The Point of Blood

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It’s the end of a crazy quarter at school, and the middle of the most stressful finals week at university I’ve ever had. But in the midst of it all, St. Perpetua and Felicity’s feast day was yesterday. I am very positive that their martyrdom experience was much harder than any university finals week I will ever go through. After all, “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood,” as St. Paul writes in Hebrews 12:4. Perpetua and Felicity (Felicitas in the Latin) certainly did. Theirs is a story of friendship across race and rank as well as the martyrdom of two young mothers. Continue reading “The Point of Blood”

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La La Land: The Artist’s Struggle

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La La Land—last week spur of the moment with a couple friends I saw Hollywood’s newest musical film starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. We laughed and then cried. From a filmmaker’s standpoint, La La Land sports phenomenal art direction, acting, color, costume, and choreography design in my opinion. It’s 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.9/10 on IMDb seems to agree. Continue reading “La La Land: The Artist’s Struggle”

What is Womanhood?

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A couple weeks ago in group discussion, a bunch of us girls broached the question: “How do you describe authentic womanhood to someone in a way that doesn’t use religion as the context?”

It’s a valid question for a posse of young adults in a culture where the average girl is seeking the truth but is not open yet to hearing it in terms of “God-creating-it-that-way” or “this-part-of-the-Faith-shows-us-that.” Continue reading “What is Womanhood?”

The Mark of John Paul II

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New Joshua stood in the gates of Hell and led the people on,
Crying, “Open wide the doors to Christ. Be not afraid.” We rose.
He fought. He was born again. The Youth sprang up and fell for Christ.
And still we rise,
Horizon’s blazing stars
Scattering sparks and never burning out
As yet we soar up,
Up into the sky like fountains of flame
And as the gleaming embers penetrate the earth
Where each white-heat touches, a new torch fires up
And the never-ending, dying, immortal triumph marches on
Like the martyrs, living embers, ‘mid this century
When the Church shall rise again.
Rising like the sun of a new dawn,
Roaring like a Lion that once suffered as a Lamb,
Waking all the children sleeping weak within her gates.
For never shall the silence of the holy dead be lost
As the thundering battle cry
of Ver Sacrum
Living echoes on:
Long live Christ the King!

 

(Photo credit: Joshua D. Reznicek)

The Hidden Powers of Merlin

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“All of my friends in our group are so smart, and I’m not.”

“You are an artist!”

“But no one can see that,” she pointed out matter-of-factly. “It doesn’t matter.”

“Yes, it does,” I said. “That is your Gift.”

My friend was on the couch and I was washing dishes when our conversation about grades, report cards, and scholarships evolved into that exchange. I plopped on the table to dangle my legs and continued, “It matters because—”

Because I’ve been wrestling with the same experiences myself the past few weeks. The frequent realization of being the friend who starts others out on their journeys and then steps back to freely let them fly, or who steps into someone’s life for a period of time when they need it most and then shifts again to the background as paths race on.

Or the idea of certain film roles—script supervising, storyboard artist, craft services, scoring, production assistant, assistant director—that every film professional knows are obviously not as glamorous or professionally appealing as directing or writing or acting or even as mentionable as producing. Roles that even though they are hidden are indispensable.

That hiddenness, I’ve realized, is the catch. Continue reading “The Hidden Powers of Merlin”

Brides of Christ

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“I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys. As a lily among brambles, so is my love among maidens.” ~ Song of Solomon 2:1-2

This past June I was blessed to be present at my sister’s clothing as a Carmelite novice, and even more blessed a week later to be able to have a family visit day and a few minutes alone with her. I can’t post a picture of her (part of the seal of the cloister is dying to the world and remaining hidden in Christ), but imagine a more or less five foot girl in the complete brown habit with the white novice veil. Continue reading “Brides of Christ”

Stitching the Standard

 

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Stitching the Standard by Edmund Blair Leighton

This is one of my top favorite paintings. The lady of the castle perches on the battlements finishing the standard that her knight husband’s squire will bear before him into battle. She is a woman skilled in the accomplishments of needlework, personal presentment, raising children, handing on the Faith, and keeping hearth for her people. But up here on the castle wall, she also commands view of the surrounding countryside. Should a messenger arrive at the fief she will be there to greet him. Should an enemy mass she will help her husband prepare the garrison and command the defenses. Should the town be struck by fire or pestilence she will rise up and assist them. Should a mob break out she will go down to address them. Should capture or another woe befall her husband’s troops she is versed enough in regional politics and customs to negotiate the best outcome for his safe return. And that is exactly what she must be prepared to do. She is the lady of her lord, the queen of their lands, the heart of their castle. As the keeper of her knight’s heart, she is also his most able partner. Because of her upbringing and her presence at his side, when he rides away to war, he will have no qualms about leaving her in charge of their kingdom. No matter how large or small their holdings, he knows she is prepared with the skill and insight of a wise ruler to lead after his own heart until he returns. And when he returns she will sit at his side with valuable contributions while he rules.

Regardless of what dark legends say about the Middle Ages, the truth about Medieval Europe is that the majority of women were raised with just such an ideal in mind. Peasant wives worked alongside their husbands on their fiefs. Craftswomen had their own guilds same as the craftsmen. Of course, the peasant women did not haul stones from the fields; they helped plant them. Of course, the craftswomen did not quarry stone and mold windows for cathedrals and palaces like the men; they made beautiful pottery and jewelry and woven tapestries and embroidered cloths for the cathedrals and palaces instead. Just as there were valets, pages, and squires to aid the stewards, there were also maids and ladies-in-waiting and cooks. Each had a crucial place in the medieval round of life. As for the ladies, princesses, and queens…

Continue reading “Stitching the Standard”