Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Book Review: Imitating Mary

by Marge Fenelon
Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 2013

What can mothers today learn from a poor Jewish woman who lived two thousand years ago? If the woman in question is Our Blessed Mother, the answer is everything. Marge Fenelon explores ten of these lessons in the new book, Imitating Mary: Ten Marian Virtues for the Modern Mom. Fenelon writes Mary is “the answer for all moms . . . with God’s grace and Mary’s example, we can overcome any obstacles to becoming the loving, wonderful mothers we’re meant to be.” 

Fenelon focuses on ten scriptural events from Mary’s life and explores the virtues Mary exhibited in each of those instances.  We can all learn from Mary’s patience as she waited for Joseph to make a decision about their marriage, her trust as God’s handmaiden, her obedience in God in all things, her endurance as she gave birth in a stable, her courage, her hope, her faith, and her joy. 

Fenelon writes in a friendly, conversational style. She has an intimate relationship with Mary and this is evident in her words. As a mother with grown children, she understands all the stages of mothering. She shares experiences from her own life and her hard-earned wisdom with all of us in the trenches. She knows the challenges of modern mothering and how we often struggle with self-doubt. She wants to encourage mothers in their vocation:

“You’re a better mother than you think you are. Mothers have an innate tendency toward self-criticism. . . We also like to compare ourselves to other mothers, and that only makes things worse. You can’t be that other mom; you can only be you and you are beautiful – inside and out! Take time every single day to acknowledge something good about yourself.”

Each chapter of Imitating Mary features a relevant excerpt from scripture, Fenelon’s reflections, thoughts to ponder, and questions to consider. This book would be wonderful to use in a mom’s book group or Bible study. There is so much each of us can learn from Mary’s example.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Movie Review: This is Our Time

This a story of 5 friends who graduate from college together.  They are all seeking to follow God's plan for them.  (A couple of them consult with one of their professors).  Luke and Ale' go to India, Ryder and Katherine each enter the corporate world, and Ethan is working at his father's restaurant.  

When tragedy strikes one of them, all are affected and question what  God is calling them to do.  But they leave themselves open to His will. 

  It is very refreshing to see young people so intent on following God's will. It is very real and easy to relate to, not just a 'holier than thou' story.  And there are some pretty well-known actors appearing:  Eric Roberts, Erik Estrada and Dawn Wells.  

Although  not a true story, it does lead up to the 'Embrace A Village' organization (http://www.embraceavillage.org) which helps people afflicted with leprosy.  

A very gripping and inspirational story.  

Review of "The Quest for Shakepeare"

I have enjoyed Shakespeare all my life, and when my daughter attended a high school class which interpreted his famous sonnet "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?" as a man-love poem, I was outraged, pulled her from the class and decided to do some Shakespearean research to discover who William Shakespeare really was. Thankfully, Joseph Pearce's "The Quest for Shakespeare" had just been published. I had found the perfect book to discover what your English teacher will never tell you about William Shakespeare; he as a devout Catholic in the days when it could cost him his life.
Pearce's theory is that William Shakespeare is a recusant (secret) Catholic in the days of intense persecution of Catholics under Anglican Church founder King Henry VIII's daughter with Anne Boleyn, Queen Elizabeth.
 The book reads like a fascinating spy novel, where clues to Shakespeare's hidden yet bold Catholicism are uncovered and discussed in indisputable detail. The adventure begins with the recent discovery of William's father's will in the roof of his home where he declares that he never left the Faith. So it appears that William Shakespeare like many recusant Catholics during this time of martyrdom, a double life. He was officially Baptized an Anglican to save his skin but spent time during his impressionable years when he was deciding what path to follow in life in the company of famous Catholic martyrs Fr Robert Southwell and St Edmund Campion. Pearce maintains that he dedicated a volume of his plays to Robert Southwell as "RS" and even boldly celebrated Queen Elizabeth's death in 1603 with a play entitled, "All's Well That Ends Well".
If you note that the Catholic Church is treated with respect in such plays as "Romeo and Juliet" it seems unlikely that Shakespeare was an Anglican. He was just keeping the authorities at bay while he lived an intensely Catholic life. His wife Anne Hathaway was related to such Catholic outlaws as Guy Fawkes who unsucessfully tried to foment a revolution to take back England for the Catholics.   When Pearce tells you about Shakespeare's attic in London you are sure that the Bard of Avon was a secret Catholic who was clever enough to avoid capture and execution but unfortunate enough to be savagely misinterpreted by modern heretics.
Reading "The Quest for Shakespeare" would be a fine way to inspire your teenager to a noble life of academic excellence and of bold standing for their faith in the public square, beginning with that classroom where the Catholic faith is held up as the number one evil influence in Europe.
Note; Joseph Pearce tells the story of "The Quest for Shakespeare" in a riveting EWTN series which you can purchase in their online bookstore or listen to as MP3 files here.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Book Review: Hey God, I've Got Some Guy Named Jonah in My Stomach and I Think I'm Gonna Throw Up! by Troy Schmidt

We've all heard the story of Jonah and the whale from the Old Testament, but have you ever heard it from the whale's perspective?  That's the premise of this humorous children's book.  

This story from the whale's point of view also teaches a couple of important lessons:  although we may want to 'run away' from God's plan for us,  he will use us in his plans, which are always for our good.  

And if we cooperate with God's plans for us, he will multiply that good to help others.  

This is a good book that will both entertain children and share important lessons with them.  I recommend this book...I'm giving mine to my great-nephew  :)


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Movie Review: Break Away

Francois is a corporate executive.  When Francois is laid off from his job,  his  search  for a new job is futile until he realizes two things: that he must use what he does have to make a new career for himself, and that he must trust in God while doing so.  More importantly, he learns what is really important in life.  

The bible story where Jesus multiplies the loaves and fishes to feed many  is referenced a couple of times, and indeed it is demonstrated when Francois  receives help from his friends and family and their help provides him with what he needs for a new career.  Although he is a man of faith already, Francois really learns the necessity of trusting in God.

  Perhaps the most rewarding part of the story is when Francois uses the opportunity he's been given to help others.  

A very entertaining and rewarding story.  I definitely recommend it!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Movie Review: The Call - R

911 operator  Jordan receives a call from Hayden, a girl who was just kidnapped..  As Jordan tries to help her,  she realizes that she must confront a killer from her past. 

  Every minute is action-packed.  I'm surprised it didn't do better at the box office, because it really is one of Halle Berry's best roles.She is very good as Jordan.  

This is a thriller in the true sense of the word.. The tension builds to a point where you will be on the edge of you seat.

  Content warnings include some violence. and some language. 

The ending was unexpected, but I l loved how they ended it :)  

A very good movie! Don't miss it!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Pope Francis' One-Minute Lesson from the School of Love

Pope Francis' One-Minute Lesson from the School of Love

If you want to remember Margaret Thatcher don't see "Iron Lady"

I came of age in the 1970's doing duck and cover drills under my desk in public school, with my vivid imagination hearing Soviet planes overhead. My husband in El Salvador grew up with a real war in his backyard, where Cuban Marxists, funded by Moscow, were fighting the Salvadorean Army which was funded by the USA. He supported Ronald Reagan's policies in El Salvador. I supported them in the US and Europe, where I visited Poland during the 1987 Feast of the Immaculate Conception to hear "Gorbachev y Reagan" on the Polish radio. Reagan was turning the tide against the Evil Empire on that historic day, with Our Lady's help, thanks to John Paul II her faithful son.
 Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were supporting Bl. John Paul the Great in his efforts to free his homeland. I had a front row seat to the drama of Solidarity; which, though banned was running the peaceful revolution in Poland in the late 1980's; churches being built in each city to accommodate overflowing crowds, church sanctuaries festooned with the Vatican colors headlined by Pope John Paul's Coat of Arms, stating "Totus Tuus". These three statesmen gave courage to millions in Eastern Europe who then, peacefully  overcame the greatest evil empire in the world and we are all better for it.  But today's liberal filmmakers are unappreciative of their greatness.
They had to diminish Baroness Thatcher. They made her a doddering old woman who can't even buy eggs for herself in the local convenience store. Sure, her final  illness took away her mind a bit at at time, but why in her biopic, is that what is emphasized? Because they are too ignorant to realize that Communism was a vicious system which destroyed freedom of thought, freedom of the press which they abuse to distort the truth of Margaret Thatcher's amazing accomplishments.
Avoid this film unless you think its worth enduring the annoyance of a propaganda piece to get to the few minutes which cover her impressive career and rise to power from a local politician.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Movie Review: Olympus Has Fallen - R

When terrorists kidnap the President and take control of the White House, former presidential guard Mike Banning finds himself trapped in the house and he becomes the main hope for National Security to retake the White House and rescue the President.     

On one hand, it was a typical action movie where the hero fights violence with violence.  But there were a couple of moments that struck me. The first is the Secretary of Defense, and the way she responds to the terrorists.  The second is one of the bad guys, and what he does right before he dies.    

The story was very well done, and there were a few twists and turns in the story to make it more interesting and keep the audience engaged.  Gerald Butler is quite a versatile actor.  He was a vigilante in Law Abiding Citizen, his last movie was a comedy, and he fits quite well here as an action hero.

  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was the type of movie you don't want to miss a minute of.  

Content warnings include language, violence and a lot of killings.