The Last Rites of Boromir

Boromir's departure

One of the most Catholic scenes in Lord of the Rings is the death of Boromir. Shortly after Boromir tried to take the ring from Frodo, the company becomes scattered and is attacked by hundreds of orcs. When the orcs attempt to take Merry and Pippin captive, Boromir defends them, killing at least 20 before he is felled by a barrage of arrows. The warrior collapses next to a tree and is soon found by Aragorn, dying from his wounds. Aragorn knelt beside him. Boromir opened his eyes and strove to speak. At last slow words came. ‘I tried to take the Ring from Frodo,’ he said. ‘I am sorry. I have paid.’ His glance strayed to his fallen enemies, twenty at least lay there. ‘They have gone: the … [Read more...]

Leprosy, Sin, and Quarantine: Lent as a time to restore communion

I mostly picked this picture because I didn't want to post a picture of leprosy.

When you ask someone for their favorite bible verse, people will often have widely varying answers. Some especially love the Psalms, some the Gospels, some the prophets, etc. But rarely will someone rattle off a passage from Leviticus. A book of the Law, Leviticus covers the extensive regulations that governed the Israelites and its pages can often seem irrelevant and overly judicial. And the passages on disease can sometimes be… well, gross. Yet it was one of these passages that the Church had has read this past Sunday, the Sunday before the beginning of Lent: Then the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, “When a man has on the skin of his body a swelling or a scab or a bright spot, … [Read more...]

“Let Us Keep the Fast?” What to do about Sundays during Lent.

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The observance of Lent is the very badge of the Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of the Cross of Christ. By it we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should mankind grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God’s glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, and of private woe.” -Pope Benedict XIV, "Non Ambigimus" A few years back, I heard a priest say during his homily that you should give up … [Read more...]

Gimli, Galadriel, and Guadalupe: An image of Our Lady in the Lady of Lothlorien

The gift Galadriel gave to Frodo was, in essence, star light.

One of the most profound and immediate changes in a character in The Lord of the Rings is the transformation of Gimli the dwarf. This development doesn’t occur because of an encounter with the One Ring or during any of the many battles in which Gimli fights. Instead, Gimli experiences a dramatic change of heart upon meeting the Lady of Lothlorien, Galadriel. Gimli son of Gloin is a brave and faithful dwarf who is firmly on the side of good and never wavers throughout the fellowship’s journey. But he is still a dwarf, a race with a long history of animosity with elves. This enmity nearly brings disaster on the ring bearer’s quest when the elves of Lothlorien require Gimli to wear a … [Read more...]

In defense of staying home

Dawn on Cadillac Trail.

About once a year, I see these custom maps making the rounds on Facebook. The ones that ask you which states or countries you’ve been to and then produce a colored-in map showing the extent of your travels. Sometimes it’s a world map and other times it’s one of the US. I look ok on paper when it comes to the world map. I’ve been to the Philippines plus over half a dozen countries in Europe. That’s respectable, I guess. My US map would look less impressive. I’ve been all over the deep south but have only strayed beyond those borders a few times. Wisconsin when I was younger, a music festival in rural Illinois (three times), two trips to New Mexico. But these maps can be … [Read more...]

Let folly be our cloak!

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‘Despair or folly?’ said Gandalf. ‘It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not. It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope. Well, let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the enemy! For he is very wise and weighs all things to a nicety in the scales of his malice. But the only measure that he knows is desire, desire for power; and so he judges all hearts. Into his heart the thought will not enter that any will refuse it, that having the Ring we may seek to destroy it. If we seek this, we shall put him out of reckoning.’ ‘At least for … [Read more...]

The Walking and the Resurrected Dead: Is Jesus Relevant after the Zombie Apocalypse?

Church scene from the first season of The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead isn’t really about zombies. I mean, there are definitely a lot of zombies on the show. But these “walking dead” mostly serve the purpose of creating a horrific and dangerous post-apocalyptic world. The question the show tries to answer is not “What’s the best way to deal with zombies?” but “How do humans behave when faced with horror and tragedy?” Zombies have long since ceased to be be the main threat on The Walking Dead. If anything, they serve to make the circumstances of the characters categorically different from the hardships faced by the viewer. For the most part, the show is set up in a way that the viewer is forced to admit that normal societal norms can’t … [Read more...]

Help Meets and Ebenezers

Michael Cain: A great Ebenezer, a terrible wife.

A funny thing going around the internet these days is this post about the 10 types of women Christian men shouldn’t marry. I’m not going to deal with all the craziness there. I just want to talk about one word; “helper.” This guy uses Genesis 2:18 to argue that women should have less authority than men because they are to be “helpers” to their husbands. In this passage, God says he will make a “suitable helper” for man (that’s how the NASB translates the phrase). Adam looks at all the animals and can’t find a suitable helper, so God builds him one. The King James Bible translates the words as “help meet.” The Hebrew words are ezer kenegdo (עֵזֶר כְּנֶגְדּ). Kenegdo means something … [Read more...]

Seed Catolog Season is here!

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I. Love. Seed catalogs. I just get so excited about EVERYTHING inside. I've ordered seeds from several companies over the years so I get lots of catalogs around this time of year. They start pouring in around the middle of December and it’s not too much of a stretch to say I’m just as excited about seed catalog season as I am about some of the other seasons… Se, here are some of my favorites: Baker Creek - This is easily my favorite seed catalog to look through. Excellent photography and literally thousands of rare and heirloom seeds from all over the globe. The family who runs the company is… kind of weird. I can’t tell if they’re some kind of vegan, Amish-wannabe cult. Or if they … [Read more...]