Mothers & Sons

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My favourite depiction of mother & son relationship is Christ & His Mother in “The Passion of the Christ”

“I knew you’d come! O Marmar! I did want you so! For a moment they kissed and clung to one another, quite forgetting all the world; for no matter how lost and soiled and worn-out wandering sons may be, mothers can forgive and forget every thing as they fold them in their fostering arms. Happy the son whose faith in his mother remains unchanged, and who, through all his wanderings, has kept some filial token to repay her brave and tender love.”

~ Chapter 12, Little Men, by Louisa May Alcott

In this chapter, five year old Rob gets lost in the woods with Nan during a berry picking expedition, due to Nan’s mischievous prank. At first he does panic slightly, at the realization of being lost, and as night slowly closes in on them. But he calms right down when he remembers that his mother will come looking for him, for his confidence in her is unshakable – he knows she will find him. His confidence in his mother and calm demeanor, waiting patiently for her to find them, gives hope to Nan (who was responsible for little Rob’s care) that they will indeed be found before too long.

Little Rob’s confidence in his mother is exactly the confidence every son should have in his mother. There was no question in his mind whether or not Jo would find him, but rather a question of how long it would take, considering they had strayed from the path. But even the question of time didn’t bother Rob, because he knew his mother wouldn’t rest until she had found him, until she had him in her arms. What a virtue to possess – the complete confidence of your son in your love for him.

Jo stops her search partner, young Dan, from yelling to the others once they were on Rob’s trail: “No, let me find them; I let Rob go, and I want to give him back to his father all myself.” When Jo comes upon her little son, sound asleep in the darkness, with his head in the sleeping Nan’s lap, she “softly lifted away the apron, and saw the little ruddy face below. The berry-stained lips were half-opened as the breath came and went, the yellow hair lay damp on the hot forehead, and both the chubby hands held fast the little pail still full. 

The sight of the childish harvest, treasured through all the troubles of that night for her, seemed to touch Mrs. Jo to the heart, for suddenly she gathered up her boy, and began to cry over him, so tenderly, yet so heartily, that he woke up, and at first seemed bewildered. Then he remembered, and hugged her close, saying with a laugh of triumph, – I knew you’d come! O Marmar!…” 

 

 

 

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A lesson from Bilbo

treeofgondor“But this is terrible!” cried Frodo. “Far worse than the worst that I imagined from your hints and warnings. O Gandalf, best of friends, what am I to do? For now I am really afraid. What am I to do? What a pity that Bilbo did not stab that vile creature, when he had a chance!”

“Pity? It was Pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need. And he has been well rewarded, Frodo. Be sure that he took so little hurt from the evil, and escaped in the end, because he began his ownership of the Ring so. With Pity.”

                                                                                                        – ch 2, The Followship of the Ring

Never had I pondered Bilbo’s relatively healthy mental state before upon the beginning of The Fellowship. Considering he had been in possession of The Ring for decades, there was little evil effect upon his soul by the time he does give up the ring to Frodo. The Ring had wielded such power over Isildur in times gone by, Sméagol in more recent times, and others, who had not even come into contact with The Ring. So why hadn’t it proved to be such a powerful evil once again, manipulating and affecting the mind of a content little hobbit after it had finally slipped away from the grubby Gollum and back into the world for its chance to reach Sauron once again?

As the wise Gandalf tells us – it’s because of pity. Pity can be translated into empathy, empathy to mercy, mercy to love. The pity Bilbo had in his heart for the pathetic existence of the creature Gollum is a character defining trait. Gollum was a trickster, an evil spirited being with no more moral compass then a snake. He was prepared, and even fastening a plan during their exchange, to kill Bilbo right then and there. And yet, when Bilbo had the upper hand, he showed this vile creature mercy. The first life and character altering decision Bilbo made when in possession of the ring was one of pity, of mercy, of love for a fellow creature. It is exactly as Gandalf says: Bilbo begins his ownership of The Ring with pity, with mercy, with love. Because of this very first decision he makes with such power within his grasp, evil is held at bay, it doesn’t consume him the way it did Sméagol – who, we know, made the opposite decision, and killed his cousin Deagol for the ring, which ultimately leads to the killing of any humanity within him. Instead of becoming an unrecognizable creature, Bilbo remains the same, save for his prolonged age, and definite desire to keep the ring in his possession.

The last decision Bilbo made with the ring – to leave it to Frodo – is connected to his very first decision. How, after so many years, was he able to (reluctantly, sure) able to leave it, to walk away from it? His very first decision regarding the ring was made out of love. Undoubtedly the decisions we make in life affect our later decisions. Selfish decisions encourage more selfish decisions, selfless decisions encourage further selfless decisions, giving into temptation once makes it harder to avoid the next time, just as standing strong against temptation makes it easier to stay strong the next time. His very first decision made out of love, against such an evil (an evil so strong it fills a pleasant hobbit mind with murder within minutes of touching it), would have given such strength to Bilbo’s soul. Despite decades of possessing the ring, he was still able to draw from that strength, courage, love, to leave the ring when he knew it was time.

Like Bilbo, we can also propagate strength through the good decisions we make, or propagate evil through the bad decisions we make. With every strong & good decision made against our human weaknesses, we gain graces, making it easier to choose good the next time. Likewise, every time we fail to make the good decision, we are pulled further down, making it that much more difficult to make the good decision next time. A seed can easily be dug up, drowned out, eventually lost and forgotten among a sea of weeds. Or, with tender and consistent fostering, it can grow into an oak tree, producing more fruits itself.

Movie Review: Lady Bird

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There’s lots of hype around this small movie. It’s nominated for (several?) academy awards, which should have been an indication of it’s awfulness. But instead my interest was peaked, so I went to see it with Red.

Bad decision.

This movie is full of all things Hollywood praises and glorifies. Full of things anti-Catholic, anti-life, anti-true love.

Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson is a high-school senior at a Catholic girls school in Sacramento California, which she has been attending ever since a knifing incident at the local public school. “Lady Bird” is a self-given name. She has the idea that people should choose their own names, because it should reflect who you want to be, who you identify as. Instead of a name given by someone else who can’t identify you better then yourself. Her older brother is a goth – we’re talking 2002 here – whose girlfriend has moved into the family home. Her dad is a hard working, loving father, gentle and non-confrontational, who gets laid off during the movie. Her mom is a nurse, working hard to help support the family, but butts heads with her headstrong daughter on a constant basis. The movie goes through Lady Bird’s senior year, and into the first bit of her college experience.

Christine goes to a Catholic school. The perfect setting for leftists to insult, belittle, and stamp their feet against the Catholic Faith. In one scene, Ladybird and her best friend Julie are lying on the floor with their feet up against the wall, munching on a box of “communion bread” they took from the sacristy. When a fellow student happens upon them and scorns them for such behaviour, Julie replies, “they’re not consecrated”. This implies that the girls do in fact believe the consecrated hosts would be untouchable in the sacred sense, and yet they have no respect for what the current unconsecrated hosts are used for, what they will become. Not to mention it’s a vile sitting position for any young lady wearing a skirt to be in.

In another scene, Ladybird is annoyed with an old nun teacher, and after class, covers the back of the nuns car with a “just married to Jesus” sign and other paraphernalia. It was done with the intent of insult. (Though we later hear the nun admit she found it comical, even correcting Lady Bird by saying that it was technically incorrect, since she’s been married to Jesus for 60 years. This scene was a nice moment between the two characters. After the nuns kindness in another area, Christine owns her previous act, and apologizes for it. The nun’s reaction of chuckles and love was a good testament to the holiness and love of nuns in general.)

The priest who runs the theatre production at school leaves half way through the year. The kids are disappointed by this. We learn in a scene when the priest is at the hospital, talking with a nurse who happens to be Lady Bird’s mom, that he suffers from severe depression. The next scene is three of the high-school kids gossiping about him, when one girl tells Lady Bird and her boyfriend Danny that the priest was married long ago but they lost their son and he later became a priest. Something of that sort. The next priest who takes over the theatre production is a football coach, and, though his team coaching approach to stage was comical, he was put in the light of incapability. Both priestly characters in the film were depicted as weak and somewhat inferior, men to be laughed at, not men to be admired and respected. Very typical Hollywood approach to priest characters. And very nauseatingly stupid. The many priests I know are all admirable, strong men, despite their weaknesses.

In another scene, an auditorium of teenage students are listening to a woman speak about abortion. Lady Bird is rolling her eyes throughout. The speaker tells the story of a woman who chose not to abort, and after a few guesses from students, reveals that that mother was her own, and that she was the baby who was almost aborted. Gasps all around, but Lady Bird makes a comment under her breath, and when asked to speak up, says “just because something looks to be bad, doesn’t mean it is.” (Note: there is no denial in this statement that the baby is a human.) The speaker asks her to explain, and Lady Bird nastily replies that if her mother had aborted her, they wouldn’t all have to sit there and listen to her blab about how wrong abortion is. The woman is rendered speechless, clearly hurt. This scene was disgusting to me. It shows the truly despicable view of the value of human life which leftists, feminists, SJW’s, Hollywood, and all other groups who have denounced God and advocate for Satan himself have.

The mention of Lady Bird’s boyfriend Danny brings me to another point. Hollywood WOULD make the good, kind boy from a large Irish Catholic family a closet homosexual who “comes out” during the movie. He and Ladybird meet when they both audition for musical theatre. She is spellbound by his voice and charisma, he falls for her unique quirks. She makes a typical liberal’s remark on his rowdy younger brothers in the grocery store. Somehow he overlooks that, laughing it off, and falls for her anyways. For starters, good catholic boys do not fall for women who insult their beloved family. If he does fall for you after you insult his beloved large catholic family, he is not worth your time, because he lacks the strength and conviction to stand up for who and what he loves. Their relationship seems good, they are becoming closer friends, falling more for each other with every deeper conversation. They exchange “I love you” ‘s. Then Lady Bird walks into the boys bathroom after their first theatre show to skip the long line at the ladies room and opens the door of a stall to find Danny and another boy making out. She freezes and scurries out of the washroom. She avoids him after this, giving him the cold shoulder. He gently and timidly tries to get her attention by eye contact, which she avoids. Finally Danny walks into the café she works at one day. She walks out to the garbage, he meets her out there. He attempts a timid “Can we talk?” “You’re gay!” she shouts at him. Danny breaks down into tears, saying he knows, and he’s so sorry, and he is scared of what will happen, how he will tell his family, how they will respond, and that he needs a friend. Your heart breaks for this poor boy who is lost and confused and terrified of what he is going through. It’s exactly the reaction Hollywood is manipulating your emotions into throughout the whole relationship. We have every reason to like Danny. He even tells Lady Bird earlier on that he respects her too much to treat her in a “meat” type of fashion when she tells him it’s OK to touch her inappropriately. Yet another reason to like this Nice Catholic Boy.  And then out of nowhere, he is suddenly gay. (But then of course you are re-thinking his reaction to touching her, since perhaps he didn’t want to because he is gay and has no interest in touching females.) And yet you see that they truly do care for each other. Christine hugs him, holding him close with tender affection and support, and tells him it’ll be OK. So we have a great example of love here. For they DO love each other in a good friendship way, that much is clear. But somehow a disordered lust gets in the way, and we are supposed to feel sympathy, weeping for this poor boy whose family won’t understand his homosexual choices.

In the latter half of the year, Ladybird befriends a rather aloof, quiet, darker minded youth, Kyle, when she inserts herself into the “popular kids” group. Their rebellious, odd personalities click from the start. She states one day during a heated make-out session that she hasn’t had sex and isn’t ready yet. Kyle responds in kind, leading us to believe that he has never slept around before. Later she asks her mom when it’s normal to start having sex, to which her mom replies “in college, but remember we talked about being safe, so use precautions.” Lady Bird and Kyle are in his bedroom one day when she says she’s ready. There’s a very explicit scene which I hastily closed my eyes and plugged my ears to, the type of scene any Catholic striving for holiness would avoid. Afterwards, Lady Bird is gushing that they “de-flowered” each other. Kyle bluntly responds that he’s had sex before her, with… he counts… six others, he thinks. She goes into a very emotional headspace. After that she and Kyle don’t spend much time together. Shocking.

The relationship between Lady Bird and her mom, Marion, is an on-going issue. Her name is a sore point – Christine wants to be called Lady Bird, “as if her given name isn’t good enough”. They bicker about anything and everything, and the bickering turns to screaming matches. Inter-mingled with these are a few mother-daughter bonding scenes. Lady Bird wants to be loved and accepted for who she is/who she wants to be, by her mom. But Marion doesn’t want to settle for the person Lady Bird thinks she wants to be. She wants and expects better for her daughter. The mother struggles to connect with the daughter. We learn from Marion, in an explosive moment, that her  father was a physically abusive drunk. Suddenly the struggles make sense, because Marion is forever battling the baggage from her childhood, and Christine is very similar in personality to her, so naturally, they butt heads.

There is a short scene between Lady Bird and her brother’s girlfriend (both characters Christine doesn’t get along with) when they are smoking outside, and Lady Bird makes a comment about her mom. The goth girlfriend, who doesn’t say much throughout the entire move, says that Christine’s mom is great, if only Lady Bird could see how much her mom loves her. She is tough, but it’s only out of love. Coming from a girl who was kicked out of her mother’s home due to premarital sex, and has a lot of family baggage herself, I thought this was a rather good scene, because despite her issues, she is able to see and appreciate love when she sees it.

When Christine packs up and leaves for college across the country, Marion is angry that Christine has gone expressly against her wishes that she remain close to home and go to a less expensive college. Lady Bird is angry that her mom doesn’t support her decision, and seems to want less for her daughter than what Lady Bird wants for herself, leaving Lady Bird feeling selfish and upset. Marion makes several attempts to write her feelings for her daughter out in a letter to Lady Bird, but only winds up with a pile of crumpled, half written letters. When driving to the airport, she stubbornly refuses to get out of the car to see Christine off. As she drives around the block, we see the emotional path she’s going through, and she eventually pulls back, parks, and runs into the airport to say good-bye and tell her she loves her. But she is too late. She merely runs into the arms of her loving husband, who tells her that Christine knows, through the anger and the hurt, how her mom feels.

At college in the big city, Lady Bird feels a bit lost. She doesn’t have those she loves around, she doesn’t feel she fits, and she begins to identify herself as “Christine” once again, realizing that the name really does fit her identity as a person, growing up with the parents she has, her childhood, etc, instead of the chosen name Lady Bird. At the airport, her dad had given her the pile of crumpled half-written letters from her mom, so that Christine would perhaps realize how very much her mom really does love her. And she does realize this. The ending scene, Christine leaves a heartfelt message on her parents answering machine, saying it’s Christine calling, that she misses them, she loves them, the point coming across that she loves where she came from, and who they are, and who she is, and wants to keep growing into that person.

 

The general concept of this movie isn’t a bad one. Lady Bird is rebellious, headstrong, her own individual, and thinks “the grass is greener on the other side”. She is ashamed of where she comes from, her family’s financial struggles. She longs for the big city life, the bigger house, the nicer car, etc. She goes through growing pains, learns from her mistakes, and finally realizes that what she was given is good, and she loves and longs for it again. By the end of the movie, we are satisfied that Christine is finally through her rebellious teenage years, and finally appreciates what she’s been given in life.

But everything in between was the crap that leftists throw at us left, right and centre. The constant stream of anti-Christian proclamations coming from all around us, glorified in a movie, that has now gained so much traction within Hollywood, and therefore being watched by more and more people, brainwashing them to believe and advocate for these same anti-Christian views.

So no, don’t watch this film. It’s a waste of time. Your time would be more fruitfully spent praying for the makers of this film, and the rest of Hollywood that tries to desperately to corrupt young minds at any chance they get.

 

 

Burdens, Roads, and Longings

“Our burdens are here, our road is before us, and the longing for goodness and happiness is the guide that leads us through many troubles and mistakes to the peace which is a true Celestial City.” – Marmee, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, chapter 1.

Such plain and simple terms Marmee puts life into. The March sisters’ burdens have been given to them. They know exactly what they need to do with the circumstances they find themselves in, as far as daily tasks and duties are concerned. Perhaps not all the minute details are obvious, but the general work needing to be done is plain as day. The road stretched out before them, one of monotonous war and sacrifice, is clear and straightforward.

We all know the daily duties we also must face. The monotonous tasks, the everyday grind before us. Even if the future is uncertain, we still have the duties right in front of us that need doing. So we just need to do them. Without complaining, without dragging our feet. Walk firmly and steadily over all the rocks and ruts, and we’ll get to our destination in good time.

“…The longing for goodness and happiness is the guide that leads us through many troubles and mistakes…” We all long for goodness in our lives. We all long for happiness. We all long for dreams to come true. When we scamper across quick sand, wade through a murky pond, or get lost in a forest of tall trees, this longing in our souls for goodness and happiness is what pulls us out of the quicksand, gets us to the other side of the pond, directs us through that close, dark forest. It draws us back to a path of hope, life and love. Goodness and happiness are inherent desires in our human nature. So it is natural and right that we should strive for both. This desire, this longing for goodness and happiness is exactly what we need to stay on the path to heaven.

St. Bernadette – quick & humorous

Lourdes, Santa Bernadette
I am currently reading a very detailed biography of one of my patrons, Bernadette Soubirous. There are several things that have popped out at me as being oddly familiar and similar (disclaimer: not comparing her sainthood with my attempts at it), but her response to persons of authority behaving unreasonably has to be the most comical I’ve come across yet. While I do my best not to be disrespectful, the humour in me can’t help but have a quick and somewhat sassy tongue. It is sometimes a vice, but sometimes just an imperfection. I find many things in life humorous, and it sometimes jumps out of my mouth before I can check it. The more I read of saints, the more I learn how human they really were, and the more I realize I, too, can become a saint, despite my sassy quips. I had a good laugh at the following scene, condensed for the

reader’s benefit:

Between the 11th and 12th apparitions at Lourdes, Constable Latapie was sent by Monsieur Rives, the Examining Magistrate, to bring Bernadette in for questioning and intimidation. Constable Latapie waited after High Mass, and asked the Sister accompanying the class of school girls who Bernadette was. When Bernadette came out of the church, he took her gently by the arm.

 
“Why are you taking her away?” asked the Sister, quickly becoming upset.

 
“I have orders.” the Constable replied.

 
“What do you want me for?” Bernadette asked.

 
“Little girl, you must come with us.” Constable Latapie replied.

 
Bernadette started to laugh and replied, “Hold me tight or I shall escape.”

 
Constable Latapie took Bernadette to Monsieur Rives’ (the Magistrate’s) house, and when they entered, M. Rives called out “are you there, you little rascal?” To which Bernadette replied, “Yes, sir, I am here.”

 
Monsieur Rives tried to intimidate Bernadette into answering questions “truthfully” and keep her from continuing to go to the grotto. “We are going to lock you up. What are you after at the grotto? Why do you make everybody run after you like this? There is somebody behind you driving you on to act like this. We are going to put you in prison.”
Bernadette replied: “I’m ready. Put me in there and make it solid and well fastened, or else I shall escape.”

 
❤ ❤ ❤

 
I absolutely love how little she was concerned by what they said or how they treated her. She knew she was doing right, and that’s all that mattered. No form of imprisonment or unjust accusations affected her in the least. She remained so calm in this entire scene (which is longer then what I’ve given you). And, despite her peace, she keeps her quick tongue flying in a way that throws her antagonists off, with humour.

 

2018 Book 1: Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson

 

51a00fea23e922cf227b03116753aaa7--pirate-art-black-sails I’m rather certain I’d never read a novel about pirates until now. Not having seen the old ‘Treasure Island’ movie since I was very young, I didn’t actually remember any of the story. I only knew there was a scary pirate villain with a peg leg whom I was terrified of as a kid. But that’s rather obvious for, possibly, the most well-known pirate tale of all time.

Young Jim Hawkins is thrust into an adventure of a lifetime when old pirate Captain Flint dies in the Hawkins family inn/tavern. Brought on board the Hispaniola as cabin boy, he and three other respectable men, Dr. Livesey, Squire Trelawney, and Captain Smollett, set out with a new crew, including ship’s cook Long John Silver, to find buried treasure, following the map of the infamous and deceased Captain Flint. Some time into their journey, Jim happens to overhear a conversation between Long John Silver and another hand, understanding their plot of mutiny and murder once they reach the treasure. Bringing this to his friends attention, all four, together with a very few other faithful crew members, begin a long and treacherous adventure, fighting for their lives. We also meet Ben Gunn, a marooned crew member from Captain Flint’s crew, who joins Jim and his friends in their quest for treasure, safety, and out-smarting the mutineers.

The rest I’ll leave to you to find out, if you are like me and hadn’t read this young reader’s classic. Reading pirate lingo conversation was a new experience for me, but it was fun, and a few times I put the book down smiling with anticipation over what the next chapter would bring.

Thrift Store Thrills

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I mean look at them.. Could you have resisted these!?

Red and I were out to dinner in an unfamiliar area a ways from our ridge, and popped into a thrift store I spotted a few doors before the restaurant. “Thrift” is such an alluring signage word, one never knows what treasures lie amid the piles of discarded items. I can’t help myself. And I don’t try to. It’s an innocent and lovely thrill. I must enter, and browse the shelves of old items that each have an history and story to tell of their own.

This was a very small shop, and (fortunately, for my wallet) scanty on the gold findings. There was a very small book section on a very small shelf, and took a very small amount of time to scan through. But in very small crisp black font on a very small orange spine, I read the word “Tennyson”. Before I knew what was happening, my arm had reached out, and pulled the small book off the small shelf – my heart slightly fluttering as my fingers flipped through it’s small pages and my eyes lay hold of the dainty illustrations surrounding the very small pages of poetry. I turned to the back cover and saw a small price tag marked $1.00. So I didn’t put it back on the shelf.

Continueing my scanning, another title popped out: “The Secret Garden.” I pulled it down, flipped through the pages with one quick sweep. The forest green spine was mint, not a single crease – an indication of its unread life. Having been sitting on a bookshelf, untouched, since the 90s (yes, I recognized the publishing era of my childhood on a classic novel), it was only right that it be given the opportunity of a proper life. I already have a copy of The Secret Garden. Fairy also already has a copy.

Reader, I bought it anyways. For the cost of $1.00.

This copy will sit on one of my bookshelves, awaiting its new home comfortably between two other beloved novels, until the person comes along whom this book has been waiting for, to enjoy its tale of friendship, adventure, learning and love, and rest easy on said persons bookshelf, knowing it is finally fulfilling its purpose, and waiting eagerly to be read again and again and again by hearts it deserves to be loved by.

Ahh the thrills that only a thrift or antique store can provide…