An Education

April 29, 2010

Well, it’s the middle of final paper season, but fear not!  I’m still finding time for blogging.  And procrastinating.  And watching movies.  And procrastinating by blogging about watching movies.  Among the more interesting movies I’ve watched of late has been the British film An Education (2009).

An Education is set in 1960s London, a more innocent age on the verge of becoming, well, a significantly less innocent age.  The star of the movie is Jenny (Carey Mulligan), a smart 16-year old at an all-girls academy with a bright academic future ahead of her, if all goes well, at Oxford.

Jenny’s home life is a bit oppressive, and her parents are rather dull.  Alfred Molina turns in a particularly good performance as Jenny’s father, Jack, who manages to come across as bumbling, overbearing, and awkwardly caring all at the same time.  In the end, despite appearing almost tyrannical in his desire for Jenny to do well at school, Jack’s greatest fault turns out to be his naïveté.  Jenny faults him for not being strict enough.

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Milosz – In Kraków

April 28, 2010

Czeslaw Milosz is regarded as one of the great poets of the 20th century. This poem caught my eye when it was first published in The New Yorker as, perhaps, a poetic theology of the body.  Enjoy!

In Kraków

On the border of this world and the beyond, in Kraków.

Tap-tap on the foot-worn flagstones of churches,

Generation after generation.  Here I came to understand

Something of the habits of my brothers and sisters.

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Gospel Tumbles and Tweets: part 2

April 25, 2010

What a coincidence! Yesterday, I discovered on Twitter that the Pope gave a speech the same day talking about the need for believers to humanize the internet. Here’s the major quote:

“Without fear we must set sail on the digital sea facing into the deep with the same passion that has governed the ship of the Church for two thousand years. Rather than for, albeit necessary, technical resources, we want to qualify ourselves by living in the digital world with a believer’s heart, helping to give a soul to the Internet’s incessant flow of communication”.

Read Vatican Radio’s summary here.

Michae!, SJ

+AMDG+


Gospel Tumbles and Tweets

April 24, 2010

One of the fun things about browsing the internet is that you can always find something new.  But, of course, new internet discoveries are almost always a mixed bag.  What are they for? What are they doing for people? Who uses this? Sometimes, even after I figure out some of that stuff, I end up realizing that it might be cool, but it’s nothing I’ll ever get any use or genuine enjoyment from.

But then there are things that might turn out to be useful – for example, Twitter and Tumblr.

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A brief ecclesiastical history of Kazakhstan

April 20, 2010

When I first began writing for Whosoever Desires, one of our readers suggested I should say something about my two years in Kazakhstan and, in particular, about the state of the Kazakhstani Church.

I worked in Kazakhstan from 2002-2004, straight out of college, well before the thought of becoming a Jesuit had crossed my mind; my concerns and inclinations at the time were, I confess, decidedly more worldly than they are today.  I found that there are two basic drives motivating Peace Corps volunteers:  an idealism trying to make the world a better place and a thirst for adventure.  Like most, I possessed a bit of both.

First a few basics about Kazakhstan.   Read the rest of this entry »


Girard, sacrifice, and the (Holy Sacrifice of the) Mass, Part II

April 14, 2010

Two weeks ago I offered a summary of René Girard’s I See Satan Fall Like Lightning.  Girard’s insights into the origins of violence and the violent origins of civilization are worth serious consideration.  The social insights that come out of his theory are often unsettling.  For example, he realizes that Christianity’s concern for victims has been largely absorbed into contemporary society, though this concern itself can be perverted by mimetic contagion:  “we practice a hunt for scapegoats to the second degree, a hunt for the hunters of scapegoats.”

There’s fruit for several posts in that sentence alone, but when I first read Girard it was in the context of sacramental theology.  So today I’d like to turn to a couple of questions having to do with the Eucharist.  Here, to be clear, we start to move beyond Girard’s views to my own musings.

Girard’s analysis highlights one of the more disquieting aspects of the Passion accounts for those living in contemporary Western culture:  the role of the crowd.   Read the rest of this entry »


Bl. Bernardo de Hoyos, SJ (1711-1735)

April 13, 2010

+AMDG+

It seems that the Society of Jesus is on its way toward a fourth “boy saint.”  Fr. Bernardo de Hoyos, SJ, who died at the age of 24 and is considered the first apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Spain, will join the ranks of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, St. Stanislaus Kostka, and St. John Berchmanns, all of whom achieved notable holiness while still in Jesuit formation (Bernardo was completing tertianship, the final stage of Jesuit formation, when he died).  The Spanish Jesuit will be beatified in Vallodolid on April 18, 2010.  The link will bring you to a letter of Fr Adolfo Nicolas, SJ, describing his life and holiness.

Please pray for Jesuits in formation through Bernardo’s intercession …