Bloggerhood Etc. 1/5/15

2015 rollover

Via Google Image Search

Happy New Year! Here’s the best of the week from around the blogosphere.

Best News.Pope Francis Is Trying to Rally 1.2 Billion Catholics to Help Avert a Global Disaster” by Tom McKay at World Mic.

Best Advice.Counting Gifts Instead of Problems” by Abby McDonald, guest-posting at Purposeful Faith.

Geekiest Post.Who Would Win and All-Out Battle: Star Wars or Star Trek?” by Rom Lokken at Gizmodo.

Best Theological Post.Why it Matters That the Bible Was Written by Human Beings” by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry at Inebriate Me.

Best Parenting Post.A Tale of 2 Elsa-Themed Birthday Parties” by Jennie Sutherland at Huff Post Parents.

Best Question.Is Depression a Kind of Allergic Reaction?” by Caroline Williams in The Guardian.

Best What If?The Alternate Histories of Mario Cuomo” by Russell Berman in The Atlantic.

Best Infographic.‘Let it Go’ with Phonetically Accurate Lyrics” by Andy Herald at How to be a Dad.

Best Commentary.The NYPD’s ‘Work Stoppage’ is Surreal” by Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone.

Best Reflection.Hail Mary: You Have More in Common with the Mother of Jesus than You Think” by James Martin at Slate.

Best Story.The Most Important Cardboard Box Ever?” by Stephen Dowling at BBC News Magazine.

Best Bad Idea.Nothing Gold Can Stay: In Pursuit of the Best Sports Account on Twitter” by Jon Bois at SBNation.

Best Confession.I Am Lord Business” by Buzz Bishop at DadCamp.

Best Video.The Teleporter” by Glove and Boots (via YouTube).

“Yep. The blog’s ruined.”

Quote

Gloria In Excelsis Deo!

Angel with Gloria banner.

The Song of Bethlehem by J.R. Clayton (1901)

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirin’i-us was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2: 1-20—RSV)

Merry Christmas!

Bloggerhood Etc. 12/8/14

all houses matter

Best Cartoon. “All Houses Matter” by Chainsawsuit.com.

Best Commentary. “‘This Stops Today’: Eric Garner and Police Accountability” by Mollie Wilson O’Reilly in Commomweal.

Best Letter.To My Future Son With Thoughts of Ferguson” by Amena Brown Owen at A Deeper Story.

Best Reality Check.Being a Cop Showed Me Just How Racist and Violent the Police Are” by Redditt Hudson at The Washington Post.

Most Honest.Just Another Straight White Chick in The Burbs” by Andee Zomerman at Nature of a Servant.

Most Hopeful.What if We’re Supposed to *Be* the Good News We’re So Desperate for When it Comes to Race Relations in America?” by Lisa-Jo Baker.

Best Guest Post.Through the Door” by Cara Strickland at The Hope Diaries.

Best Special Needs Post.He Has What?” by Patty Meyers at Not Alone.

Best Songlist.The Top 5 Most Moving Christmas Songs I Listen To” by Benjamin L. Corey at Formerly Fundie.

Best Photoblog.The Motions of Kayaking and Canoeing,” photos by Stephen Orlando, posted by Christopher Jobson at Colossal.

Best Tech Post.The Holidays Are Here. Which Apps Will You Share With the Children in Your Life?” by Julie M. Wood and Nicole Ponsford at Harvard Family Research Project.

Most Reassuring.Why the Immaculate Conception makes Protestants squirm {and why it doesn’t have to!}” by Elizabeth Esther.

Best Video.Hallelujah” by Peter Hollens, featuring Jackie Evancho (via YouTube).

Gallery

Anna’s Grotto Gallery

A reproduction of Michelangelo's Pieta in the Meditation Chapel

A reproduction of Michelangelo’s Pieta in the Meditation Chapel.

Each day, I’m posting pictures and stories from our vacation. Today I share a few of Anna’s photos from The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother (aka “The Grotto”) in Portland along with some short prayers.

Continue reading

Every Icon Tells a Story

St. Joseph Icon

An icon of the life of St. Joseph. Reading from left to right and top to bottom …

  • Betrothal of Mary and Joseph (Matthew 1:18b).
  • An angel visits Joseph in a dream (Matthew 1:20-21).
  • Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem (Luke 2:4-5).
  • The birth of Jesus (Luke 2:6-8).
  • The visit of the Magi (Matthew 2:11).
  • The Presentation at the Temple (Luke 2:22-35).
  • The flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:14-15).
  • The finding in the Temple (Luke 2:46-50).
  • Jesus grows “in wisdom and stature” (Luke 2:52).
  • Joseph dies a happy death (Holy Tradition*).
  • Joseph is welcomed into Abraham’s bosom (Holy Tradition*).

*Implied in scripture by Joseph’s absence during Jesus’ ministry and his faith in God.

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Mary, May, and Mothers’ Day

Icon of the Virgin and Child surrounded by flowers

The Virgin of Zirovitskaya (Reproduction by HolyTrinityStore.com)

“The May Magnificat” by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

May is Mary’s month, and I
Muse at that and wonder why:
Her feasts follow reason,
Dated due to season—

Candlemas, Lady Day;
But the Lady Month, May,
Why fasten that upon her,
With a feasting in her honour?

Is it only its being brighter
Than the most are must delight her?
Is it opportunist
And flowers finds soonest?

Ask of her, the mighty mother:
Her reply puts this other
Question : What is Spring?—
Growth in every thing—

Flesh and fleece, fur and feather,
Grass and greenworld all together;
Star-eyed strawberry-breasted
Throstle above her nested

Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin
Forms and warms the life within;
And bird and blossom swell
In sod or sheath or shell.

All things rising, all things sizing
Mary sees, sympathizing
With that world of good
Nature’s motherhood.

Their magnifying of each its kind
With delight calls to mind
How she did in her stored
Magnify the Lord.

Well but there was more than this:
Spring’s universal bliss
Much, had much to say
To offering Mary May.

When drop-of-blood-and-foam-dapple
Bloom lights the orchard-apple
And thicket and thorp are merry
With silver-surfèd cherry

And azuring-over greybell makes
Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes
And magic cuckoocall
Caps, clears, and clinches all—

This ecstasy all through mothering earth
Tells Mary her mirth till Christ’s birth
To remember and exultation
In God who was her salvation.

May God bless all mothers today and every day. Amen.

It’s Easy to Forget

Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem

Detail from the left panel of the Potinari Altarpiece, Hugo van der Goes (c. 1440- 82)

The Virgin, weighed with the Word of God, comes down the road: if only you will shelter her. —St. John of the Cross

I was looking for something to write about St. John of the Cross when I stumbled across this quote, taken—in all probability—from a longer Advent hymn he composed for his fellow friars. It is the perfect mindset to hold as we journey metaphorically toward Bethlehem.

It’s easy to forget in a secular season so given over to consumption, just how poor the Virgin Mary and her husband Joseph were when they travelled to Bethlehem, or how destitute the setting was for the birth of the King of Kings. He wasn’t born in a palace, or, as most of us are today, in a hospital. He wasn’t even born at home, like almost everyone was in his time. He was born in a stable that according to Orthodox tradition was really a cave used to bed livestock. Even the humble little wooden barn found in most modern nativity sets is a step up from Jesus’ birthplace.

It’s easy to forget that there are still many people in the world as poor as the Holy Family were, and even in our own country some people whose relative poverty—campared to the surronding society—at least matches theirs. Homeless families that wander our streets daily seeking shelter.

It’s easy to forget, when most of us are struggling to make ends meet with a little left over to give our kids a Christmas they can enjoy, that some families can’t manage much more than to keep their kids fed, and sometimes have to skip a meal themselves to do so.

It’s easy to forget, but I’m trying to remember.

Today’s Advent selection is also based on the words of St. John of the Cross (via YouTube):

December 14

 Advent calendar graphics by Oh My Gluestick. They are intended for personal use only and may not be used commercially.