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{Friday, July 28, 2006  }

.:{They Killed Superman}:.

Everybody loves the new Superman movie, baby, why don't you?

I must admit, I like cheesy comic book type movies as much as the next person. Such fantastic lines as "you haven't seen the last of me!" and "it's time to die!" somehow really make me happy. Perhaps it's because the good guys are god, and the bad guys are not only bad, but also stupid. As it should be.

But they have, I think, managed to kill Superman with the latest Superman flick.

What is Superman? If we pull the name from German, we have a slightly Nietzchian character in the Ubermensch. However, America proves once again its ability to adopt the heck out of things, change and reform whatever into its own image, chewing up the good and spitting out the bad. And so we did, coming up with the most "hooray for us!" ultimate American character in the wave of pro-American, patriotic, post-WWII sentiment. We just won the war, yesss! We're America -- we can do anything!

Superman was a good (in many senses of the word) character -- he was altruistic, he was strong and powerful, yet with a soft spot for one Lois Lane. Emphasis on the altruistic part. Superman saddled himself with the burden of being a good character, making a conscious decision to use his powers for good and to save humanity. Superman the just.

Superman then, too, becomes the American Dream in some way.

Unfortunately, the wave of moral superiority is sharply undercut in the latest film.

I'm talking about Superman's illegitimate child by Lois Lane. The one who we're supposed to believe is the illegitimate child of Lois and her live-in boyfriend. Ooh, plot twist. No one was supposed to believe that Superman and Lois Lane actually got that close.

But what have we done for the sake of a plot twist? We've killed the fundamental nature of Superman. We have now written into his character negative modern values -- cohabitation, bastardy, illicit affairs are supposed to be positive, or at least common and therefore "accepted" values. What we have is a different hero -- one I personally can't accept, as he has now to me become flimsy and silly -- and a completely different heroine. Lois Lane is no longer the ideal of every girl -- who on earth wants to be endlessly engaged and never married, working in a cutthroat industry with an illegitimate child, whose paternity is in doubt?

This may be lamentably commonplace, but in no way is it ideal. And when we have killed our ideals, we have killed Lois Lane and we have killed Superman.
posted by Lauren, 1:27 AM | link | 2 comments

{Wednesday, July 26, 2006  }

.:{Mary of Magdala}:.

At last night's Third Order meeting, some words were said in regards to Mary Magdalene, whose feast day was last week.

In lieu of posting a lot of stuff right now, I'm posting her readings from the old breviary, some taken from the Song of Songs, which I find to be most appropriate.

More shall come later. Stay tuned.

In lectulo meo per noctes quæsívi quem díligit ánima mea ; quæsívi illum et non invéni. Surgam et circuibo civitátem per vicos et platéas, quæram quem díligit ánima mea : quæsívi illum et non invéni. Invenérunt me vigiles qui custódiunt civitátem. Num quem díligit ánima mea vidistis? Paululum cum pertransíssem eos, invéni quem díligit ánima mea, ténui eum, nec dimittam, donec introducam illum in domum matris meæ et in cubiculum genitricis meæ. Quis mihi det te fratrem meum sugentem úbera matris meæ, ut invéniam te foris et deósculer te, et jam me nemo despíciat? Apprehéndam te et ducam in domum matris meæ ; ibi me docebis, et dabo tibi póculum ex vino condíto et mustum malórum granatórum meórum. Læva ejus sub cápite meo, et déxtera illíus amplexábitur me. Adjuro vos, fíliæ Jerusalem, ne suscitetis neque evigilare faciátis diléctam, donec ipsa velit. Quæ est ista, quæ ascéndit de desérto, delíciis affluens, innixa super diléctum suum? Sub arbore malo suscitávi te, ibi corrupta est mater tua, ibi violáta est genitrix tua. Pone me ut signaculum super cor tuum, ut signaculum super bráchium tuum, quia fortis est ut mors diléctio, dura sicut infernus æmulátio ; lámpades ejus lámpades ignis atque flammárum. Aquæ multæ non potuérunt exstinguere caritátem, nec flúmina óbruent illam.

By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth? It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me. O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; yea, I should not be despised. I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother's house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate. His left hand should be under my head, and his right hand should embrace me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please. Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree: there thy mother brought thee forth: there she brought thee forth that bare thee. Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.


From a sermon by Pope Gregory the Great

Mary Magdalene, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, through love of the truth, washed away in her tears the defilement of her sins, and the words of the Truth are fulfilled which he spake : Her sins, which are many, are forgiven ; for she loved much. She who had remained chilly in sin, became fiery through love. When even his disciples went away again unto their own home, Mary still stood without at the sepulchre of Christ, weeping. She sought him whom her soul loved, but she found him not. She searched for him with tears ; she yearned with strong desire for him who, she believed, had been taken away. And thus it befell her, that being the only one who had remained to seek him, she was the only one that saw him. It is the truth that the backbone of a good work is perseverance. At first when she sought him, she found him not ; she went on searching, and so it came to pass that she found him ; and this was so, to the end that her longing might grow in earnestness, and so in its earnestness might find what it sought. Hence is it that the Bride in the Song of Songs saith as representing the Church : By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth. We seek on our bed for him whom our soul loveth, when, having got some little rest in this world, we still sigh for the Presence of our Redeemer ; but it is by night that we so seek him, for though our mind may be on the alert for him, yet still he is hidden from our eyes by the darkness that now is. But if we find not him whom our soul loveth, it remaineth that we should rise and go about the city, that is, by thought and questioning, go through the holy Church of the elect : seek him in the streets, and in the broad ways, that is, walk anxiously looking about us both in the narrow and the broad places, that if we can, we may find his footsteps there ; for there are some even of those who live for the world, from whom something may be learnt to be imitated by a godly man. As we thus go wakefully about, the watchmen, that keep the city, find us ; the holy Fathers, who are the watchmen of the bulwarks of the Church, come to meet our good endeavours, and to teach us either by their words or by their writings. And it needeth but a little to pass from them, but we find him whom our soul loveth : for albeit our Redeemer in lowliness became a man among men, yet by right of his Divine Nature, he is still above men.

A homily by St. Augustine

(both of which will be referenced in later posts. There will be a test, class. Pay attention.)

Ye have listened carefully to the Gospel whileas it was being read, so that the thing told hath, as it were, passed before the eyes of your heart. Ye have seen in your mind's eye, albeit not with bodily sight, the Lord Jesus Christ sitting down to meat in the Pharisee's house, and not refusing when he is bidden of him. Ye have seen also an infamous woman of the city, one of utterly bad character, a sinner, thrusting herself in an uninvited guest, to the banquet where her Healer was sitting, and seeking health at his hands with godly shamelessness ; thrusting herself in eager for mercy, as though eager for the feast. She knew under what a disease she laboured, and she knew that he unto whom she came was mighty to cure it. She drew near therefore, not unto the Lord's head, but unto his feet. She that had so long walked the paths of sin betook her unto the feet that went about doing good. She first poured forth heart-felt tears, and washed the Lord's feet with the humble service of her acknowledgment, wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them. Her silence cried aloud, not in words but in manifested love. The Pharisee, who had desired the Lord Jesus Christ that he would eat with him, belonged to that class of proud men concerning whom the Prophet Isaiah saith : A people which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me ; for I am holier than thou. And this Pharisee therefore thought that the Lord did not know what manner of woman this was.

O Pharisee, that biddest and scornest the Lord! Thou invitest the Lord to meat, and thou knowest not him that should have given thee to eat? Whence knowest thou that the Lord knoweth not who and what manner of woman this is, save from this, that she is allowed to draw near unto him, and that he suffereth her to kiss his feet, to wipe them, and to anoint them? Ought not an unclean woman to have been permitted to do these things to clean feet? If such a woman had drawn near to the feet of this Pharisee, he would have said to her what Isaiah putteth into the mouth of such : Stand by thyself, come not near to me, for I am holier than thou. But she came unto the Lord unclean that she might go away cleansed ; sick, that she might go away healed ; with confession, that she might go away with thanksgiving.
posted by Lauren, 9:43 AM | link | 0 comments

{Friday, July 14, 2006  }

.:{Ressurection through the Prayers of Dominicans}:.

A friend of mine recently alerted me to this painting by Cosimo Rosseli, a Florentine artist who, along with Ghirarlando and Botticelli, did a bit of painting in the Vatican and Sistine Chapel somewhere. The image shows St. Catherine of Siena as the Spiritual Mother of the Second and Third Orders of St. Dominic. The second order is on the left with the longer, older constitutions for the sisters, while the rule of St. Dominic in codex form is being given to the white-veiled sisters of the Third Order on the right -- of which St. Catherine is one herself (very often people forget this about Catherine). Behind her from right to left are the ubiquitous St. Lawrence (my very own), St. Dominic, St. Peter Martyr, and for some reason the archangel Raphael with Tobias (from the book of Tobit, one of our Catholic books that the Protestants removed from the text).

More posts to come to Cnytr later, slowly but surely. Apologies for my long absence. No good reason for it, really.
posted by Lauren, 5:03 PM | link | 4 comments