Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Ark of the Covenant

So, first, my apologies. It has been awhile since last blog post, but in my defense, this was my first ever experience of Finals week. Now, to the point.
Something very interesing has happened to me over the past few weeks. Earlier this December, the 8th to be exact, I consecrated my life to our Blessed Mother. (Much thanks to St. Louis DeMontfort.) Ever since then, I have grown increasingly close to Christ in my devotion to her.
But then, today, after hearing our First Reading (2 Samuel 7: 1-5, 8-12, 14, 16) and the Gospel today (Luke 1:26-38), I realized the amazing connection between the Old and New Testament.
Having prayed the Psalms as part of the Liturgy of the Hours for four months now, I am growing increasingly more familiar with them and the overall theme of rescue. Salvation. Freedom from captivity. It's a common theme throughout Judaism, and for the Great Psalmist, it was the pinnacle of faith: to hope in salvation.
As Christians, we believe Jesus Christ to be the Messiah prophesied by early Judaism. Yet before Christ became the Messiah, something predated even that: Christ became man. The Incarnation. St. Gregory of Nazianzus once said of the Incarnation, "What is not assumed is not redeemed." Therefore, God had to become man in order to save man.
In Samuel, it speaks of how Samuel decides to build a temple for the Ark of the Covenant, containing the Mosaic Law (the Ten Commandments), the core of Jewish belief. In Luke, the angel Gabriel comes to the Virgin Mary and reveals to her that she will conceive the Messiah, Christ. Yet Mary is still aware of something we take for granted: choice.
Many people might consider conception to be an act of choice, their choice. And while it is one's choice to attempt conception, it is not for man to control by unnatural and immoral means. Yet Mary truly did have the choice; and she chose life.
By choosing to bear this life, she brought Christ into the world with her words, "Be it done unto me according to thy word." Thus, God was made man, and dwelt first in the womb of a woman, perhaps the most sacred and blessed realm possibly to be found in this Earthly life. The irony that it is this same sacred realm we so often violate is not lost upon me.
The womb of Mary became the New Ark of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ. Samuel wanted to build a temple made of treasure to be filled with treasure. God made a woman with a womb to bear an even greater treasure. I hope other women realize just how sacred and blessed they are for this magnificent, graceful gift, but I think all of us could afford to realize just a little more how very true those words of Elizabeth are, "Blessed are you among women."

Friday, December 9, 2011

Miles to Go

I recently decided that this blog shall also begin to introduce certain elements of art and literature to its readers. So, without further ado, I would like to introduce you to my favorite poem of all time.
"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"
by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Enjoy it.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Perfect Cure-All

So, been doing some studying here at college…nerd, I know…and I’ve learned some pretty interesting things so far.
-Cafeteria food is not actually that good.
-Fire drills: Not as fun as I thought they’d be.
-It rains on campus.
-Umbrellas don’t work when you forget them.
-Hygiene is overrated.
-This one’s still in the stage of a hypothesis, but do football players own any other clothes besides spirit wear stuffs? Seriously. I feel bad for them. Almost donated my pair of jeans to one of them…I’d be glad to get rid of them.
-Every one who ever wrote anything has a theory on life.

Seriously. All the philosophers have theories of life named after them. Marxist theory, Cartesian theory, Thomistic theory, Aristotelian (my theory, he wouldn’t have wanted his theory to have such a difficult spelling.)
Now, as we all know, I am quite a well-read and renowned philosopher too. All five of my followers are quite devout readers. (Note: said figure does not even include my mother.) So, it only makes sense for me to pose my theory on life too.
Life is difficult sometimes. (After all, “I’m only human, I get lonely sometimes.” Yes…I am listening to the Michael Jackson song from Free Willy, via the Boyce Avenue cover version …I’m also in the campus library…what else does one do in such a situation?) And each and every one of us has our method of coping; something to “cure” the struggles of life. It’s our “cure-all.”
Here are some famous examples:

Man: Ernest Hemingway
Cure-all: Alcohol
Personal Opinion: Unfortunate end. Not a fan. “Old Man and the Sea.” Everything else…meh…

Man: Kurt Cobain
Cure-all: Heroin
Personal Opinion: Again, unfortunate end. Too bad really.

Man: My grandfather
Cure-all: Hydrogen peroxide
Personal Opinion: It works. Put hydrogen peroxide on any external wound or cut, cures it right up. This is still my standard medical procedure. Cut open my hand while carving the other day…hydrogen peroxide. Burnt my hand…hydrogen peroxide. Burnt my tongue…hydrogen peroxide (yes, it tastes bad).

Man: My father
Cure-all: Starbursts
Personal Opinion: If you’re ever sad or angry in any way or you know some one in a bad mood, give them a Starburst. Works every time. I’ve never been sad or mad after eating a Starburst. It’s absolutely impossible.

Man: Me
Cure-all: Music
Personal Opinion: Well, obviously this one’s the best…just kidding. But seriously, I can (and almost always do) find a song or symphony number or aria or nursery rhyme for any situation, and I often recommend certain songs to friends to fit their situation.

So, what have we learned?
Some people use such things as alcohol, drugs, sex, or violence to cope with life. Doesn’t always end so well.
Other people use chemicals and candy, but both applied with great care (not as in caution, but as in love and affection…maybe some caution with the hydrogen peroxide). And these I have never known to fail me.
We fill our lives with things to console us and please us and help us as if life is some kind of illness or disease (note: life is not an illness, even before it sees the world.) Life is not a disease. Life is a gift.
But yes, it is difficult sometimes. There is no such thing as a gift without suffering. Gifts are made with love, and love is grounded in suffering. And so, while there is certainly nothing wrong with healthy cure-alls such as music, candy, or hydrogen peroxide, perhaps there is a better cure-all to our suffering in life? Perhaps That which makes all life? Perhaps Love Itself?
God should fill our lives.
God should fill and fulfill our lives.
The Perfect Cure-All.