Saturday, October 27, 2007

If you say so

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Chesterton's ability to weave astonishing paradoxes, marvelous truths and perfect humor into a engaging, educating and incredible story is astounding, and in Manalive he certainly puts his gifts to work.

Innocent Smith is a mystery. Literally blown in to the story by a great wind, he begins climbing trees, spouting nonsensical English, retrieving hats and creating a general feeling cheerfulness as soon as his feet touch ground. In the course of the next few pages, this atmosphere becomes more pronounced and by the middle of chapter four all of the principle characters are engaged to one and other. Thus a happily-ever-after ending seems just around the corner. However before that can become a reality we meet several crime-specialists who introduce a startling series of accusations which question the Innocence of Inoccent. In a makeshift courtroom, the charges of murder, burglary, desertion and polygamy are brought to the doorstep of Mr. Smith. His freedom seems, to put it midly, lost. But, as one of my friends once said, "surprises are the hallmark of the Sage of Beaconsfield*", and as someone who I would greatly like to call my friend once said "things are not always as they seem." Although none of the evidence against Smith is false, he is indeed as blameless as his name suggests. As we learn near the end of the book "he has broken the conventions but he has kept the commandments."

However, the basic storyline can only give you the faintest of ideas of how hilarious and how true and thoughtful this marvelous book is. If you don't own a copy, you can read it here. Just read a few paragraphs whenever you have a spare minute, it is well worth your time.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

For Writing Class this Week

St. Therese of the Child Jesus

In 1873 in Liseux France, Louis and Zelie Martin gave birth to a ninth child and named her Mary Therese. When Therese was only four, her mother died. Choosing Pauline as her "little mother" after her own mother's death, Therese became very close to her older sister. When Pauline joined the cloistered Carmelite order, Therese was understandably devastated, and soon fell ill. Terrified by hallucinations and burning with fever, Therese lay in danger of death. Her anxious family, in an almost constant state of prayer, moved the statue of the Lady of the Smile into the sickroom. Suddenly instead of the monsters that had been tormenting her for weeks Therese saw a beautiful woman, smiling gently. Therese was miraculously cured. Despite her sadness at Pauline's departure, Therese was drawn to the Carmelite order, and when another sister Marie also entered the order, Therese was drawn even closer. As a young teen Therese began her quest to enter Carmel, but over and over, she was refused. Finally at the age of fifteen Therese’s peaceful battle was won and she entered the convent. A number of years later, after her sister Celine had also joined the Carmelites, Therese contracted tuberculosis. She tried valiantly to conceal her sickness and played her part well enough that to some it seemed that she was faking her illness, but in 1897 tuberculosis took her life. Thanks to the numerous miracles attributed to the Little Flower, her beatification took place much earlier then was usual, in 1923, and canonized only two years later.

The Little Flower’s spiritual beauty did not mature in one simple spurt, but slowly bloomed over the course of her life, as the Great Gardener watched over her and gently guided her to Sainthood. Therese learned to pray at the age of two and to perform sacrifices at three. By the age of eleven frequent prayer at ordinary tasks had become a habit. Yet Therese was still very much a child. Then at fourteen she experienced what she called her Christmas Conversion, and the childish teen became a woman. Although Therese wanted to be a missionary and a martyr, after entering Carmel she realized this calling was not readily available for cloistered nuns. So she prayed instead. She prayed for the missionaries whom she could not join, she did her chores without complaining, and with these and other small sacrifices she earned her way to heaven. Outwardly she was plain, she did nothing that seemed exceptional to anyone, but her soul was growing more and more beautiful with each tiny chore. It is this little way of hers that shows us holiness is within our reach, and tells us, with more then just words, that anyone can be a saint.

In 1929, the young woman who considered herself so weak, and whose dream of becoming a missionary and martyr was never fulfilled, was proclaimed Patroness of Foreign Missions. She shared this high honor with St. Francis Xavier. Eighteen years later in 1947, this same young woman was made Patroness of her country of France, along with the saint she had always looked up to so much, St. Joan of Arc.

Great deeds are forbidden me. I cannot preach the gospel nor shed my blood- but what does it matter? My brothers toil instead of me and I, a little child, keep close by the throne of God and I love for those who fight. Love proves itself by deeds. I will scatter flowers, perfuming the Divine Throne, and I'll sweetly sing my hymn of love. These flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least of actions for love.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

99 balloons

I'm still wiping my eyes.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Little Literary Math

Frequent rereading of The Ballad of the White Horse, especially of the third book, in an attempt at memorization + reading through the script of Alice in Wonderland (combined with Through the Looking Glass, our drama groups' first performance) numerous times= the rather odd combination, which you see below, running through the head:

How swiftly and with peril
They gather all good things,*
Shoes and ships and sealing wax
Of cabbages and kings*

*The high horns of the forest beasts,
Or the secret stones of kings.
-From book three of The Ballad of the White Horse By G.K. Chesterton

*And why the sea is boiling hot
and whether pigs have wings
-From Through the Looking Glass By Lewis Carrol

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Battle of Lepanto

Since today is the 436th anniversary of the battle of Lepanto and since I am a Chesterton lover, obviously I must post part of Chesterton's poem on that rightly famous battle. So voila, the actual battle scene from the poem you see below your current eyelevel, assuming you are reading this. The earlier part of this poem is well worth your time (my mom and I just read it outloud together, and it sounded amazing) and you can read it here. Oh and the Wikipedia Lepanto page is quite interesting as well. Anyways, time for the poem.

The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
(Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
The hidden room in man's house where God sits all the year,
The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
They veil the plum├Ęd lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
They are lost like slaves that sweat, and in the skies of morning hung
The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
Before the high Kings' horses in the granite of Babylon.
And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign--
(But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate's sloop,
Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.

Vivat Hispania!
Domino Gloria!
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!

Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
(Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.)
And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
Up which a lean and foolish knight for ever rides in vain,
And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade....
(But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Jefferson Smith is an idealistic, small-town young man who suddenly finds himself a United States senator. Placed in his position by a rich, power-hungry man, Mr. James A. Taylor, Smith is not supposed to do anything but vote on a bill, allegedly constructed as a relief bill, but actually concocted to fill the pockets of Taylor. When Smith uncovers the plan and tries to tell the senate the truth, he finds himself engaged in an overpowering battle against the unbelieveably powerful Taylor. But against overwhelming odds, Smith keeps fighting, and the quote below is from the climax of this fight, and actually the whole movie. Ahem I quote from memory, so it's not quite word for word.

I guess this is just another lost cause Mr. Payne. All you people don’t know about lost causes, Mr. Payne does. He said once they were the only causes worth fighting for, and he fought for them once, for the only reason that any man does. Because of just one simple rule; Love thy Neighbor. And in this world today full of hate a man who knows that rule has a great trust, you know that rule Mr. Payne, and I loved you for it just like my father did. And you know that you fought for the lost causes harder then any others, you even died for them, like a man we both knew.
You think I’m licked, you all think I’m licked. Well I’m not licked. I’m gonna stay right here and fight for this lost cause, even if this room gets filled with lies like these. And all the Taylors and Paynes come marching in. Somebody will listen to me.

Starring James Stewart (in what I personally think is his finest performance) this is an incredible movie, and I VERY highly reccomend it.

Friday, October 05, 2007

JBY 07

I attended John Bosco Youth Day for the third time this year, and I have to say, it keeps getting better. Archbishop Dolan, Steve Angriasino, Martin Doman, Andy Meier... and so much more, it was incredible. The Archbishop began the day with an opening prayer and short address, and led a decade of the rosary. One of the coolest things about JBY is the atmosphere (the best word I can think of for it) created by so many people united with one purpose, the atmosphere that can turn such mediocre songs as Open My Eyes Lord, into beautiful hymns. And since the rosary is already such a great prayer well: rosary+ archibishop Dolan + JBY atmosphere + the communion of saints, whose presence it was not difficult to feel= One amazing 15 minutes.

Directly following the archibishop's departure, Steve Angriasino gave his talk. His stories of courage in the Columbine high school shooting in his town, a girl who refused to deny her faith and survived eight bullets and a boy who gave up his life for his friend made for a very moving talk.

After him there was a drama called "ropes" performed by several members of the Holy Hill Youth Group, but I can't tell you much about how it looked from the audience since I was on the stage.

Then came lunch including a very crowded trip up the Holy Hill tower and time to chat with a few of the dozens of friends who were also there. Following that was a brief talk by a few Dominican nuns from Nashville.
Next (as you see to your right) Andy Meier came and played percussion with Martin Doman and his band. I think the song was God of Wonders, but I can't remember for sure. If it was, it certainly would have made sense. For about a week earlier this year, doctors were doubtful that Andy would live, and now he's back playing percussion. It was awesome.
Unfortunately I had to leave after this ): so I can't tell you much more, however I hear that Andy stayed and played percussion for adoration and mass as well. Well I have a number of friends who did stay, perhaps I can get one of them to write about the rest of the day.

Oh, the pictures I have aren't very good, but I'm hoping there will be some published somewhere from a better photographer that I can at least link to in the near (or far) future.