Monday, November 24, 2014

Music Review: The Rosary Mysteries, Meditations and Music

I pray the Rosary daily, and I've heard the Sisters' beautiful music before, so I jumped at the opportunity to review this CD.  And it exceeded my expectations.

After introducing each mystery, a sister reads the relevant bible passage.  What distinguishes this Rosary recording from others, is that she cites the book and verse of the passage in case you wish to make note of it, or read further in the passage.   

I especially like the echo-like sound affect that is used while reading the bible enhances it and makes it sound more powerful and  biblical..

When you finish the rosary, you can enjoy a few beautiful hymns by the sisters....two in English, one in Latin.  

The Rosary + the Sisters' beautiful singing = an awesome CD.

This is one of those recordings that I would classify as a spiritual will bring you closer to the Lord, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Movie Review:Susie's Hope

This true story is mostly about Donna Lawrence and her husband Roy.  Donna is attacked by a pit bull dog.  The attack has long-lasting effects on her.  A short time after that, Donna and her friend are walking and come upon a dog that was badly beaten and burned; ironically, it is a pit bull puppy.  

Donna can't leave the puppy.  She names her Susie and, against all odds, she raises the money to pay for Susie's medical care and recovery.  Her friend Ramona is supportive,  and her husband is at first reluctant...then very supportive.  Together, Donna and Susie both recover and heal from their injuries.

Together, Donna and her husband seek justice for Susie both by seeing her attacker punished, and working to get 'Susie's Law' passed, which increased the penalty for animal cruelty or my very own state of North Carolina :).  

Special acting KUDO's to Burgess Jenkins, who played Roy Lawrence; I felt his acting was the most realistic and credible.  His responses to various events in the story were very natural, instinctive and genuine.

I  admit I love animals and I'm a sucker for an animal story, but this is a really  heartwarming story that I proudly recommend.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Movie Review: The Vatican Museums In Cinemas

“The Vatican Museums 3D” will be in theaters everywhere beginning December 10 in partnership with Fathom Events, and will be shown in 2D and RealD 3D. Additional shows will be in select theaters December 11 and 14.

The introduction begins with the paradox of art being a means of escaping the world, while at the same time, highlighting the beauty of the world.

For me, I am best able to appreciate art by hearing  the story behind the art.  A few  of my favorites: 

  • When The priest Laocoon opposed Minerva, she sent a giant serpent to strangle his two sons, and then him.  This statue was the beginning of the Vatican Museums in 1504.   
  • Da Vinci's 'Saint Jerome', while still unfinished, was used as a she maker's bench and was rediscovered two centuries later.
  • Did you  know that Michaelangelo inscribed his signature on the Pieta, on the ribbon of the Blessed Mother's dress? I didn't...

There were several references to these works of art bringing us closer to God, and I do believe that is true.   Whether you are seeking that, or if you are just someone who appreciates beautiful art, I strongly recommend that you see this movie. It will bring you closer to the art than you could get even by being there.  The photography  is outstanding, and brings the art to life.

For Theaters and Showtimes:


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Book Review: Yes, God! What Ordinary Families Can Learn about Parenting from Today’s Vocation Stories

In a recent address, Pope Francis described the family as the, "primary place for education, the community of love and life in which every person learns to relate to others and to the world." He continued, "All vocations make their first steps in the family."
We Catholics know this, deep down, but we have a tendency to deny the latter part of that statement. Vocations are for other people’s kids, we tell ourselves, our families aren’t perfect enough. We over-idealize those families who have produced vocations to the priesthood and religious life. We place them on a pedestal; imagining a large family filling the pew each morning at Daily Mass, homeschooling in Latin, cheerfully doing farm chores all afternoon, then serenely kneeling in the living room each evening for the family Rosary. These ideal Domestic Churches have no loud arguments, no black sheep, and no doubts that their children would serve the Church. Since our own families are not like those, we reason that our children could not possibly have vocations to the religious life.
 Susie Lloyd, the best-selling Catholic humorist, and homeschooling mother of her own large family, assures us that these lofty images are accurate, some of the time. But there’s much more to depth to families who produce vocations than we think, and in exploring their various characteristics, we just might find our families have more in common with them than we think.
In “Yes, God!” LLoyd chronicles the childhood and vocation stories of nine men and women religious, describing the details of their family which she believes brought each of them to say “yes” to God’s call to religious life. Chapters are named for the predominant strength which those religious and priests learned from their families. There is “Yes to Strength”, “Yes to Duty”, “Yes to Generosity”. No matter what the inherent strengths of a family, a vocation always begins with a “yes” and a family which strived to serve God with their lives. Families bring their particular gifts to their vocation whether their home was rural or urban, athletic or artistic, rowdy, quiet, or just plain contentious!
These families are not perfect. At times, Mrs. Lloyd points out; even the challenges in the home were used by the Lord to help the future religious transform weakness into virtue. This is true in the family of Sister Marie Jose de la Rosa S.C.C. whose chapter is subtitled, “Yes to Spiritual Poverty”. Her father’s long term unemployment and depression posed a daunting challenge for her mother who worked to support and raise her children singlehandedly. For Mrs. Lloyd, it’s not about perfection, number of children, or proximity to a Church building, it’s about the attitude which engenders the person’s “yes” to God.
And the attitude is not always universal. Sometimes a vocation comes as a surprise. One of the funniest stories in the book involves Mrs. Lloyd’s inability to see the great potential in a college friend, Fr Jeremy Paulin, OMV, now a Vocation Director.
 So it seems no one is off the hook when it comes to raising Catholic children considering religious life, since no two vocation-producing families are alike. Mrs. Lloyd’s characteristic humor keeps the Catholic guilt light-hearted as she brings to light helpful habits which an aspiring mother to a religious can implement in her Domestic Church. It’s a lead by example book on Catholic parenting, and it will have you smiling at both the strengths and faux pas of your own family as you read the captivating stories.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Movie Review: Saving Christmas

Kirk is enjoying his sister's Christmas party,  until he discovers how down his brother-in-law Christian has become on Christmas.  Kirk goes and talks to Christian, and although Christian is a Christian (no pun intended),  he cites all the nonsense anti-Christian theories that atheists and/or Satanists use.  One by one, these fruitless arguments fall as Kirk responds to them.  here are a couple of my favorite points:

Where are trees (as in a Christmas tree) in the Bible?  In the Garden of Eden, for starters...God gave Adam and Eve a garden full of fruitful trees to eat from...He only forbade them from eating of one.  When they disobeyed Him, it was not possible to put that fruit back on the tree, so Jesus, the new Adam, made things right by putting Himself on a tree...for us.

Christmas is a Pagan holiday...SANTA=SATAN...get it?  :)  After I stopped laughing, Kirk explained about the real St Nicholas and how he fought heresies promoted, ironically enough, by a Bishop named Arius that labelled Jesus as less than God.  St. Nicholas fought these Arian heresies vigorously, and as a result, became popular with the people, and children in particular, to whom he was generous...the beginning of Christmas.

Basically, Kirk  conveys the point that Jesus is the center of Christmas, and as such, we should joyfully celebrate it 

An excellent movie that will get you in the mood for Christmas and help make it even more joyful!
By the way, the website is pretty cool also...check it out too :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Music Review: O Day of Resurrection! by New Camaldoli Hermitage

A beautiful collection of 27 hymns, prayers and psalms from the Liturgy of the hours, sung by the Camaldolese Benedictine monks. It was recorded in their chapel in Big Sur, CA. 

I used to pray the Liturgy of the Hours daily, but unfortunately I am not always able to do so due to my work hours.  This album helps me with that.   If you are not able to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, it is beautiful enough to listen to anytime for anyone who enjoys chant. One unique quality of  this CD is that it uses both two and three part harmony, which makes it all the more beautiful.  Two of the best tracks are  the Magnigicat and the Our Father.

The album is chanted in English, which makes it easier to follow and to use it to pray the Liturgy of the Hours.

A very beautiful CD that will bring you closer to the Lord.

Also available on Amazon

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Movie Review: Interstellar - PG13

In the future, earth is becoming inhabitable, with dust storms happening, and crops gradually dying out.  A group of NASA scientists set out to find another inhabitable place for earth's people.  A gripping combination of science fiction, drama and intrigue.

The story was well-written.  The acting was very good, with some well-known names: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, John Lithgow and Matt Damon.

The coolest part of the story, by far,  is the element of time travel and existing in other dimensions.  I won't spoil any details, but the travel to another galaxy takes years, which is different than the travel time in space.

It is a fairly long movie, close to 3 hours, and I look at in in thirds...the first third is good, introducing the characters and setting the basis for the story.  The second third is tedious, and just when it was losing my interest, the final third advanced the story, and had the most exciting scenes.  I enjoyed it, but I must admit I found the ending pretty vague and unsatisfying.

A good movie worth seeing.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Movie Review: Before I Go to Sleep - R

After a violent attack, Christine (Nicole Kidman) lives one day at a time, because she cannot remember more than one day at a time.  Every morning she becomes reacquainted with her husband Ben (Colin Firth),  and then meets with a doctor who is working with her to help her regain her memories.   It is a very unique story plot.  It is also a well-written  mystery, always keeping you guessing as to whom she can trust:  her husband, her doctor or her best friend.

Content warnings include a few curses, a violent attack (NOT a rape scene), and 1 quick butt shot.  

A very well-written story that will keep you in suspense.  I enjoyed it a lot.