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… of my tiny mind.
Where does dust come from? I try to stay on top of it, but all of a sudden, when I’m not looking, (dust-sized) mountains of it appear one day on a lamp base, or around the pencil mug on my desk, or behind the bedroom door. Does it happen at night? Dust particles send each other text messages and agree to flashmob previously arranged locations? No wonder the average household used to have ‘help’ (I’m reluctant to use the ‘s’ word). Imagine how dusty a Victorian home would have been with all the knick-knacks they had – not to mention all the fabric they used to cover the arms and legs of furniture. I shudder at the thought of those dustbunnies.
Speaking of servants, let’s linger for a moment in Downton Abbey. Here are some of the best Maggie Smith moments – as the Dowager Countess of Grantham.
This fabulous British import of entertainment candy fulfils all the requirements of satisfying television viewing: scrumptious costumes; romance above and below stairs; a period in history near enough to be familiar but distant enough to be an escape; breathtaking locations; honour, chivalry, and manners; gallant heroes and slimy bad guys; talented cast and crew; British accents.
We’re very near the end of series two, and I hear that they will soon begin filming series three. This worries me a little, as the Brits excel at telling and story and allowing it to end naturally, whereas in the case of Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes et al are succumbing to public pressure to keep it going. There has been a hint of melodrama creeping in, and a feeling of story lines being stretched beyond the credible. Still and all, I’m hooked and eagerly anticipate the next instalment every Sunday evening. I’m watching the clock even as I type this.
There is an interesting program (on NBC) called Who do you think you are. It delves into the family tree of various well-known folks. What makes it so interesting is not the celebrities, but the revelations that come about from the investigation into history. Many of the stories have shown that a person’s history – whether one is aware of it or not – makes itself present in concrete ways today. For example, a football player wears on his jersey a number that pops up in the family tree again and again. An actor with a passion for activism and social justice discovers that his family tree is well stocked with activists and fighters for justice. A family’s favourite restaurant sits in the location of an apartment that family lived in generations back. No man is an island.
Being now back to full time work – thank you, Lord – I’m struggling to find time and energy and inclination to write. I suspect I will have to figure out how to make the available time count, and work at wrestling the words to my will, rather than waiting on them as they are willing to make an appearance. When I had all the time in the world to court the muse, I would spend hours gazing out the window as I sat at my desk. I don’t have endless hours now, and being limited in time means every minute I spend at the keyboard must count for more than they ever did before. I admire women authors who raise children, work outside the home, and still manage to produce reams of published material. I realized recently that I’ve being dallying with being a writer, because I am a perverse person. I had time and opportunity to make a serious effort to improve my craft and seek publication. Every attempt has been half-hearted, probably out of fear – either at being found out as lacking talent, or the reverse, being discovered to have talent and then being expected to produce something real. Go figure.
Have you ever noticed how it’s the thing you can’t have that you want, the only thing you can think of to do that you can’t do, and the thing you may not say that sits right on the tip of your tongue, ready to throw itself on the floor in the middle of the room for all to know about? I have a secret… someone else’s secret… and I may not say it aloud for months still. I don’t know how I’ll keep it tame and in harness. Argh!
Poor Whitney Houston. I was never a big fan – I listened to Def Leppard and Depeche Mode during her heyday, and I had little respect for girls in my class who liked her (I was such a music snob). I made a compilation CD for my sister years ago featuring songs that were ‘really important’ to us – music from vintage U2, Talking Heads, Joy Division/OMD and so on. I wrote liner notes for each track detailing how it was significant, or key moments from the videos – details that mattered at the time. I ended with “and for everyone else there was Whitney Houston”. She sure had talent though, and it makes me sad that she lost her way. Drugs are such a blight on our society, at every level of the economic ladder.
This was the “My heart will go on” of my day.
On Saturday night I joined with over 600 people to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Canada’s first Catholic Women’s League council, which was formed here in Edmonton. The CWL is definitely an organization worthy of celebration.
I’ve been observing the service of the CWL to both Church and country for a long time now as both priest and Bishop. It is a community of women who are steadfastly faithful to their Catholic identity. I am convinced that we can offer no greater service to our country and world than to be what we are, to be Catholic, authentically Catholic. In many ways we can look to the CWL as an example.
To be Catholic is to be convinced, in every fibre of our being, that there is nothing more beautiful than to know Jesus Christ. Therefore the Catholic will centre her or his life on prayer, the study of the Word, and the celebration of the sacraments, in order to grow in the knowledge of Christ and his love. Time and again I have seen the CWL look for ways to help their members fulfill their desire to grow in the faith, both within the League and in the all-important context of the family.
To be Catholic is to be a person of communion. We are, after all, the Body of Christ. This requires communion with the Holy Father and the College of Bishops. It demands a common fidelity to the teaching of the Church. I have seen in the CWL a remarkably consistent commitment to the Church’s doctrine and a ready willingness to bring it to bear on fundamental social issues of the day.
To be Catholic is to reach out in love and compassion to the needy. In fact, that’s how the first council in Edmonton and Canada came to be, born of concern for immigrants. A commitment to charity and justice cannot be absent from a Catholic life authentically lived. Neither, therefore, can it be lacking in the life of any Catholic institution. Far from absent, this commitment is in the forefront of the CWL, locally, nationally and internationally.
Happy centennial to the CWL of Edmonton! They will have many occasions throughout the remainder of this year to celebrate this milestone, including the hosting of the 2012 national convention, and celebrate they should. Indeed, we should all celebrate them because of the remarkable witness and service they provide in both the Church and community.
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SUPER, a peculiar 2011 film directed by James Gunn, brings together two emerging actors I very much enjoy.
It’s a great line, and perhaps it’s true, but SUPER is not a bad film. It’s “pretty dark, it’s pretty messed up, [and] it’s got a twisted sense of humour,” to quote Rainn Wilson, but it is not a bad film. The violence is strong and bloody, the language is pervasive, and in at least one scene, sexual in nature, there is a certain moral ambiguity. If features such as these are beyond the toleration of a particular viewer, then Super will be also. This film is not for everyone, but it’s not a bad film.
This is not your typical superhero movie. Upon losing Sarah, something really does seem to snap in Frank’s brain. A religious experience motivates his decision to become a superhero. I mentioned that SUPER brings together two actors I very much enjoy, and noted the first of these is Rainn Wilson. The other is Ellen Page. Frank’s decision to make up his own superhero brings him into contact with Libby (Page’s character), a clerk at a local comic book who is in need of even more psychiatric attention than Frank. Frank settles on a red spandex suit and a large wrench to sport as a weapon, and thereafter brings his brand of vigilante justice to his surroundings.
If you have seen SUPER then pass along your thoughts. This little post serves more to bring attention to the film, to those of you who haven’t seen SUPER, than to engage critically with its themes.
No homily from me this Sunday! Father Sarmed Biloues, who ministers to Iraqi Catholics, will be preaching. He will help our parishioners prepare to receive the Iraqi refugee family that we are sponsoring to Canada. They are presently in some peril even in their refugee camp, since they are in Syria, so we pray they will arrive here soon.
We also have a visiting permanent deacon and his wife, Deacon Roy and Liz Harrington. The Harringtons came up from Seattle to talk with our aspirants and their spouses yesterday, and made a great impression. Deacon Harrington is the director for permanent deacons in the Archdiocese of Seattle. I hope they’ll return when there’s an opportunity for him to preach.
Instead of my homily this week, I encourage faithful readers to look at two of my favourite blogs. Archbishop Terrence Prendergast has a homily this week about the reasons Jesus sometimes asked for secrecy after he performed a miracle. If you visit his blog, The Journey of a Bishop, you can also see his photos of the skaters on the Rideau Canal.
My other favorite blogger is our youth minster, Jeremy Keong. He blogs much less faithfully than Archbishop Terry, but when he does post something it’s an event! His current post is a very interesting opinion about people raising their hands when they pray. So check out The Road to Emmaus and let him challenge or inspire you, or both!
To complete this busy Sunday, we have students from our parish school participating as readers and gift-bearers at all Masses; high school students from St. Thomas Aquinas did the same last week, marking our annual Catholic Schools Week. We’re proud of our two schools!
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