Motherless by Brian J. Gail

Motherless, the sequel to Fatherless, opens about 20 years after the original book.  Again readers join Father Sweeney in his parish life during the time surrounding the 2008 elections.  While Fatherless focused on modern society’s loss of stable father figures, Motherless approaches the loss of mothers.  Gail does not shy away from discussing the demons plaguing our society, including contraceptives, abortion and in vitro fertilization.  Through three main storylines the reader is able to see real world examples of these demons. At times bouncing through the three story lines can be confusing, but after a few chapters they all start to make sense.

Some may ask if this book is preachy, yes it is, but that is its goal and it does succeed without ruining the story.  At times it feels pushed but most of the times the discussions that come up make sense in the circumstances, such as in a Theology on Tap meeting.  If one can learn how to accept a book that preaches it is an amazing read. While the book is both long, just over 500 pages, and spiritually deep, it is an interesting read that draws the reader in and doesn’t let them go until they finish. While Fatherless may have been hard for the younger generation to enjoy, Motherless is the book for the children of the 1980’s and early 1990’s. It approaches the issues that are being dealt with now, and we will have to deal with as we begin to marry and begin families.  I recommend this for all those 18 and over, and hope you add it to your Christmas list.

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A History of the Soviet Union

Need I say more?

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Chivalrous Romance

An essay written by my friend Mr. Smith on the nature of Chivalrous romance within Sir Walter Scott’s historical adventure, “Ivanhoe.”  It provides some interesting analysis on the nature of Ivanhoe’s character. Enjoy!

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Did Ivanhoe Marry the Right Woman?

This essay will hopefully address the question of whether Wilfred of Ivanhoe, the main character of Sir Walter Scott’s book, Ivanhoe, married the right woman. The two main characters that were women in the book were Rebecca, the kind healer daughter of the rich Jew, Isaac, and Rowena, the beautiful and caring princess of the Saxons living in England. Both women loved Ivanhoe, and at the end of the book, he does the seemingly inevitable and marries Rowena, binding his race together even more fully in England.

Now, in the book, Ivanhoe has been gone a long time fighting the Muslims in Palestine and the surrounding areas; his father, Cedric, is the caretaker of Rowena, so Ivanhoe knew Rowena when he was younger, and it is quite often hinted at and alluded to that Rowena and Ivanhoe were very much in love and cared for each other very deeply; this is evidenced by the fact that Rowena was eager to try and find out whether or not Ivanhoe was alright, and whether he would be returning soon. She seems to be a very caring and kind girl, who seems to truly want the best for Ivanhoe; their relationship in the book certainly is a wonderful example of the chivalrous love of knight and lady from the Middle Ages (something which this generation of people would do well to adopt, as there is so much unnecessary hurt in people’s relationships, especially due to a lack of true love, purity, and truly caring for each and wanting the best for them). Another example of how much Rowena cared about Ivanhoe was when the marauder De Bracy tried to make her his wife, and to stop her love for Ivanhoe, he tried to lie and Continue reading

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Ask the Master – Dating

Posted in AirMaria, Books, Catholic Church, Catholic Discussion, Chivalry, Christ, Christianity, Life, Love, Personal Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Dark Knight of the Soul

Batmanblog It seems there is an underlying condemnation among several Christian groups for Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight.” The condemnations tend to focus on the sinister aspect of the Joker’s character, as well as how dark, gritty, and violent the film is for the super-hero genre. This if course is a valid argument in some circumstances, but considering the nature of Quentin Tarentino’s ‘Inglorious Basterds’ and the violence perpetrated in that film, ‘The Dark Knight’s violent content by far falls into place as acceptable to the story-telling. One must remember that it is the evil side which is violent, while good is pitted against this violence and destruction.

I am in no way condoning violence in movies, but the above statement has reference to the rest of this post. My title in particular reflects the nature of this article, as I wish to extract particular elements of Christopher Nolan’s film, and expose the spiritual metaphors that are so tightly interwoven within the film’s narrative.

The Dark Knight of the Soul is a pun in reference to the Catholic term of “The Dark Night of the Soul.” Where a holy individual is put to the utmost test of perseverance, where the fine line between hope and despair is tread daringly. In context with this note, I will begin on my brief analysis.

The Dark Knight

Gotham’s ‘Dark Knight’ is none other than Batman. A caped vigilante working for justice by night within the streets of the city. He is called the “Dark Knight” for his war against crime, waged through an entourage of fear and cunning, going unnamed and unrewarded as the city’s hero. What is even more striking about this hero’s title, is the very spiritual nature it encompasses. The Dark Knight.

Being of the school of thought based upon Marian Chivalry and Franciscan Spirituality, being a dark knight isn’t so far fetched. While we prefer to go by the title of “Knights of Christ;” in very essence, we are ‘dark’ knights. (Outside of the stereotypical ‘dark is evil’).  We strive to do the right thing, practicing virtue in the utmost of circumstances, ensuring that Christ’s light shines through us. We ourselves do not take the glory of heroic virtue for ourselves, but attribute it to Christ.

In Nolan’s film, Batman’s character acts very similarly. He is put to the test by the wiles of the Joker. Our hero questions the very moral nature of heroism itself. When the world around you comes crashing down and cries out for you to hand in the towel, do you comply? Or do you Continue reading

Posted in Catholic Church, Catholic Discussion, Chivalry, Christ, Christianity, Crusades, Knights of Lepanto, Life, Movie Reviews, Movies, My Life, Personal Commentary, Religion, Spirituality, Theology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Where Conservatism Goes Wrong

I have to say that my inspiration for this post comes after much intellectual deliberation and reflection, especially on the topic of America’s current dilemma.  We have the most radically liberal President in the History of the United States; one who is imposing socialistic health care, as well as federal funding for abortion.  He is increasing the deficit, and more or less sealing America’s fate in a further economic collapse.

In response to this administration’s actions, there has been a sudden rebirth in American conservatism. One that might be applauded in the overall circumstance.  Talk hosts such as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity are pretty much on the point when discussing the issues with the liberal agenda being forced upon America.  They know their argument well, but all in all there is something lacking from the essential life of this new found conservatism.  That is, Christ.

Certainly, there are many varying Christian groups which are participating in this new movement. But what essentially is missing is the core idenitity of Christianity.  I find that many conservatives hold dearly to their Freedom of Religion, and seem to hold the Constitution even dearer.

I find myself a bit worried, especially now that Limbaugh, Beck, and even Laura Bush have come out in support of ‘Gay Unions.’  They’ll defend their stance sayings that they would only give rights, and not marriage; but what does this make them? If conservatives can’t even stand strong on the principles of Christian Morality (what is sin and not sin,) how can we ever expect our Nation to hold itself together? Most importantly, when secular laws are held in place by the natural moral law of God.

I’m not trying to lash out against any conservatives in this ‘blurb.’ But stop and think.  I find it great that the Tea Party movement is working to vote in Constitution observing politicians, but how can we claim to be united in “American” fellowship if we can’t even agree on a common morality?

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Top Soundtracks – Master Xavier’s Favorites

Well this has been on my mind for a bit, so I’ve decided to a do a sort of review for my top 10 favorite soundtracks.  Most of you know me well enough, so you can account for my geekdom when it comes to my music choices.  Where oh where to begin?  Hmm  I can’t quite place a direct order of sequence on these, so let’s begin with:

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Master and Commander has been a favorite of mine for quite a while. The film itself was in competition for the best picture award of 2004, and the soundtrack has the potential of a classical masterpiece. Incorporating individual scoring with actual historical pieces, the soundtrack radiates with the feel of an early 19th Century English Ship-of-War.  I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys classical music, with a pretty and adventurous twist to it.

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