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7 Quick Takes Friday

December 10, 2010

“To have Christian hope means to know about evil and yet to go to meet the future with confidence. The core of faith rests upon accepting being loved by God, and therefore to believe is to say Yes, not only to him, but to creation, to creatures, above all, to men, to try to see the image of God in each person and thereby to become a lover. That’s not easy, but the basic Yes, the conviction that God has created men, that he stands behind them, that they aren’t simply negative, gives love a reference point that enables it to ground hope on the basis of faith.” (Cardinal Ratzinger, Salt of the Earth)

1.

We had a pretty good snowfall starting yesterday afternoon. The white stuff seems to be coming extra early this year compared to usual. The roads are more difficult, but the kids (and the dog!) are loving it. Frank and Kate have one pair of kids’ skis between them and a measly pile of leaves to ski on (or alternatively, scoot themselves around the mostly flat yard), but they are having a marvelous time.

2.

Last night, during the snow storm, I had to bring Ria to a music rehearsal at church. I didn’t want to drive back and forth in the snow (the roads were a bit ugly), so I just stayed and had a lovely visit in the mostly-dark, empty church. It’s a wonderful and incredibly peaceful way to make a visit.

3.

John and I and the two oldest kids are watching the Bourne movies (I know, we’re like a decade behind on these things sometimes!). We saw The Bourne Identity last week via Netflix and have been meaning to pick up The Bourne Supremacy. Gus has been particularly eager to push on to the second movie. Last night, during the snow storm, we decided to watch it. I told Gus that if he put dinner together, I’d go get the movie. Oops! I thought it must be an easy one to pick up at the Red Box (though we’ve never used one before), but a little internet research showed that it was available neither through that nor through our local library (they had it, but it was just checked out). So I decided to try out a little adventure. I plodded through the snow to a few neighbors’ houses to see if they might have a copy we could borrow. They were all surprised, but unfazed by the request, though no one had a copy and everyone seemed rather pleased with the mini-visits. Sometimes the snow keeps us too far away from our neighbors. It doesn’t make for good driving, but it made for rather pleasant plodding. 🙂

4.

P.S. to #3. We DID get to watch The Bourne Supremacy last night because Gus came up with the brilliant idea of renting it from Amazon. We really enjoyed it. I like action movies that don’t overwhelm you with gore.

5.

I really love Melanie B’s term “Slow Advent Movement” for keeping a balance in preparing our hearts for Christmas without overwhelming ourselves with the process (and losing sight of the whole point in the process). She has an update here. I’m dreaming of writing an update to ours, but not sure if I’ll manage.

6.

We did, of course, celebrate St. Nicholas Day on Monday. The kids actually all woke up before John left and we had a lovely time sitting around the dining room table, with the Advent candles lit, listening to music, and simply relishing the moment. A number of people got audio CDs in their stockings, because St. Vinnie’s had some wonderful options for 75 cents a pop – like Winnie the Pooh: Take My Hand (which includes songs by the Chieftains! – Frank got this in his stocking and absolutely loves it!) and A Merry Little Christmas with Linda Ronstadt (which John is really enjoying – the quality of the motets (!) that are mixed in with the typical fare is breathtaking!). Haven’t had a chance to dig out the pictures from this yet.

7.

I would like to ask your prayers for a wide variety of people in my life that are finding themselves in very tough circumstances this Christmas season – coping with cancer in themselves or in loved ones, struggling with mental illness, suffering from unemployment or underemployment or dealing with dire family problems. I sometimes find myself truly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of suffering and misery in the world (and sometimes just among my friends and family). I need to do what I can, but I can’t solve everyone’s problems and I have to entrust the rest to God (this is really hard sometimes!). This quote has been a big help to me in remembering that the world needs our joy and our light:

Something I constantly notice is that unembarrassed joy has become rarer. Joy today is increasingly saddled with moral and ideological burdens, so to speak. When someone rejoices, he is afraid of offending against solidarity with the many people who suffer. I don’t have any right to rejoice, people think, in a world where there is so much misery, so much injustice.

I can understand that. There is a moral attitude at work here. But this attitude is nonetheless wrong. The loss of joy does not make the world better – and, conversely, refusing joy for the sake of suffering does not help those who suffer. The contrary is true. The world needs people who discover the good, who rejoice in it and thereby derive the impetus and courage to do good. Joy, then, does not break with solidarity. When it is the right kind of joy, when it is not egotistic, when it comes from the perception of the good, then it wants to communicate itself, and it gets passed on. In this connection, it always strikes me that in the poor neighborhoods of, say, South America, one sees many more laughing happy people than among us. Obviously, despite all their misery, they still have the perception of the good to which they cling and in which they can find encouragement and strength.

In this sense we have a new need for that primordial trust which ultimately only faith can give. That the world is basically good, that God is there and is good. That it is good to live and to be a human being. This results, then, in the courage to rejoice, which in turn becomes commitment to making sure that other people, too, can rejoice and receive good news.

– Cardinal Ratzinger, Salt of the Earth

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2010 7:36 pm

    We enjoyed the Bourne movies, too, Alicia — fun idea to watch them now with the older girls.

    Great quote at the end!

    • December 12, 2010 6:15 am

      Thanks – I’m glad you like it! It’s definitely a “compass-quote” for me. 🙂

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