this).


We recently watched On the Waterfront and Life is Beautiful. Both are serious and thought-provoking classics that I hadn't seen in many years. I liked both of them more than I had remembered. Most of the kids enjoyed both of them (Frank, in particular, really enjoys substantial, clever and meaty things for his age), but it's not bad to remember that that kind of thing is not everyone's cup of tea. Others opted out of both movies.

I'm quite sure that it's not a matter of superficiality of character. Everyone deals with great stories and the battles between good and evil in different ways. For me, a serious movie with dire struggles against terrible evil can bring comfort and peace because it genuinely applies to the real evils that I'm seeing in the real world. But for me too, there are times when laughter and lightness is the best medicine.

Quote I'm Pondering: 

It's really easy for me to whitewash the past and think that the great moral and social dilemmas and crises of our times have no precedence before, say, the 1960s. I imagine it's a part of human nature to glorify the past and look down upon what "kids these days" are doing. This book I'm reading on eugenics is a good antidote to this problem. In every age, people are called upon to stand up for what is right in the midst of terrible societal trends. Back in the 1910s and 1920s in America, eugenics (and especially sterilization of those seen as "unfit") was all the rage to "purify" the human race of unwanted tendencies, like mental disabilities and criminal behavior, which were viewed as genetically fixed for future generations. There's a lot more that could be said on this topic, but here' a little quote about one man who resisted this awful way of looking at people that gives a sense of the complex issues people were struggling with in our country a hundred years ago or so:

There was another way of reading the cases, however: as an expression of general societal unease with eugenic sterilization. There had been enough enthusiasm for sterilization that in a short period of time laws were adopted across the country. Nevertheless, it was now clear that not everyone was caught up in the eugenic mania, and the resistance was not just coming from the courts. In several states, governors vetoed eugenic sterilization laws and delivered strongly worded indictments. Nebraska's governor insisted his state's sterilization bill seemed "more in keeping with the pagan age than with the teachings of Christianity", and he declared in his veto message that "man is more than an animal".

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