Dilemmas and Paradoxes

November 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

In exactly three weeks (3! Short! Weeks!) I can start playing Christmas carols non-stop.  This sweet anticipation is quite possibly the second-best feeling in the world, obviously following the feeling when I actually play them for the first time.  There’s always the choice of what kind of Christmas carol to listen to first.  Do I ease into the holiday spirit with the cheery warm-up standards like Jingle Bells and Sleigh Ride, maybe some Winter Wonderland?  Or do I dive right into the theological splendor and vibrant glory of the Christmas season with Oh Come, All Ye Faithful, and Angels We Have Heard On High?  It’s a beautiful dilemma!

I watched The Terminator for the first time ever with Harry yesterday and I was surprised by how much I liked it.  I’ve been reading so much fantasy lately that the time-travel plot line really got me hooked.  The paradoxes within time travel are so much fun to try- and usually fail- to wrap your mind around.  We were talking about it after the movie ended, and I said that maybe that’s why it’s never been hard for me to have faith, to love religion.  Because paradoxes and mysteries excite me, they lure me in, they’re so darn mysterious and cool.  I don’t need an explanation for everything.  Some people do, and we need those people too, the scientific and disbelieving ones.  Even Thomas had his role to play.  But it’s not my nature.  I think I prefer to wonder.  As Chesterton said: “The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.”
Switching topics, I will be boastful and say that I 100% called the Terminator getting squished in the ending.  It was totally apropos that his non-sapient brethren would enact the swift and violent retribution he so richly deserved.  (Ew that scene when Arnold popped his eye out was nasty though. I shuddered a bunch.)

Today is the 31st anniversary of ordination to the priesthood for a close family friend, Father Leo McKernan.  Fr. Leo is the priest who baptized me 28 years ago, and I wrote a little bit about that baptism two years ago in this post.  You should all stop what you’re doing right now and say a quick prayer that God continues to give him grace and wisdom.  Fr. Leo is an awesome priest, he’s humble and wise and the kind of person who always makes you feel at home, even if you haven’t talked to him in months.  He is truly a “good shepherd”.  Now that I think about it, I actually know a lot of wonderful priests: Father Nash, who counseled me during my breakup and afterwards, who helped me hold onto my faith even when it seemed so lost, and who always has a listening ear.  Father Langan, who showed me the beauty and grace of liturgical celebrations like Tenebrae, and the Holy Thursday procession, and who never minced his words, because sometimes a spade’s a spade and it needs to be called that.  Bishop Dougherty, who has a Mass at the Center every year for the feast of the Holy Family and whose homilies are always so chock-full of awesome that I want to copy them down.  And of course, the wonderful Pope Francis, who continues to inspire and confound and say things like this:

“But Jesus came for this very reason: to look for those who had strayed from the Lord”. These two parables – he said – “allow us to see what the heart of God is like. God does not stop, God does not go up to a certain point, God goes all the way, to the very limit, He always goes to the limit; He does not stop at the half way point on the journey of Salvation, as if to say ‘I did all I could, it’s their problem. He always goes, moves out, takes to the field”.

And this:

“Defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right” … “It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defense of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be.”

And this:

“A Christian is merciful by nature; this is the heart of the Gospel.”

I love that last quote so much.  Pray for Fr. Leo and all our priests!


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