Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Lazy Catholic Intellectual Starter Kit

I read a piece last week for the National Catholic Register on what every Catholic Library needs.  I looked at the list and thought about how those are good resources, but what does an ordinary time type of person in the Body of Christ need in their library, and thus it generated this piece:  The Catholic Lazy Intellectual Starter Kit.  Feel free to leave suggestions for my growing library and happy Amazon account.     ;)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

At the Register

where I'm talking about being salt.  Please consider leaving a comment or sharing.  Thank you very much for your ongoing support of my secondary career as a Catholic writer. 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

What I Really Think...

Today is the March for Our Lives.  Two months ago, was the March for Life.  Both have merit.  Both marches reveal a desire for a society which is better than what is quick, what is easy, and what is merely legal.  Both draw in people of good will, who want  help create a society where the idea of hurting people, of killing people as a means of escape, or revenge, or because we're fed up, tired, or have no hope, is unthinkable.

However, it's very easy to get blinded to good within one march or the other, because it runs counter to one's politics.

We all get caught up in passion for fighting those evils we see ignored. It's human. It's natural. It's ordinary. As Catholics, we're not called to limit ourselves to the first instinct. We're to willfully engage the world and allow grace to work through us to reveal Christ. However, to be a disciple of Christ  is to be a person of service, a servant to all and to be like the Son of God and have no political home. It means we must resist the temptation of the world to engage in tribalism, a favorite means of the Devil to prevent us from being who God would will us to be.

Those who tend to vote Republican, favor restrictions on the liberty to abort. We'd even support an outright ban because we know all abortion ends a human life and damages the souls of many. Those who tend to vote Democrat, favor restrictions on the liberty to bear arms. We'd even support an outright ban on some forms of ammunitions and armaments because we know shootings by people of other people can end human lives and damage the souls of many.

We want a waiting period on buying guns so that people don't take actions they'll regret. We want a waiting period on acquiring abortion for the very same reason. Restricting liberty to act on impulse is something we need, if only to help prevent countless lives from enduring deep regret later. We want restrictions on younger people purchasing fire arms because their judgement is subject to the reality of their age, experience, peer pressure and emotions. We also want the responsible adults in their lives to be involved in the matter. We want restrictions on younger people seeking abortion because their judgement is also subject ot the reality of their age, experience, peer pressure and emotions. We also want the responsible adults in their lives to be involved in the matter.

The right want restrictions on abortion because it kills people. The left want restrictions on guns for the very same reason, because they kill people. There are protected rights in the Constitution and in law regarding both matters. If we want to be fully Pro-life, we should be both and in both circumstances because we want a safer, kinder, better society that protects all human life.

Those who March for Life and brave the cold, should march with those in the March for Our Lives, because we're really pro-life and vis-versa.  This is a great time to be a witness, and to act to bring both hands of the body of Christ together. We should be a seamless garment of love to those who suffer from pain, from tragedy, from poverty, from want. We have great opportunity to be a disciples of mercy to those forgotten, ignored or marginalized in every walk of life and show that being a follower of Christ always means loving more than what the law or politics or popular opinion allows or prefers.

If we're pro-life, it means we want people to have access to medicine and medical care, so they can stay healthy or get better, so they can care for their unborn and born children. To be pro-life, we need good medical care for those who are elderly, and the sick, so they won't feel pressured to accept euthanasia as an alternative to being cared for in their later years. To be pro-life, we hold that "Thou shalt not kill," and know that includes even mere anger against our neighbor. Being Pro-life means standing against violence, against any by any. To be pro-life, we must care for the poor and the immigrant, the stranger and the lost. To be pro-life, we have to care for the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the dying, the imprisonned, the sick, the weak, the powerless, the hopeless, the ignorant, the abandoned and the unpleasant. We are all called, we are all chosen, and we are all here to care for the all with all that we have and all that we are.

It's not an easy task, because it requires we take action again and again and again and again. It's not going to be viewed by everyone as anything but symbolic, (but what others see is not relevant, it is what God knows about our hearts and our actions, that matters). We have to cease to be Republicans or Democrats, right and left and be Catholic Disciples in all things, if we would be anything in the Kingdom of God. Time to all poor ungrateful servants (meaning all of us) get to work.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Sometimes, I Want to Write, Sometimes, I have to...

I have a piece at the National Catholic Register today.  It's in response to an article written by Ruth Marcus over at the Washington Post, explaining how if she'd found out her children had Down Syndrome, she'd have aborted them, and protesting that to have the right to choose must be from conception to birth irrespective of the reasoning behind abortion.  So I wished to present an alternative perspective, and to offer to my sister in Christ, why we need these people in our world and in our lives. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

At National Catholic Register Today

We're getting to the end of the series on the Rosary, so naturally, we'd save the Crucifixion for during Lent.   Here's today's piece, "Sooner or Later, We All End Up at the Foot of the Cross."

Next week my son has a retreat in preparation for Confirmation, and I have two mysteries left to do to finish this project, The Ressurection and the Descent of the Holy Spirit.  My plan is to print up all of them for him as a Confirmation present, and add a rosary to it.  It's been a fun project in addition to being a challenging one.  Now I have to figure out what I'll write about next. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

What Are We Looking For...

I think (with the exception of the Black Panther), we've finally saturated on Superhero movies. 


Because we're tired of being shown heroes we cannot possibly become.  What we want from our heroes, is the inspiration to be heroic.  What Superman, Batman, Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine, X-men,Thor, The Avengers, Justice League and the like do, is show people who are beyond us, in origin, in capacity, in some cases, in economics, and potential. We can't be these people.  We cannot become mutants, Asgardians or aliens or transfigured by super soldier serum.  We can only enjoy the escape, and return to ordinariness.  These films are rather like going on a roller coaster.  Once the ride is over, so is the thrill. 

What real heroes do, is inspire others to also be heroic.  It's part of why Wonder Woman was so successful.  The men who journeyed with her, were inspired to be super-heroic, and all the moreso because they lacked powers.  It's why Black Panther is also such a hit. The characters within struggle and find their courage to act. We don't need our heroes on the screen or in real life to be impossible.  We need them to be courageous and good.  So when we have super heros that are courageous AND good, we love it because of the characters' character, (like Spiderman, Wonder Woman, and Black Panther).  Their powers are the little extra. We'd like these characters as Peter Parker, Diana Prince and T'Challa. 

We are starving for examples in real life of people not preening, not preaching, not lecturing, not coming in after the fact to explain what should have been done, but for people to be fully present in the now and be both good and brave.   It's why we are starting to drift toward less fanciful movies, and more real life stories.  We want the extraordinary from the ordinary, a reminder to each of us, that it's possible. 

P.S. My son informs me, I should watch Logan, because it is darker and struggles with the hardness of doing the right thing. 

Thursday, March 8, 2018's Thursday

So I'm posting Small Success Thursday.   Will wonders never cease? 

Hopefully not.

In other news, we took the youngest four to see Peter Rabbit and it was a fun movie.  I now have a personal favorite creature,  I always thought I was The Country Bunny...

but now I've discovered, 

The idea of a cucumber ninja bunny who doesn't count the ribs she breaks...or doesn't count them correctly anyway, tickled me to no end.   

In other news:

 My daughter Bonn got into Maryland Institute of Creative Art for graduate school.   Peter has narrowed down his choices to two schools, we ordered his cap and gown and had a snow day last week.   We also are celebrating the beginning of birthday season with the first of four birthdays which fall fast upon each other. 

It's a busy week in the Antonetti household. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Sleep Regulations of Mom and Dad

We your parents love you always.  Having said this, we've also discovered in the course of years of experimentation, we need this thing called sleep more than any of you knew possible.  Since none of you seem interested in fostering this physical need of ours, the time has come to lay down the law. 

We have operational hours...6 AM to 11:00 PM, Monday through Friday.  Saturday and Sunday, the hours alter to 8 AM to 11 PM. 

Emergencies may happen, you have needs which exceed these hours, and you are welcome in such circumstances.  However, it seems few know the difference between an emergency and ordinary inquiries.  Please refer to the following handy dandy chart to avoid confusion, faux pas and interrupting much needed Mom and Dad REM sleep. 

Before you knock...

Does this situation involve someone having a problem with a bodily fluid? 
If so, KNOCK. 

Does this situation involve someone raiding the refridgerator of the last sleeve of thin mints?
If so, don't knock.  Tell the person to leave a baggie of four for Mom for the trouble and to share the rest of them.   

Does the situation involve someone arguing over a toy?
Go to bed.  Leave the toy outside our bedroom door. 

Does the situation involve anyone being sick in some fashion? 
Knock.  Knock until you get an answer.

Does the situation involve a nightmare? 
Knock.  We will awake and help make it better.  That's what Moms and Dads do. 

Does the situation involve a dispute over technology?   Turn all of it off.  It should have been off hours ago. 

Does the situation involve needing water?
You are stalling.  If you can come knock on the door, you can get water from your sink.  Do not knock.

Does your situation involve signing papers...forgotten homework?  We'll talk about this in the morning.  We'll sign the papers.  Leave a note for me to wake you up early. 

Hope this clears everything up.  Sweet dreams.   Love you all.   Good Night. 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Over at the National Catholic Register Today

with one of the last pieces in my series on the rosary.   It's on the Institution of the Holy Eucharist.  I've tried very hard not to rush any of these pieces, to let the situation dictate which one came next, but it seems to me very appropriate that the Eucharist would then be followed by needing to write on the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Descent of the Holy Spirit.   I'd love to say I planned it, but the only thing I knew, was Pentecost would be the last in the series, since all of these pieces were written for John as he prepares for Confirmation. 

I have to write a letter to him for his Confirmation retreat, but I'm not sure what I'll say.  I know my own Confirmation retreat included a story which blew my mind even though I lived it. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

I Hate this Movie

I hate Hotel Transylvania II, even more than Hotel Transylvania I.  I can say this because I've seen it way more than any human should have to...ever.

Unfortunately, my son Paul loves both movies and today, sitting by his side as he called my attention to various points in the show, I understood for the first time, why.  Mind you, it's still a poorly written film with weird sensibilities, but I understood Paul's love for it. 

First, he loves slap stick.  So anything which has crashes and bumps and fake fights (like Batman the live action), Tom and Jerry Cartoons, you name it, it's good.  The film catches him right where he lives. He points out every prat fall, every silly movement by one of the monsters.

Additionally, Paul thinks he's the little boy who doesn't fit in either spot.  I didn't pick this...he did.  Paul dances to the music, he does all the moves.  He says "Blah blah blah." and pretends to be the vampire. He knows just enough to know, he's not where everyone else is in his own family.  He points to himself when the little boy Dennis becomes a vampire and suddenly has control over all of his life.   Right now, it doesn't hurt to be self aware about how he is and others aren't.

The problematic plot of the movie is the kid cannot stay with half his family because he is not a monster, and cannot go to the human world, because his family is peopled with monsters.   I know to the outside world, as Paul grows up, his disability will be more easily seen than his gifts. They will see him as not able.  He will be like the kid, unable to fully join a world he must live in. 

It's my job to help him hone his gifts so people can be "surprised by his ability," instead of presuming he can't.   Part of me thinks he thinks it will be rather like the character, suddenly gaining all the super powers to be able to fit in both worlds at ease.  Who wouldn't like a magic answer? He brings me a banana and draws a picture of his name and a few other letters I can't quite make out.

He wants a new movie, "Lego Batman." It's a day off and we've done all we're doing today and I have paperwork to finish so I allow it after a negotiation.  "Get changed for bed."  He goes to get his stuff on his own, comes back to my bathroom, knocks on the door to make sure no one is being interrupted and proceeds to change.   I'm surprised by his efficiency.  He also gets the remote and puts it on the movie. Again I'm surprised.  Maybe he knows more than I know. Maybe he sees me like the overprotective mother who won't let him be what he should be. Maybe he's showing me this movie over and over and over again to show me what he can be...maybe it's a message to me.


Now I really hate this movie. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Small Success Thursday...on Thursday!

Will wonders never cease? 

It helps that I'm home sick today.  I can do three things. Groan, sleep and occasionally comment on something in social media. 

However, if I don't post SST today, it won't be because I didn't have time, only a lack of will.   Here's today's Small Success Thursday.  There are times when I think about stopping this weekly exercise of counting one's blessings.  It doesn't seem to generate much of a written response. 

Part of me, the egotistical part, wants that affirmation.  But as I told my mom recently, too much affirmation for me, is like alcohol.  I get spiritually drunk on it, and fail to keep growing.  Simcha Fisher wrote a great piece,  there's a value in the waiting to be healed, even if we do not fully recognize it, and I knew, that's what I feel sometimes when there aren't many responses to Small Success Thursday.  Where is everyone?  Isn't a sign of the Holy Spirit, community?  Am I just tooting my own horn? Does it come across as me bragging about my life? Does it come across as smug about reality?  Which lead to the question...why do you do this?  For yourself?  If so, why? 

I write it to keep track of life, to remember all the good that happens,  even when battling a stomach bug.   I write it to remind myself, all of life is a gift, and that even suffering, while not "fixable," is redeemable.   (To quote another wise woman, Leticia Adams).  God redeems our suffering, which is very different from fixing it.  However, that redemption requires one key element, our cooperation.    When you spend the day in bed, cooperation seems like a bit much to ask.  My sufferings are nothing compared to anyone else's, but I'm just as willing to whine at God, "Fix this." over the small things as the big.  I'm very good at nagging God. 

Then I read Pope Francis' work a Letter Placuit Deo To the Bishops of the Catholic Church On Certain Aspects of Christian Salvation.  Pope Francis takes on the two modern heresies which are merely repackaging of two of the oldest,  Pelagianism and Gnosticism. 

Most of us have a cursory knowledge of the second one.  The body is innately bad, and all redepmtion is a spiritual act, a divorcing of the soul from the body.  If so, there would be no need of the ressurection. Why trouble us with new bodies, if bodies are themselves, unnecessary and innately of no worth.  Why become man if being man were not necessary.  God could have shown himself as a giant head, like in that horrible movie Startrek V, and the question would be, "What does God need with a starship/body?" Answer, nothing at all if gnosticism is true.   Fortunately, it's not true even if right now, I know my body feels bad and I'd personally like a divorce for as long as it feels this way. 

Which brings us to the second heresy.  Being sick has an advantage in terms of insight. I cannot will myself better. I can only wait and work towards being well.  But I cannot make myself healed no matter how much I wish it. Pelagianism asserts we can (absent God's grace) be good, be whole, be who we are called to be.  I've only begun to delve into the piece by the Pope, and can barely spell the term without double checking, but I do get the good person who does not believe in God, does not know they receive God's grace.  They receive it nontheless because God loves all his children and wants them to know through all the graces of life, His love.  He's pouring out all the graces of the Universe in an attempt to win over each of our hearts. 

So I go back to the question...and the answer is of course, I will write SST, if only to remind myself to be grateful to God for everything.  (I'll still ask God, could you make me better soon please, this is not fun).   

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!