Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Non nobis, Domine, Domine,
non nobis, Domine
Sed nomini, sed nomini,
tuo da gloriam.

(The video happens to be pretty sweet -- Henry V rocks -- but it's really about the beautiful arrangement of Non Nobis)

Monday, July 21, 2008

From Serpants to Stallions

[I wrote this about two years ago when I was going through the roughest phase of my life thus far -- quite the spiritual, mental, and emotional battle for a while. This is one of the handful of things I wrote during that time that hold some truth, rather than pure emotional release.]

And you said i know that this will hurt,
But if i don't break your heart things will just get worse

This God thing gets more and more complicated all the time, sometimes everyday. Where once it seemed sufficient to feel joy in His presence and to be content with my life, now the notion begins to creep into my mind that the Lord of Abraham is not all about brownies and hugs. I "knew" that, we all "know" that, but it seems most of us have this concept that when hard times come, God's role is to shoo them away, to make them not so, to blink them out of existence because He is the God of all Goodness and Love. His job is to carry us through to the good times again.

A few months ago I would have said "Well... yeah, of course", but now I'm beginning to wonder if there isn't a flaw in the attitude, the thinking that that's based on. I don't doubt for a moment that God's ultimate plan for us is to be "happy" (although that's an incredibly insufficient word for the kind of freedom and joy we're promised), to be with Him in Heaven and just celestial choir our brains out. While on Earth, however, it seems everyone wants "happy" now. Which is fine, and most of us get it. The general attitude towards suffering seems to be "God will lead me through this, and after it I will be better for Him". The object is to get it over with and go on being "happy", and I'd say for 98% of our lives, that's more or less accurate.

Maybe, though, sometimes God is not in the process, He's not there getting you "over it". Perhaps once in a long while, He isn't the least bit interested in making us feel better. None of that "footprints in the sand" sentimentality; instead, God is in the suffering itself. It may be that in the time we think we most need rescue, when we feel our darkest hour yet is bearing down on us and we are most willing to be plucked from harm, that He instead stands by and says, "No. I'm not getting you out of this one. You're going to sit right there and it's going to hurt like hell, because this is what you need right now."

It's like spiritual chemo: the chemo itself yields the results, not the process of surviving it. It's excruciating and the side effects make you wonder if it's worth it at all, but somewhere in you, a cancer is slowly dying. And God never abandons us, even when we're so hurt that in prayer, we can only ponder our anger. He throws at us the raging storm or the blazing fire and makes no efforts to defend us from the pain -- but He's there. "You will fall apart," He promises, "but I will not let you fall away, and in this sorrow, you will be better."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Begging Your Pardon

...for the lack of substantial posting these last few weeks -- months, really. There's a lot going on, but a lot of it isn't anything the rest of the world would be interested in. I have and will continue to post when I can and when there's something I think you'd be interested in, Dear Readers.

I Miss My Sister

Monday, July 14, 2008

I Enjoy This Video

My reasons are several:

1) It's funny, objectively.
2) It's Notre Dame, of which I am now a student, so go Irish!
3) That kid, the leprechaun, is a year ahead of me in the ACE program and I played basketball against him yesterday. Well, let me rephrase that: I ran around the court like a headless chicken while he and his team ran circles around me and made baskets.

Why I love my sister

So, y'all know how I'm slightly obsessed with my sister?  This kind of thing is why.  She's starting 5th grade in the fall (ugh, too old...), and she wrote me an e-mail in better English than most high school sophomores would be able to (her spelling and punctuation need work, but her syntax and spelling are perfect), correctly using the phrases "rather addicting", "for instance", and "thus".  She's ten!  I love this kid!

"The button" she refers to is the chat option on Gmail, and the rest refers to my express banning of the use of this "Baby Net Yak" when she writes to me.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Melissa
Date: Mon, Jul 14, 2008 at 9:55 AM
Subject: it works!
To: Sissie

first things first, the button is by yer name. also, do not be surprised if i write the way you forbid me to. me and my friends use it and call it BABY NET YAK! BNY is rather addicting, thus i must watch myself. i know what you're thinking, why baby? because we write like babies. for instance.....
 maddie would say,
webcinz iznt uvalibl in vis hows!!!
 Translated: Webkinz isn't available in this house!!!
i would reply,
 u coodnt get 2 webkinz efer? GET A NOO COMPOOTER!
i wont translate!
see what i mean?
P.S. Do you know what movie 'okeday' is from? i read it in a book, and the the main character said it was from a movie.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

God in the Streets of New York

I first saw this short film a while ago on some other blog. It's deeply moving, and well worth four minutes of your time.

My first day here at Notre Dame, I went and sat by the tabernacle in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart for a while. There was a priest across the aisle from me. Suddenly, he dropped to his knees on the ground. A sister had come in with the Blessed Sacrament to repose in the tabernacle. I followed his lead, thinking "I'm in a totally different place than I've ever been before."

Appreciation and love for the Eucharist are increasingly paramount in my mind.

C.S. Lewis on Love

Stumbled upon this quote from the good Mr. Lewis, and it struck me partly because of a conversation I recently had with a friend. That, and I love everything C.S. Lewis ever scribbled on a napkin.

"Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained."
–C.S. Lewis

Monday, July 7, 2008

On Religious Articles

All of these pictures have one item in common.

Any guesses?

It should become increasingly obvious as we go along.

And no, the object is not me. I am not an object.

When I first came into the whole "Catholic" thing, I almost simultaneously developed an affection for Teresa of Avila. My mom gave me a medal of her soon after I jumped into this whole thing. For a few years, I wore it almost every single day, less often once I started teaching, still wearing it at least twice a week. I think I wore a layer off the surface, both front and back.

Last weekend, I went on a retreat in the woods of Michigan. Somewhere between being eaten alive and singing camp songs around the bonfire, Teresa took a dive and vanished into the underbrush.

A moment of silence, please.

To my St. Teresa of Avila medal, my constant companion: thanks for the memories and weird tan lines. You will be missed.

Roommate's birthday

Those balloons are attached to each hand and her hair. Its going to be a good year.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Bar Songs

Yeah, I said it.

I admit it, family. I go to bars.

I go to loud, crowded, gross, stifling bars, and I flail around like a fool.

Whew. Feels good to go public. Anyway.

In undergrad, I went rather infrequently because the crowd that frequented most of the bars in Delaware was not a crowd I wanted to be jammed into a tight space with. One of the beautiful things about the social side of ACE if that we all tend to go to the same places, so I can go, insert myself in a crowd of known, trusted, and not-creepy people, and dance like a fool, carefree.

These are just a few (I have a play list of more than twenty) of the songs that make the entire mob of people scream, sing along with full off-key voices, and dance like idiots. I will provide no explanation or justification. Make your own conclusions.