Saturday, October 31, 2009

OREGON: 47, USC: 20

Ducks are now undefeated in the Pac-10, with four games to go. They absolutely manhandled the Trojans in the second half.

Autzen Stadium was so loud, I couldn't hear the announcers (not always a bad thing!).

Jeremiah Masoli was incredible. He ran for over 150 yards. He's the quarterback--they don't usually run!

And, BTW, the Obama "hand signal"? They ripped that off from the Oregon fans.

They shut up the USC band, too.

USC Needs To Learn New Fight Songs...

"Ode To Troy" and "Victory" are obnoxious no matter where USC is playing.

Although I think it's pretty funny that they've co-opted "All Right Now" which is what Stanford uses as their fight song.

The only two private universities in the Pac-10--you think they could afford to buy a wider variety of music. :)

Go Ducks!

(Cal beat Arizona State--barely. But I'll take the win.)

Book Review: Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of the Civilization of Love

Just in time for her feast day, December 12, this book by Carl Anderson and Fr. Eduardo Chavez documents the visitation of Our Lady to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin on Tepeyac. Anderson and Chavez recount the visitation using several sources, including the testimony of Juan Diego himself as well as his contemporaries.

I knew the outlines of the story but I didn't realize how the Virgin spoke to Juan Diego in his native language, using phrases and endearments that he would recognize. And, as she did later at Lourdes and Fatima, she chooses her messenger from among the lowest caste.

In fact Juan Diego protests that there are others who would be better suited to deliver her request for a church to Friar Zumarraga, the bishop-elect of Mexico. But the Virgin insists and Juan Diego obeys. Fr. Zumarraga's staff stonewalls Juan Diego and later lies about his actions, but he delivers the Virgin"s message and later the proof Fr. Zumarraga demands: flowers wrapped in his tilma. And the incredible image we know as Our Lady of Guadalupe.

An incredible image it is, too. Anderson & Chavez write about the scientific examinations the tilma has undergone over the centuries, how this simple garment has withstood deterioration, the lack of damage from acid and bombs. They also reveal the complex symbolism of the painting, incorporating images recognized by the Spanish and by the native population, including the fact that Our Lady is a mestiza: a mixture of Spanish and native. I found this section quite interesting and wish I had known more about it when the authorized reproduction of Our Lady of Guadalupe visited my parish several years ago. In fact, my one complaint is the lack of color illustrations in this section of the book.

Anderson & Chavez spend a lot of time on the historical events at the time of the Apparition (1531), both in Europe as well as the New World, further clarifying the extraordinary power of the apparition and why Our Lady of Guadalupe is so highly honored in the Americas, including the United States and Canada. And explaining, as well, the significance of Mary to the Catholic Church.

The final section discusses the hope the Virgin brings to us because she carries her Son with her always. She directs our attention to Him and models for us the behavior of a true believer. To quote from the book, "...she is the spiritual mother we all share, perfectly enculturated, a symbol of the "catholic" aspect of a Church where all are full members and all are welcome as equal heirs to the kingdom of God." We share Mary as our Mother and with her help, we are called to bridge the gap between cultures and countries.

The Appendices include The Nican Mopohua, the earliest written record of the apparition, as well as a Chronology, prayers, and a bibliography. There are extensive footnotes.

Carl Anderson is the Chief Executive Office and Chairman of the Board of the Knights of Columbus. Fr. Eduardo Chavez is an expert on the Guadalupe apparitions and was the postular of St. Juan Diego's cause for sainthood.

The book is well-written in language for the layman. Canonical and theological terms are explained without slowing down the narrative.

FTC Disclaimer: I received an uncorrected proof copy of this book for review from The Catholic Company

On the March Hare scale: 4 out of 5 Golden Bookmarks

This review was written as part of The Catholic Company product reviewer program. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civiliation of Love.

crossposted at Catholic Media Review

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Please Pray for..

...the repose of the soul of Aaron, who passed away Saturday night from complications of juvenile diabetes. Aaron would have been 26 years old next month.

And pray for his family. Their life has been full of challenges lately; Aaron's death is just the latest one.

Aaron is the same age as DS#1; in fact, they went through First Communion classes together, Confirmation, and high school. One of my earliest, and favorite, memories of Aaron is from that First Communion class. Our parish had decided that parents needed to be more involved in the religious education of their children, so all First Communion families had to participate in classes held on Sundays after 9:00 a.m. Mass. You can imagine how well-behaved the boys were during the 90 minute class (taught by their parents) after an hour in Church!

The "activities" in the program consisted mostly of punching out paper figures and re-enacting the lesson. One of the early lessons was the parable of the Good Shepherd. There were three boys in the class: Aaron, DS#1, and one other. They punched out their paper dolls of Jesus and the Lost Sheep and then gave one of the more sacrilegious renditions of the parable I have ever seen: three paper Jesus figures "fighting" over the three identical lost sheep.

We broke it up, trying hard not to laugh.

Aaron was always polite to me and hugged me whenever we saw each other at Mass. He always had a smile and a laugh--and he usually made me laugh, too, when I wasn't shaking my head. I'm going to miss seeing him around.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Catching Up

Update: "EIT" stands for "Engineer in Training." It's the first step in becoming a licensed engineer, not the exam for grad school. If DS#1 passes his EIT, the next step would be working for three or four years, then taking the exam for his Professional Engineering exam.

Another step taken towards full-fledged adulthood! :)

Good News: I’ve finished the worst of the chemo. I am now receiving Herceptin only, which takes 90 minutes, does not require a slew of additional medications to prevent side effects, targets a specific protein on the cancer cells so it does not randomly attack all fast-growing cells in my body, and whose only side-effect is congestive heart failure, for which I am tested every three months. Radiation treatment starts in November—25 treatments, which means every weekday for five weeks. But then treatment will be mostly done.

More Good News: my hair is growing back. I have enough hair on my head to brush, I have eyelashes (albeit short and still a bit thin), and I can feel my eyebrows. I am getting much better at drawing in my brows, so them I don’t miss so much.

Great News: DD#1 is safely ensconced at UC San Diego. She gets along with her roommate, who is another redhead. (Really—six girls in the suite and the two redheads are sharing a bedroom.) Her suitemates are pretty quiet. The color scheme happens to be orange & green, which are DD#1’s favorite colors. The other color scheme is bright yellow and turquoise. UCSD was founded in 1960 and, even though this dorm is brand new—these are the first students to live there—Housing went with a retro theme.

More Great News: DS#1 has his Senior Project. Now all he has to do is complete it successfully and write it up. It has to do with moving million dollar satellites across a warehouse without damage. While I have every confidence in my son, the idea that someone would entrust an expensive piece of equipment to him is rather mind-boggling. Proof, I guess, that he is now a grown-up. And he’s studying for his graduate school exam. (He’s studying! For his grad school exam! In Engineering! Music to my ears as there once was a time I wasn’t sure he’d make it through high school.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch: So now we are four. Three-and-a-half, really, as DS#2 is a freshman in college. Although he’s living at home, he has his own wheels, which means I’m never quite sure where he is. Or will be. As long as his cell phone is charged—and as long as he depends on Hubs and I for gas money—we know we can find him.

DD#2 is now in the unique (for her) position of not being defined as someone’s younger sister. Big Brother has graduated along with his friends, so she is really on her own as far as clubs and activities. However, she doesn’t drive, so I get 20 minutes or so with her each morning and Hubs gets the same in the afternoon. I enjoy my time with her: We talk about her classes, about current events, I share family stories, and, occasionally, what she wants to do after High School. I try not to push and not to nag, but I am her mother, after all, so I receive my share of exasperated looks.

And there are evenings and afternoons where it’s just Hubs and I. We look at each other with amazement. Just the two of us. We can watch what we want on TV. We can go to the movies without worrying about babysitters. We can be spontaneous—if we’re not too tired. But he needs a hobby, something other than me because that will drive me crazy. (I kind of miss those weekends when he was off playing with the Scouts.)