My dad and I had a great chat today before dinner, my favorite part being the stories he told me about my brother Michael. I always love home stories.
Mikey is 17 and is one of those wild spirits you couldn't possibly try to box. To best sum up my brother, I'll refer to his two favorite movies: 'Boondock Saints' and 'Fight Club.' He has a deep pride in our Irish-German heritage and is willing to fight--literally, as well as with words--for what he believes in, which is a strength as well as a weakness. He's extremely strong-willed, opinionated, hilarious and athletic. All to often, however, he'll take things too far, as his guidance counselor had to tell some people who recently heard a few of his more outrageous stories ("Michael likes attention.").
I've been praying for him this week because he is on KAIROS right now, which is a spiritual retreat offered to high school and college kids. We talked about Mike as a member of the family and Mike as a senior in high school and Mike and his vocation: he'll most likely be joining the military. He's loyal and duty-bound, deeply religious, but yet is still lacking--he has a lot to learn in his road towards becoming a man. I don't think it's easy becoming a man in this society; everything pushes against it.
Last night (this morning?), upon getting kicked out of the library at 1 a.m., I went back to KKG, dropped off my books and walked down to Pi Phi, where I roused one of my best friends, Julia S., from her bed (not her slumber, as she is now claiming) to say a rosary for her 22nd year, that it may be blessed and God-focused. She said it was the best birthday present; she had never been prayed for like that on her birthday before this. That made me happy.
The rosary (since with the exception of Haynes, most of my readers are not Catholic, so please bear with me or skip down three paragraphs) is said in veneration of Mary. We do not pray to Mary because we worship her (only God is worthy of our adoration), but rather as an interceder to her son. She interceded many times during their time on earth (i.e. Jesus' first miracle; Mary approached her son and asked for his assistance) and we believe that one can better know Jesus through Mary. It's like here in the world: one feels like they know their friends better upon meeting their family. Same with Jesus. We ask Mary to pray for us like we would ask our own mother to pray for us. It's like when we ask Saint So-and-So to pray for us--in the living body of Christ, we ask them to pray for us in Heaven like we ask our friends and family to pray for us on earth.
The rosary is 5 decades. It starts off with a sign of the cross and a recitation of the Apostles' Creed. Then an 'Our Father,' three 'Hail Mary's then a 'Glory Be' and 'O My Jesus' before the repetitious 'Our Father,' ten 'Hail Mary's, 'Glory Be' and 'O My Jesus.' At the end we say a 'Hail Holy Queen' (one of my favoritest prayers, it is so beautiful), an offertory prayer which starts "O God, Whose Only Begotten Son" and a Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel against "the wickedness and snares of the Devil."
One thing I always like to read is leaders of the Reformation's thoughts on Mary. Martin Luther, for example, gave devotion to Mary. Also, if any readers are interested, Catholic Society sponsers rosary every night in the chapel by the EAR at 10 p.m. Catholics and non-Catholics join us; sometimes we have so many people we have to go to the Knorr room! It really is a beautiful fellowship. (see Fifteen Promises of Mary to Christians who recite the Rosary)
Anyways, after I took a walk up around the quad clearing my head. I ran into my friend James, who was finishing up his security shift. He's been a good friend since freshman year. He's taking the LSAT on Saturday. I kept thinking, this time next year, I won't be running into him and talking as much any more, if at all. I'm not being pessimistic; it's just different with males and I understand that. I wonder how it will be to live somewhere completely new and not have that solid base of friends to lean on or at least have nearby if I need to sit in my own silence with someone.
I was feeling upset about something (hence my walking around on the quad at 2 a.m.) and he noticed. I'm glad he noticed. I think it's the mark of true friend when they know you're out of sorts. I didn't tell him about it (it's not a fixable problem, more of a soul suffer everyone needs now and again, that dark road you must walk down to see the light), but just knowing I could have seemed to be enough to make me smile and carry on in typical-Julie fashion, that is, talking and laughing through it. True friends make life's loads a little easier and I pray I'm able to be that person for other people too.
It has been a blessing to go to Hillsdale. Dad told me today that this was by war the best school for me, hands down. And yet I almost didn't come. What would have happened if I had decided to take one of my academic and athletic scholarships at colleges in Ohio and played lacrosse in college instead? I wouldn't be writing, that's for sure, and I'd be running more! (Which really is something I've slacked on, much to my body's chagrin. I'm aching that type of movement.)
Hillsdale has not always been easy and there's been plenty of heartache to match the good friends I've made and moved on from, the late night coffee and silliness, the opportunities to light my intellectual fire-not just fill my education pail-as well as grow in my Faith and become the person God wishes me to become so that I may fulfill my life's vocation. What is that? Well, I have an idea, but then again I may never know my true purpose in life. Yet I carry on, trusting in His grace, satisfied that I am doing my little perfectly.
My sister told me I think too much. Can you tell, my dear readers? Well perhaps I do, perhaps I do; but I shan't be stopping any time soon, nor shall I cease my writing. It does my heart good to share a piece of my life with you few who read. I hope you enjoy reading it as much I take pleasure in writing it.
William Henry Channing's "This is My Symphony" is the poem of the day, followed by an honorable mention to Robert Frost's "Death of the Hired Man."
The Hillsdale Forum meeting tonight as well as finishing my precis and annotated bibliography for my Founding of the American Republic class (I hope!). I had a great meeting with my thesis director yesterday and I am so incredibly STOKED I can hardly resist from writing about it. Alas, I shall resist. Must move on. I also found out who my future Little is going to be so I'll have to upload pictures from pick-up after Sunday. She's adorable, sarcastic, Catholic and oh so sweet!