Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Music Review: "Mater Eucharistiae" by Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist

After the beautiful "Angels and Saints at Ephesus", I couldn't wait to review "Mater Eucharistiae"... and it certainly lives up to the quality and beauty of the Sisters' earlier CD's.

  The hymns truly epitomize the CD title...they focus on Mary and/or the Eucharist.  They bring the listener closer to the Lord.  

Most of it is in Latin, and there are a couple of English hymns.  

Their singing is as beautiful as ever, but this CD stands out for me...it is the most prayer-like of their CD's, yet it delivers the crystal-like quality we've come to expect from the Sisters.  

Many of the hymns were either new or unfamiliar,  but there were a couple of classics like "Te Deum", "Adoro Te" and "Salve Regina".

A beautiful CD!


Movie Review: Paranoia - PG13

Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman are two billionaires at war  in the tech industry.

 Iam Hemsworth is Adam Cassidy, who gets caught in the middle of their feud. At first, Adam thinks he has come upon a great opportunity, but he soon finds that he is simply a pawn in their feud.  

There are  a few well-known names such as Ford, Oldman and Richard Dreyfus.  

The story is well written, with a few twists to keep you guessing.  

Adam has to make several choices along the way about loyalty and priorities.  

A real thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat  

Content warning: 1 brief bed scene (no nudity)  

Friday, August 16, 2013

Book Review: Strange Gods

The First Commandment is probably the one of the ten that we worry about the least. “I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before me.” After all, most of us haven’t spent time worshipping any of the Roman or Egyptian gods recently or paid homage to any pagan spirits. In Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life, Elizabeth Scalia, also known by her internet moniker “The Anchoress,” invites us to take a closer look at this long-neglected commandment and discover the ways we practicing Christians violate it on a daily basis. 

Scalia asks, “Do we stop to think of what it means to have something ‘before God?’ It means to put something ‘first,’ yes, but more fundamentally, it means to put something ‘in front’ of God . . . What is before God, then, is also before us; it stands between God and us; it separates us from him.”

We humans are rather self-interested creatures. We want to be noticed, to be “loved and valued.” We often want the world to revolve around us. In establishing the Ten Commandments, God understood our weakness. He provides the commandments to keep us in right relationship with both Him and others. He “gives commandments meant to save us from ourselves.”

Scalia makes the case that the First Commandment, “if obeyed, renders all of the others quite nearly moot . . . Look at me [God}, and let me love you, and you will have no need of the rest.” Scalia then explores the various idols in our everyday life. These include ourselves, ideas, prosperity, technology, coolness and sex, plans, and the causes we feel passionate about. We can even give in to idolatry when we become too focused on the one “correct” way to do liturgy or pray. In short, “nothing human is exempt from becoming an idol we will place before God.” We must always be vigilant. 

A mere human like the rest of us, Scalia is the first to acknowledge that she suffers from idolatry as much as anyone. With a profound sense of irony, she shares how even the writing of this particular book became an idol. 

After reading Strange Gods, one will never be able to look at the First Commandment in the same way. Scalia has written a thought-provoking tome that should be read by every Christian seeking to follow God’s laws.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Movie Review: The Wolverine - PG13

The Wolverine heads to Japan to say his goodbyes to an old friend who is very ill.  

Not only does the Wolverine have to battle several enemies while in Japan, but he is put at a disadvantage while doing so.

 One theme that is woven throughout the story is the issue of mortality and immortality.  

Hugh Jackman is very good in the role of the Wolverine.

  There is lots of action, and the story is well-written.  I enjoyed the dialogue,  and the way the  characters interact.

  There are a couple of excellent twists at the end that keep the story intriguing.

  Content warnings are violence, some gore and a 'morning after' type scene  (no nudity or sex scenes).

See it...you'll enjoy it.