Hurrahing in Harvest

Since we are around this time with Summer nearing its end and the harvest happening here is another one of the great poems by Gerard Manly Hopkins.

Hurrahing in Harvest

Summer ends now; now, barbarous in beauty, the stooks rise
Around; up above, what wind-walks! what lovely behaviour
Of silk-sack clouds! has wilder, wilful-wavier
Meal-drift moulded ever and melted across skies?

I walk, I lift up, I lift up heart, eyes,
Down all that glory in the heavens to glean our Saviour;
And, éyes, heárt, what looks, what lips yet gave you a
Rapturous love’s greeting of realer, of rounder replies?poem

And the azurous hung hills are his world-wielding shoulder
Majestic—as a stallion stalwart, very-violet-sweet!—
These things, these things were here and but the beholder
Wanting; which two when they once meet,
The heart rears wings bold and bolder
And hurls for him, O half hurls earth for him off under his feet.

A Canticle for Leibowitz: a radio drama

I found a radio drama of one of the best science fiction books. If you haven’t read this book it might be that time to get around to reading it or perhaps even just listening to this radio drama. I read this book a couple year ago and it is an interesting book as it looks at the future and the present of the Church, as it is set in the future it does a bit with the world and how it relates with the world. If you want to read more, check out what I had to say about it.

Chappie (2015)

Chappie is the latest movie from Neill Blomkamp and it is about artificial intelligence. Once again Blomkamp takes us to South Africa where they are facing a huge crime problem and the best solution is robots. One design is a armored plated humanoid robot by Deon Wilson (Dev Patel) and the other design is a heavy duty tank of a robot called MOOSE designed by Vincent Moore (Hugh Jackman). South Africa picks the humanoid robot and it works out amazingly. Crime basically stops. At the same time Deon is working at home on an Artificial Intelligence that mimic the human brain, and after sneaking out a damaged robot one night gets kidnapped and the gang (Ninja, Yolandi, and Amerika) only want the robot to be reprogrammed so that it can fight for them. Deon puts his program on the robot and they name it Chappie. There a bunch of other stuff as well the gangsters need 20 million Rand or something to repay a debt, Chappie helps them out, but Deon isn’t happy with this as the movie get weirdly religious.

The film was interesting as I got to see a different side of Hugh Jackman as I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie where he was the villain so that was unique the other part the whole what makes a person and I am your creator, so don’t kill anyone got a bit preachy for me. Besides that it was a decent film and offers a unique look into a possible future as it seems like police robots are bound to happen in the near future as is the development of sentient AI. Would this be used for good or for evil?

Musicals and Religion

So this is an idea I’ve been toying with for some time now, for a couple of years that if you look hard enough you can find religious elements in some of the most exciting things, including theatre.  Theater is awesome, from the very beginnings the plays written are crazy, filled with double entendre, and huge phalloi.  I’ve got a large collection of musical theatre cast recording in my music library, I think that theatre and musicals are something that everyone should have some relationship with. I mean even Jack Kennedy liked musicals, Camelot to be precise. The really cool thing is that when we look at theatre today we still see crazy plays that are filled with double entendre, the only thing that we are missing is the huge phalloi used to celebrate Bacchus.

It all began while I was listening to Sweeney Todd several year ago during lent and I was struck by the song Not While I’m Around and how it fits with the season. As you can have Toby’s part being something said to us by Jesus.

Nothing’s gonna harm you, No, sir, Not while I’m around.
Demons are prowling Everywhere  Nowadays.
I’ll send ’em howling, I don’t care — I got ways.
No one’s gonna hurt you, No one’s gonna dare.
Others can desert you —Not to worry —Whistle, I’ll be there.
Demons’ll charm you With a smile For a while, But in time
Nothing can harm you, Not while I’m around.

Since with Jesus not much can harm us, the demons are sent away. Jesus just wants to protect everyone from any problems that fall upon them. From this revelation I started looking at other musicals where I could do this with and realized that anything will do. If you look hard enough at anything you can find some faith. That’s something special about theatre as well as everyone bring their own personal experiences into the show so the same play or musical can have a different meaning to different people.

Should I develop this idea any further and perhaps one day get a book deal for it, or just leave it as is. Since this all could just be me putting to much meaning into musicals where there is no meaning to be had, like the green light in Gatsby.

Pope John Paul II

John Paul II’s feast day is today, it is unlike other feast days as it is on the date in which he was inaugurated Pope as the date of his death most of the time falls during late Lent or early Easter. John Paul is another Pope who is closely connected with Mary so it is fitting that his feast day is in a month which has a devotion to Mary. Back when John Paul was canonized I did a biographical thing but really ended at his election to the Papacy. So here goes the second or third longest papacy in history some 27 years in total.

John Paul II was elected Pope on October 16 two days after the conclave to replace John Paul I opened. There were a total of eight rounds of ballots and in the final round they elected the first non-Italian pope since Pope Adrian and the youngest since Pope Pius IX.  John Paul is known best as the Pilgrim Pope as he traveled extensively. John Paul’s 104 foreign trips were more than all the previous 263 Popes combined. Wherever he traveled he attracted a large crowd, at World Youth Day in 1995 it is said that more than 5 million people attended the final mass. Many of the locations he visited were the first time a Pope had ever visited. John Paul was the first Pope to visit a Mosque and the Jewish Synagogue in Rome as well as pray at the Western Wall. He also met with many other religious leaders from across the spectrum of religions (Animists, Buddhists, Jewish, Islamic, as well as the Eastern Orthodox, and some of the denominations notably the  Lutherans and Anglicans.)

Most of the teaching of Vatican II have come to us through the lens of John Paul II as he decided to focus on certain elements. John Paul brought the Church from Vatican II to the 21st Century. One of the important teachings that comes from JPII is his whole Theology of the Body, which is a meditation on human sexuality. I’ve never tried to read them so I can’t really say one way or the other what they really say. It is said that he was also influential in overthrowing many dictatorships, notably the Communists in Poland. John Paul also did something great he apologized for many of the things that the Church did in the past. As Pope he also beatified and canonized a boatload of people.

On May 13, 1981 an assassin,  Mehmet Ali Ağca,  tried to kill John Paul II but through the watch of Our Lady of Fatima he made it out just fine. This wasn’t the only attempt on John Paul II’s life about a year later on May 12, 1982 it is said that a member of Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) tired to or wounded the Pope as he was opposed to the changes that took place with Vatican II and he believe the pope to be a Communist agent. There was also an assassination planned by Al-Qaeda as well as many planned by the KGB.

John Paul’s devotion to Mary is deep as seen in his motto as well as his coat of arms. On this feast of John Paul let us devote some time to Mary our mother. In this month of October it is great that we can pray the rosary is a great way to do this

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today is the day in which the 2014 Synod ends, I will have something on that later in the week it is also the day of the beatification of Pope Paul VI.

This week the readings get a bit political. We begin in Isaiah where we get a sort of strange reading as the Lord says to his anointed Cyrus, as in Cyrus the Great. The pagan ruler of the Persians who overthrew the Babylonians and would later on free the Jewish people was anointed by the Lord for the sake of Israel. Now this is a confusing thing for some people why would the Lord pick someone who is not a Jew to save the Jewish people. Taking this reading into consideration we need to be able to recognize that the Lord works through all people even without their knowledge.

As we reach the second reading we hear from the very beginning of the first letter of Paul to the Church in Thessalonica, this was one of the first letters that was written as well as being the earliest written New Testament book. As it is the beginning of the letter we learn that it is from Paul, Silvanus and Timothy and that they give thanks for the community and remember them in their prayers. In this introduction to the letter Paul reminds the people of Thessalonica how the Gospel came to them not only word but in power and the Holy Spirit. We should remember that the Holy Spirit is living in our midst often time we forget that the Spirit is with us throughout the year not just at Pentecost and at the sacraments.

Turning to the Gospel we have that great scene today from Matthew where the Pharisees try to trap Jesus in speech as they ask him “Is it lawful to pay tax to Caesar or not?” The Pharisees were hoping for that this would get Jesus arrested as they hoped he would say that paying taxes to Caesar is unlawful. Yet Jesus replies, “Whose face and inscription are on the coin?” Then going on he says pay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. Often time people grumble at how much the government takes in taxes, but as Jesus says pay to the government what is owed the government. The most important part of this comes at the end of it all “and repay to the Lord what belongs to the Lord.” This is something that many of us overlook in our lives. This raises a good question, how do we repay the Lord?
As we see in the readings today we are given a good leader and a bad leader but God can work through all types of politicians We must be able to live in both the secular world and pay and follow the rules set forth by the government officials but we must also live in the world of the church and follow the precepts and teaching of the church. As Tevye the milkman says, to live in both worlds we need to be like a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a tune without losing our balance. Both aspects of our lives (Politics and Religion) make us who we are and, as much as we try and avoid such conversations at dinner parties hiding a part of ourselves from people is not something that we should do.

News Round up

Religion- The Orthodox Churches will be holding a Council in 2016. The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill says that at the council they will address many of the problems facing the Orthodox Churches like the driving of Christians from the Middle East and Northern African regions, the issue of the cult of consumption, which is the primary cause of the economic crisis, the destruction of morals and family, and the issues of cloning and surrogate mothers. Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Hilarion has said that the preparation for this council has taken over 500 years. This will be the 8th recognized Ecumenical council for the Orthodox Church the first in over 1000 years. I wonder if there will be any talk about closer ties to the Catholic Church at the council as many of the issues are concerns for both, and if there will be any observers from other churches in attendance at the council. This looks like something to wait and see about.

Books- An interesting story out of England says that there is a divide between those who read and those who don’t. I think this can be extrapolated for the world in general as well. In the report it says that the richer someone is the more likely they are to read for pleasure. There is some indication that readers are also more likely to be happier and think that life is worthwhile. Everyone in general need to be reading book, sure many adult read the paper daily and perhaps some articles online but nothing beats reading a book.

I read this over on io9, it’s an awesome ending for Harry Potter, sure it is a logical ending however as noted in the comments Harry Potter is a book series meant for 12 year olds, as much as they are loved by many other age groups as well.

Broadway- Apparently Disney is working on not just a stage version of Frozen but also Tangled as well. While it is great that Disney is looking at the stage side and trying to get some good product to come from it. I would really like Disney to do a traditionally animated musical or adapt like Aida the Tim Rice/Elton John musical into a movie. This is great and all but I’m not a big fan of all the musicals based on movies that are just the movie plus a couple of songs to make it a musical.



Thanksgivukkah or Chanksgiving

In case you have been under a rock for the past couple of months today is Thanksgiving and it is also the second night of Hanukkah. These two events haven’t fallen on the same date since the late 1800s in 1888 and 1899 to be specific. This is a once in a lifetime event and it seems like everyone is making a big deal out of it. Back in 1888 the New York Herald wrote  that the two festivals Thanksgiving and Hanukkah merged well together, since Hanukkah is a thanksgiving festival for deliverance from tyranny.

Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights that last eight day in celebration of the time when the Second Temple was rededicated after the Maccabean revolt when one day supply of oil was found and it lasted for eight days. Each year it is celebrated on the 25th of Kislev and families gather to light the menorah.  It has the same feeling of a Thanksgiving or a Christmas as it is an event which bring families together.

There have been thanksgiving festivals that have happened for a long time and this year it has the celebration of Hanukkah added to it. Surely this year’s celebration will not be complete without a listen of both Adam Sandler’s Chanukah Song and Thanksgiving Song  as well as Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant. I hope that we all have something are thankful for and remember the less fortunate as we stuff our faces full of food today. To all my Jewish friends Happy Festival of Lights.

Religion in theatre

I’ve been working on a piece on the religious overtone in various musicals and how you can look at them through different faiths and find the same messages or something like that but it’s a bit of a long term thing. The inklings came in high school I was involved with the theater program and then again in college while learning about the History of Theatre and how deeply it is connected with religion.

From the very beginnings the plays written are crazy, filled with double entendre, and huge phalloi, but there is almost always a god popping in before the end to save the day. As time went on religion was one of the major catagories of plays. In the middle ages the church did all the plays teaching morals and lessons to the congregations who couldn’t read through Morality and Mystery plays. Both of which had overtly religious themes. Sure for a while religion may have shut down some but as a whole it kept theater alive and well. Turning to today there is some minor thread of the religion in all plays and musicals. The really cool thing is that when we look at theatre today we still see crazy plays that are filled with double entendre, the only thing that we are missing is the huge phalloi used to celebrate Bacchus.

(more to come)

Day of Prayer and Fasting for peace in the World

Today is the big day, just a handful of days since Pope Francis called for it. A world wide day of prayer and fasting not just for the Catholic in the world but Francis expressed a desire that all people of good will join in the day to pray for a non violent way to end the violence in Syria.

Pope Francis wrote to the world leaders at the G20 calling for them to  seek a peaceful solution through dialogue and negotiation with all parties involved and he reminded the leaders that they have “a moral duty to do everything possible to ensure humanitarian assistance reaches all those affected by the conflict, also beyond Syria’s borders.” This same general message has been echoed by individuals around the globe even the USCCB has sent a letter to President Obama asking for him to change his mind on any military action. Pope Francis has even gone on twitter echoing the words Pope Paul VI saying war never again.

Now this mess that is going on in Syria is still the civil war that began during the Arab Spring, and there are about seven other nations that are still in conflicts that began in the Arab Spring, It’s not like Obama wants to “intervene” in these other conflicts. Many people around the world are calling for a peaceful end to this conflict. President Obama will once again take to television on Tuesday evening and tell the American people what he wants to do, and try to persuade popular opinion on to his side.

Today is not a required day of fasting and prayer, but if you have got some time this weekend I hope that we can try to remember to prayer for peace in the World. It seems from what I’ve read that they will recite the rosary and have Benediction and Eucharist Adoration at the Vatican and Diocese across the world are joining in as well and it looks likely that the prayers for peace will be added into the general intersessions on Sunday.

If you can’t make time on Saturday to join in the prayers for peace there is always Sunday where we can take some time before Mass to prayer for peace in the middle east and throughout the world. If you do have time on Saturday I am sure EWTN will have coverage of the event and it wouldn’t hurt to take out a Rosary and pray with it.