Friday, May 27, 2005

Why Harry Potter is Catholic

Haha, talk about changing topics.

I've been arguing back and forth with someone about what we think is going to happen in the 6th book. (July 16th baby!!) She's convinced herself that Dumbledore is really evil. But I do not think this is possible. Much of this may be a stretch, but here we go...
Dumbledore/God Voldemort/Satan

The real contest in the novels is between Harry and Voldemort. Dumbledore, universally acknowledged as the most powerful wizard of the time, can take care of Voldemort any time. Voldemort knows he can't "win" against him, just as Satan knows he cannot "win" against God. The Death Eaters have no choice but to come when they're called, and to do V's bidding, because otherwise they will suffer grave consequences. Those enslaved by sin know this as well. They must keep up these habits, because otherwise they think they won't know who they are. And the further they are in the service of sin (and V) the more they are stuck in it and the more twisted they are because they enjoy it. Bellatrix Lestrange is one of the most frightening characters in the novel because she is the most faithful of V's followers. She is completely gone into his service. But even she feels fear of her "master". Oh, and of course, Voldemort is a serpent. 'Nuff said.

Dumbledore on the other hand seems to know all, is all-powerful, and all-good and protecting. He also doesn't always tell everyone what he's up to, he's rather mysterious if you will. ha. There is freedom in Dumbledore's service. There is protection from harm (Only loyalty to Dumbledore could call Fawkes to Harry when he faced the serpent) and patience (He does not force Harry to tell him what's on his mind even when he knows there's something: "Is there anything you wish to tell me?"). Before Dumbledore, there is awe and trembling, but not fear in the same way as Bellatrix would fear Vold.

In the 5th book, Dumbledore reminds Vold. that there is something worse than death, and that his not understanding that is his greatest weakness. Voldemort scoffs at this of course, but when
he enters Harry and tries to get Dum. to kill him, he is forced out of Harry by Harry's love for Sirius. Harry thinks he'd rather die than go through this pain that Voldemort's possession is causing, and he has a feeling of joy in dying if he'll see his godfather again. V couldn't stand this love and had to leave him.

I'm sure in the end it will be Harry's willingness to die for his friends that will destroy Voldemort. Now who does THAT remind us of??? ;)

Other little details
It is quite clear which family we like the most: the Weasleys! And they may be a bit poor, but they are happy, and they are a large family. No birth control here! 6 boys and 1 girl, all with flaming red hair. Mrs. Weasley is often pictured cooking and bustling around taking care of everyone. She is very motherly. Mr. Weasley obviously loves his family and is not concerned with "moving up" in his career as long as he can provide for what they need.
Family is so important in the books. Blood relations especially. There's the twisted version of this in the pureblood crazy families, but that does not lead to a devaluing of blood ties in the rest of the book. We learn that the reason Harry has to stay at Privet Drive is because his mother's blood, in his aunt, resides there. Who the person's parents are determines much of a kid's identity. In school, there is talk of whose parents- one or both- are Muggles. There are terrible insults for those who are Muggle-born. Even though he/she is away at school, these kids are not separate from their parents... they carry them with them.
Mundungus, who is part of the Order, is a crook, plain and simple. He even left guarding Harry to conduct a "business deal"- but he's included in the Order. He's a theif, yet has a good heart and is forgiven...even multiple times.
It is pointed out that how you treat those "inferior" to you determines your fate. Umbridge hates any part-humans, and is carried away by centaurs. Harry treated Dobby with respect, and Dobby has not ceased trying to help him, and at key moments he plays a part. Sirius hated and finally yelled "GET OUT!" at Kreacher, and that basically led to his death along the line. Dumbledore agreed with Hermione that they should treat Kreacher well. What you did for the least of these....
The most dangerous characteristic anyone can have in the book is pride- the first sin. We see it in Harry and want to yell at him. We see it in Fudge, in Umbridge, in Sirius and Snape. And we see it personified in Voldemort.
The power of the word is all over the place. The spells require words, said in a precise way. There's even a little warning about society and language. As my professor says, "Verbal engineering always precedes social engineering." We can abort a fetus because it's not a baby. If you lost the fight over the language, you lose period. Hermione points out that in their new textbook, the author argues that the counterjinx is improperly named, and is really just a way of making an excuse for a jinx. She disagrees. The Ministry is trying to control what the kids learn and what they call things. These subtle things are how bigger things start.
Ok this is getting ridiculous! Yes, I've thought too much about it and could even write more if I thought some more. I'm at work and bored as usual.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A Latin Wedding

Congratulations, Lydia and Will!

On Saturday, I attended a wedding that was done in the "old school" Tridentine Latin mass style. This was my first time going to one. The actual wedding took place before the mass began, with a nice, rich preface all about Christ and the Church and the couple and all. After the mass began, the altar rail was closed and the bride and groom were on the inside... a very cool detail. In fact, the ceremony was full of cool details, such as a concluding blessing on the bride, calling her a handmaiden (love that term) and praying for her to have qualities of our Jewish mothers Rachel, Rebecca, and Sarah.

I must say, I'm glad we changed the mass. I like knowing what's going on, and participating somewhat in what's transpiring. I like responding and praying with everyone else, and knowing when I'm standing and kneeling and what for. A lot of it was guessing and they did not do a great job explaining or handing out booklets to help us out. It definitely felt like you were not needed there-- which strictly speaking is true, but not absolute I think. I also love singing during the mass, and while I tried to sing with the scola the parts I recognized (Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) I was one of the only ones trying and you know what it's like being the only person in the congregation singing, especially when you're not 100% sure of the notes.

That being said, we have certainly lost something too... The mass had a mystery and a gravity to it that was beautiful and reminded you that God was really becoming Incarnate right there. He was definitely present, and it was like you were at a Holy Hour-- you had to concentrate on Him on your own, with the (great) help of the music.

The homily was excellent. The priest talked about how this day reached into the past and the future. God had known these two persons before they were even conceived, and He knew this day then. He kept emphasizing Trust God. No matter what happens, trust God. And his "practical" advice to them was to have patience with one another. They're human, after all. They will not become perfect in a day! Patience patience patience. The married couples at the reception agreed very much with his advice. (Who says priests can't counsel marriages?)

The small dinner was also nice, but I missed the dancing and goofy traditions that usually come with weddings. The cake was cut without ceremony, "Oh! Shoot, they're cutting it already!!", there was no dancing or music and there was no throwing of the bouquet. It was so different from what mine will be like. (Or I should say would probably be like, provided... you know what I mean...) My big Italian family alone would be more than the number of people there on Saturday. No, I don't know them all, but yes, they must allllll be invited. They're family! That's how it works. I'm so thankful for a family like that, I must say. I wish we were closer, I wish I knew them better, but I'm so glad that I know that I still have to invite distant third cousins twice removed [I'm exaggerating a bit] to my wedding if I have one. Because it's the only time we really see each other.
Weddings and funerals.
Beginnings and endings.
The front and the back.
(Oops- slipped into an Eddie from Ohio song there)
But really, the last time I saw many of my relatives was at my grandmother's funeral over a year ago. It was actually very nice... looking at old pictures, sharing stories, remembering her and her sisters who have all passed away now... women who kept the family together. We are a family of strong women. My (great-) aunts Betty and Therese never married (the war had a lot to do with this) but they were entirely focused on their family. Every 4th of July was a reunion at their house, and they spent days cooking for it. My mother says she doesn't know how Betty did it... but I have an inkling. She loved her family. She loved them enough to spend hours by the hot stove in the summer without air conditioning. She loved them as Mary must have loved hers, as she still loves us now. There were always so many people there. I never knew very many of them and my parents would sit around asking, "Ok, now who's that little one belong to??" and Therese would be like, "you know, Donna married Rocko, whose daughter Gina married Anthony..." and she would know all the connections. Likewise, on my father's side, we would spend part of Christmas at my great-grandfather's tiny little townhouse in Swissvale, PA where he lived and baked until the age of 89. Again, you could hardly move because of all the people and he and his daughter cooked for days. We always stopped before eating and the youngest great-grandchild (who could) would say grace. Oh it was wonderful. Sigh. It's so sad to me how these traditions have disappeared with that generation. I want them back! Can we get them back? Or is that a hopeless dream, now that the youngers have all moved to different parts of the country? I miss the chaos, getting lost in a sea of people but never afraid. That's probably why I think I want a bigger family. I'm sure there will be days where I will want quiet, but in the end, it's all about noise and chaos all the way, with God right there at the center. And lots of cooking :)
Last year at graduation, Kathleen's aunt hosted a party for the family. It wasn't even near all of them, but she has a huge family, and it was so much fun. (Mom is one of 6, dad one of 9, I think? K, correct me if that's wrong!) It reminded me of the days when I was little. My parents came with me, and they had a really wonderful time too. My dad admitted, "You know, when you're older, that's when it's nice to have had a big family." Of course it's much harder when they're younger and more demanding, but those sacrifices bear much fruit. I can tell already how much my mom wants grandchildren. But here we are, just me and my brother, and neither of us seem anywhere near that point.
Family is more important than we ever realize, unless we pay attention, because it's so obvious. So taken-for-granted. Deep thought of the day, right? And at the funeral, our (Idontknowhowwe'rerelatedbutmymomusedtobabysittheirchildren) said, "Well, when's the next time we'll see you? Maybe your wedding!" God willing... I sure hope the Lord fixes me up before all these lovely relatives get too sick or old to travel. They're getting there! Hurry! :)
John Paul the Great, pray for us!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Grad Ball 2005- Done!

Praise God, the graduation ball was last night, we survived, the band was incredible, and everyone seemed to have a good time.

Funniest, most ridiculous, most AMAZING display of stupidity or the fall:

I ordered the cake on Saturday. I wrote for the decorations to write, "Congratulations JPII Grads!" and said, (you can shorten to congrats if necessary). Picked it up at Costco yesterday morning, and there it is, a nice cake, that says "Congratulations JPII Grads! (You can shorter to congrats if necessary!)"

Are you kidding me?

I went up to one of the ladies in the bakery, in kind of a daze and on the verge of tears. "Excuse me? Um... Look. I obviously didn't want that written on the cake." She was not very nice, and said "There ain't nothin I can do 'bout that! Whatever you wrote on the sheet, that's what she wrote on the cake, and she ain't here now."

Cue the tears.

Ok, this is one thing that always annoyed me about my mom, and of course it has passed on to me. We cry. We can't help it, ok? I know it's not a big deal. I know it's HILARIOUS. And I was laughing really hard, but I was also crying. Because I wanted it to be nice for the 2nd years (last year, they MADE a wedding cake. 3 tiers, absolutely gorgeous. We went to costco, and this is what we ended up with??)

So there I am, standing in the bakery section of Costco, holding a cake and crying. Poor Drew (classmate and new daddy!) was there telling me it was fine, complaining about the work ethic of DC, how this would never happen in Colorado, etc. Then the other planner/shoppers there came over too, and just started laughing. Lots and lots of laughing. When the last girl arrived, she couldn't even breathe because she was laughing so hard. They showed the customer service lady, who also started laughing, and said she'd never seen anything like it, but there was really nothing they could do. It was just unbelievable. We decided to leave it that way, and joked about putting a sign that said, "Proof positive that Adam Smith was wrong."

So that's how the day began. It continued in very much the same way.

First, I broke one of my mother's bowls that she really likes.

Then, I was bringing one of the nice cakes over to the dessert table, tripped, and sent the cake sliding in the box, so that instead of a beautiful design of 4 white dollups with chocolate crumbs, they got a cake with a layer of whipped cream mixed with chocolate on top.

Hey humility! Where've you been all my life? I'm just thankful that it was our bowl, not anyone else's, and I didn't hurt anyone, and nothing was completely ruined. Humiliation without damage. That's fine with me.