Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Dance at Bougival

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Dance at Bougival

One half of the world ...

That is the case with us all, papa. One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.
Jane Austen, Emma
For example, that is the case with this very book. It is often called too long and boring with a disagreeable "heroine."

To be fair, Jane Austen wrote to someone that she was writing a heroine who no one would like but her. I do like Emma though. And I like her father also. Both are annoying in their habits, but when you've read about them long enough — especially the father — you begin to see how Austen is drawing them out for comic effect.

I've gotten to the point in rereading Emma that when the father begins his series of gentle objections on behalf of the comfort of others, I know I'm going to see comic genius in the way that others wriggle out of his proposals.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A Little Bit of Flannery ... and her sense of humor

How can you not grow to like someone who tells a story like this with such humor? From The Habit of Being.
... Dear old Van Wyke insisted that I read a story at which horror-stricken looks appeared on the faces of both Caroline and Sue. "Read the shortest one!" they both screamed. I read "A Good Man is Hard to Find" and Mr. Brooks later remarked to Miss Jenkins that it was a shame someone with so much talent should look upon life as a horror story. Malcolm was very polite and asked me if I had a wooden leg.

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (A Match Made By God)

Surinder Sahni is a mild-mannered office worker who loves from afar his former professor's daughter, the beautiful and vivacious Taani. When tragedy strikes, the professor arranges their marriage. Fighting loneliness in her new home, Taani enters a dance class/competition. Surinder disguises himself to watch her when fate steps in and he becomes her partner as the brash Raj. It's all fun until he realizes Taani is falling in love with Raj. He's losing his wife ... to himself!

We watched this on Sunday evening after helping present the Beyond Cana marriage retreat for three days.

All we expected was a romantic comedy with India's top star playing a double role as a nerd and an obnoxious "cool" dancer. It was a solid comedy and a funny, sweet look at true love. But it delivered a lot more.
  • Not knowing the translation of the title, we were surprised to find the strong theme of “seeing God in your beloved.”

  • I certainly didn't expect to find an overwhelming example of covenantal love when Suri humbly doesn't expect anything in return for his love.

  • Also, "Jodi" means "pair." So the subtitle is: "There is an extraordinary love story in every ordinary couple."
So it was all amazingly appropriate considering our marriage retreat mindset of the moment! Plus, this is possibly Shah Rukh Khan's most charming role. And I'll admit it — I came to see King Khan. It was super entertaining!

Rating — Introduction to Bollywood (come on in, the water's fine!)

Monday, February 18, 2019

Hannah & Rose discuss conquering new realms, maintaining orc-human relations ...

... and the benefits to discovering carrier pigeon technology before you go to war as they watch Warcraft (2016).

You know what's great when you've just spent the weekend presenting a retreat? To come home and discover there is a new episode of More is More waiting. Hannah and Rose talk about a truly terrible movie. Luckily, they are not terrible at doing it!

When we have been wounded by the Church ...

When we have been wounded by the Church, our temptation is to reject it. But when we reject the Church it becomes very hard for us to keep in touch with the living Christ. When we say, “I love Jesus, but I hate the Church,” we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too. The challenge is to forgive the Church. This challenge is especially great because the Church seldom asks us for forgiveness, at least not officially. But the Church as an often fallible human organization needs our forgiveness, while the Church as the living Christ among us continues to offer us forgiveness.

It is important to think about the Church not as “over there” but as a community of struggling, weak people of whom we are part and in whom we meet our Lord and Redeemer.
Henri Nouwen

Bull Dog

From Blue Sky Search which has pages and pages of these fascinating labels.

Thank you for the prayers

The Beyond Cana retreat went really well, with eleven couples refreshed and renewed in their marriages. As well, we always experience many blessings while we are helping put the retreat on and this time was no exception.

Our thanks to everyone who supported us in prayer!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Holy Martyrs of Libya, pray for us

21 Martyrs of Libya
by Tony Rezk (with permission)
(See more about this icon below)
The martyrs of Libya are the 21 young men who withstood imprisonment by ISIS for 40 days and then were murdered when they refused to renounce Jesus Christ.

They died with Jesus' name on their lips, saying "Jesus help us" and "My Lord Jesus."

They were martyred on this day in 2015.
The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ. As we recall these brothers who died only because they confessed Christ, I ask that we encourage each another to go forward with this ecumenism which is giving us strength, the ecumenism of blood. The martyrs belong to all Christians.
In these uncertain times, I am strengthened by their witness, faithful unto death. I pray that I may likewise bear faithful witness in whatever circumstances I find myself.

Let us pray for those persecuted for their faith, for the persecutors to recognize the truth they strive to silence, and that we will be as faithful our love and witness.

Holy martyrs, pray for us and for the whole world. Amen.
+Milad Makeen Zaky
+Abanub Ayad Atiya
+Maged Solaimain Shehata
+Yusuf Shukry Yunan
+Kirollos Shokry Fawzy
+Bishoy Astafanus Kamel
+Somaily Astafanus Kamel
+Malak Ibrahim Sinweet
+Tawadros Yusuf Tawadros
+Girgis Milad Sinweet
+Mina Fayez Aziz
+Hany Abdelmesih Salib
+Bishoy Adel Khalaf
+Samuel Alham Wilson
+Ezat Bishri Naseef
+Loqa Nagaty
+Gaber Munir Adly
+Esam Badir Samir
+Malak Farag Abram
+Sameh Salah Faruq
+Matthew Ayairga, originally non-Christian, who was captured with the others and witnessed their faith. When terrorists asked if he rejected Jesus, despite knowing he would be killed, he said, "Their God is my God."

21 Martyrs of Libya icon

I discovered this icon at New Liturgical Movement which shared insights about the symbolism, always important for any icon.
[Matthew Ayairga is] represented here in the middle of the group. Note also that the rest of them are shown with the same face as Jesus, whose Holy Name they spoke as they were killed; the sea behind them is shown reddened by their blood. The red stoles and crowns above them symbolize their martyrdom; the stoles are arranged like those of Coptic deacons during the liturgy. ... The red stoles worn by Christ and the martyrs symbolize the cross identifying them as Christlike Cross bearers, (staurophoroi).
Here is an interview with Tony Rezk where he talks about his faith and the Coptic Church.

Holy Martyrs of Libya icon

Holy Martyrs of Libya
by Nikola Sarić (with permission)
Notice how the waves of the sea stained with the martyrs’ blood are shown around the edge of the image; Matthew Arayiga is distinct among the group on the top right. The men were killed wearing orange prisoners’ jumpsuits; all them are looking at Christ except for the one at the bottom, who is looking out at us.

Gone Retreatin'

As regular readers know, Tom and I have been part of the Beyond Cana retreat team for about 12 years. Ever since it has begun at our parish, actually.
The Beyond Cana® marriage retreat offers the time and tools to restore and strengthen marriages - with God and His direction for us at the center.

It's a 2½ day retreat designed to enrich the marriages of couples who want to focus on the communication, respect, love, and intimacy that are so integral to a good marriage.
It is presented twice a year and it's that time again! Please keep the team and the attending couples in your prayers. I'll be back on Monday!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Something Romantic for Valentine's Day

This was shot in Iceland, starring one of Bollywood's most famous pairs for romantic movies - Shah Rukh Kahn and Kajol. It is breathtakingly beautiful (I love those scarves) and it even has a translation so you can get all the nuances!

When we watched the movie, the translation was "color me the color of saffron" which I took to be the symbolic color of love. One of the things I love about Indian culture is the symbolism color holds (in the same way that I love the Catholic liturgical color symbolism — it adds depth to everything). It turns out that "gerua" actually is an old fashioned term for a color. From Quora:
I have heard this colour described so many different ways....reddish pink, yellowish red, saffron, orange--it seems that every media outlet has taken a shot at what the actual meaning of "gerua" is.

When producers were first explaining it and talking about the writing of the song "Gerua", they talked about the ambivalence of opinion on this particular colour and that that was one of the things they liked. The word "gerua" is actual a very old word which was (until Dilwale) almost lost to common use. SRK himself said he like the idea that it was an old-fashioned word because it fit with the film.

The best explanation I have seen is that the colour in Kajol's dupatta when she and SRK are on top of the deserted plane is the colour of "gerua".
Happy Valentine's Day!

They have invented a phrase — ‘free-love’ — as if a lover ever had been, or ever could be, free.

The revolt against vows has been carried in our day even to the extent of a revolt against the typical vow of marriage. It is most amusing to listen to the opponents of marriage on this subject. They appear to imagine that the ideal of constancy was a yoke mysteriously imposed on mankind by the devil, instead of being, as it is, a yoke consistently imposed by all lovers on themselves. They have invented a phrase, a phrase that is a black and white contradiction in two words — ‘free-love’ — as if a lover ever had been, or ever could be, free. It is the nature of love to bind itself, and the institution of marriage merely paid the average man the compliment of taking him at his word. Modern sages offer to the lover, with an ill-favoured grin, the largest liberties and the fullest irresponsibility; but they do not respect him as the old Church respected him; they do not write his oath upon the heavens, as the record of his highest moment. They give him every liberty except the liberty to sell his liberty, which is the only one that he wants.
G. K. Chesterton, A Defence of Rash Vows

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

I had mistaken being spoiled for being strong

But then I had long mistaken being spoiled for being strong, being defiant for being independent, being reckless for being brave.
Tami Hoag, Dark Horse
Is this because we lack the proper role models, the proper grounding in something larger than our popular culture? I haven't read this book but this quote seems insightful.

Bridge on the Seine

Edward Hopper, Bridge on the Seine
via WikiArt
I love Hopper. I love Paris. I love bridges. Now we know why this painting is here today.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Bang Bang! Delightful Cotton Candy.

A chance encounter of the unassuming bank receptionist Harleen Sahni with the charming yet mysterious Rajveer Nanda, results in an on-rush of ditched planes, car chases, shoot-outs, bombing raids and general global mayhem. But as the transcontinental chase ensues with Rajveer convincing Harleen that he’s the good guy, can she really trust him, and will trust matter when the bullets start flying?
A light, frothy take on a Tom Cruise movie (Knight and Day) with, of course, delightful dancing and pushing the envelope with a lingering kiss (gasp!). Lots of mindless fun. I never saw Knight and Day, but Rose did and she says this is much superior.

Rating — Introduction to Bollywood (come on in, the water's fine!)

Here's my favorite dance number (and everyone else's — 75 million views) from the film. Because no one dances quite like Hrithik Roshan.

In the world it is called Tolerance

In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair ... the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.
Dorothy L. Sayers


Anders Zorn, Sommarnöje, 1886

Just before recording this podcast, Scott broke into Julie's house ...

... and replaced all the artwork with velvet paintings of dogs playing poker. Their special guest Marc may or may not have been appalled.

Episode 200(!) of A Good Story is Hard to Find — our subject is Kurt Vonnegut's Bluebeard.