Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hildegard of Bingen: Saint, Future Church Doctor, Baller

RomeReports did an awesome little video on the Bright Maidens' patron saint, St. Hildegard of Bingen, a future Doctor of the Church. Watch here:

These videos always make me think, what will my legacy be in the world? How can I humbly contribute? We are not all called to be Doctors of the Church, but we're certainly all called to be saints.

p.s. Have you liked the Bright Maidens' FB page yet? Do you follow us on Twitter? Join in the conversation! We have some exciting news coming up, so stay tuned!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Catholic: What Up!

"So far as a man may be proud of a religion rooted in humility, I am very proud of my religion; I am especially proud of those parts of it that are most commonly called superstition. I am proud of being fettered by antiquated dogmas and enslaved by dead creeds (as my journalistic friends repeat with so much pertinacity), for I know very well that it is the heretical creeds that are dead, and that it is only the reasonable dogma that lives long enough to be called antiquated." --G. K. Chesterton

Monday, July 16, 2012

The night Dickens had a Marian vision

William Oddie writes in The Catholic Herald:

Though Dickens hated all displays of religious feeling, he had a distinct and sincerely held religion of his own, possibly influenced by the Unitarianism of his friend and biographer John Forster. In 1868 he gave a New Testament to a son setting out for Australia, “because it is the best book that ever was, or will be, known in the world”; and he wrote to him in order “most solemnly [to] impress upon [him] the truth and beauty of the Christian Religion, as it came from Christ Himself”. “Never,” he went on, “abandon the wholesome practice of saying your own private prayers, night and morning. I have never abandoned it myself, and I know the comfort of it.”

This was the Dickens who in 1844 underwent a religious experience (rarely written about), which he described vividly in a letter to Forster. “Let me tell you,” he wrote from Venice, “of a curious dream I had, last Monday night; and of the fragments of reality I can collect; which helped to make it up … In an indistinct place, which was quite sublime in its indistinctness, I was visited by a Spirit. I could not make out the face, nor do I recollect that I desired to do so. It wore a blue drapery, as the Madonna might in a picture by Raphael; and bore no resemblance to any one I have known except in stature … It was so full of compassion and sorrow for me… that it cut me to the heart; and I said, sobbing, ‘Oh! give me some token that you have really visited me!… Answer me one… question!’ I said, in an agony of entreaty lest it should leave me. ‘What is the True religion?’ As it paused a moment without replying, I said – Good God in such an agony of haste, lest it should go away! – ’You think, as I do, that the Form of religion does not so greatly matter, if we try to do good? or,’ I said, observing that it still hesitated, and was moved with the greatest compassion for me, ‘perhaps the Roman Catholic is the best? perhaps it makes one think of God oftener, and believe in him more steadily?’

“‘For you,’ said the Spirit, full of such heavenly tenderness for me, that I felt as if my heart would break; ‘for you it is the best!’ Then I awoke, with the tears running down my face, and myself in exactly the condition of the dream. It was just dawn.”

Was this a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as many Catholics will naturally assume? During the course of the dream, Dickens made the assumption that he was speaking to his wife’s sister, Mary Hogarth, who had died in 1837, and whom he had dearly loved (though he also perceived that the spirit “bore no resemblance to any one I have known”). But he also explained the dream afterwards in explicitly Catholic terms, pointing out that there was “a great altar in our bed-room” where Mass had once regularly been said, and that he had been “listening to the convent bells (which ring at intervals in the night), and so had thought, no doubt, of Roman Catholic services”.

“Put the case,” he wrote to Forster, “of that wish” [the ambition he had expressed in an earlier letter, to leave in his writings his “hand upon the time … with one tender touch for the mass of toiling people that nothing could obliterate”] “being fulfilled by any agency in which I had no hand; and I wonder whether I should regard it as a dream, or an actual Vision!”

Read more here>>>>>>>

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Bird Song

Peaceful morning in Michigan as Baby sleeps and the rest of the Fantastic family is out to putt-putt. I'm taking advantage of the quiet time... Sunday tunes:


May creation sing out its glory to you today!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Date the Fat Guys, Ladies

In what can only be described as “true love,” I agreed to marry my fiance without ever dancing with him.

Perhaps this seems impossible, improbable, or a smallish point in the grand scheme of our love. But I tell you, it is not. I come from a dancing family. My mom and dad fell in love in college through dancing (and homecoming committee), and continue to swing around the floor with passion and laughing, grooving to the music. We six kids have no formal dance training, but we have natural rhythm and a blatant disregard for awkwardness. We’ll have impromptu dance parties at home, in the car, and even public places, if the music is right. It is a pathway of love for us Robisons.

I mention B.’s and my lack of dancing during ten months of courtship because this was how I approached our relationship: taking him for who he is, accepting his limits (as he accepts mine), and letting God’s love for both of us lead. He said he wasn’t a dancer. I didn’t push him into a dancing situation until weeks after our engagement, a wedding, when I then found out he can dance. And all I can think now is, What a glorious gift from my God!

Too often, we gals imagine the most perfect looking man for us. We want our handsome knight, and we want him with a six-pack. But what of his character? Does he respect you? Is he interested in spending time with you? Could you grow together and be friends? Do you see potential in him as your life partner, through difficulties and diaper changings?

Continue reading at IGNITUM TODAY >>>>>>>

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Belloc: Ballade of Modest Confession

"Ballade of Modest Confession" by Hilaire Belloc

My reading is extremely deep and wide;
And as our modern education goes—
Unique I think, and skilfully applied
To Art and Industry and Autres Choses
Through many years of scholarly repose.
But there is one thing where I disappoint
My numerous admirers (and my foes).
Painting on Vellum is my weakest point.

I ride superbly. When I say I 'ride'
The word's too feeble. I am one of those
That dominate a horse. It is my pride
To tame the fiercest with tremendous blows
Of heel and knee. The while my handling shows
Such lightness as a lady's. But Aroint
Thee! Human frailty with thy secret woes!
Painting on Vellum is my weakest point.

Painting on Vellum: not on silk or hide
Or ordinary Canvas: I suppose
No painter of the present day has tried
So many mediums with success, or knows
As well as I do how the subject grows
Beneath the hands of genius, that anoint
With balm. But I have something to disclose—
Painting on Vellum is my weakest point

Prince! do not let your Nose, your royal Nose,
Your large imperial Nose get out of Joint.
For though you cannot touch my golden Prose,
Painting on Vellum is my weakest point.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The World of Wes Anderson

Michael Specter in The Wall Street Journal:
There aren't many directors one can identify simply by looking at a brief clip of his or her work. Alfred Hitchcock comes to mind; so do Michelangelo Antonioni and Jean-Luc Godard. Their films, constructed wholly on their own terms, create singular, unmistakable worlds. In America today, there is at least one director who does this too: Wes Anderson.  
Whether Anderson is telling the story of a family struggling with ghosts of its past and future (The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited), portraying the absurdist adventures of a Cousteau-like adventurer (The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou), or, as in his new film, Moonrise Kingdom, presenting a tale of twisted innocence, his work is impossible to mistake. His signature is apparent even in commercials—from his classic self-parody for American Express to recent ads for the Korean automobile company Hyundai. Anderson doesn't pander or create market-tested characters; nor does he see the point in cleaning up reality. (Warping it is a different story.)

My favorite Wes Anderson films are The Royal Tenenbaums:

and The Darjeeling Limited:

I'm still excited to see Moonrise Kingdom!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Up North

I'm up north with my family and and then will be traveling till almost the end of the month. Will hopefully catch up on all my belated posts, etc. while writing out addresses for wedding stuff.

Today's sunset!
Any topics you're interested in seeing me write on? Let me know!

Have a blessed Sunday!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Country Tis Of Thee

Happy Independence day, y'all!

From Catholic World Report, "10 Things You Should Know About the American Founding":
None of this should suggest, however, that all Americans held anti-Catholic views. Some of the most prominent Americans held absolutely no tolerance for intolerance. The most important was George Washington who accepted, without reservation, Catholics and Jews as fully republican citizens. In a March 1790 address to the Roman Catholics in the United States, he stated:

"As mankind become more liberal they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protection of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations in examples of justice and liberality. And I presume that your fellow-citizens will not forget the patriotic part which you took in the accomplishment of their Revolution, and the establishment of their government; or the important assistance which they received from a nation in which the Roman Catholic faith is professed. . . . And may the members of your society in America, animated alone by the pure spirit of Christianity, and still conducting themselves as the faithful subjects of our free government, enjoy every temporal and spiritual felicity."

Constitution Convention with George Washington
Another critic of anti-Catholicism was one of the least religious of the founders, Ben Franklin. In the spring of 1776, Franklin, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, and Jacky Carroll (Charles’s cousin and close friend) traveled to Canada in a failed mission to convince the Canadians to join the American cause. Along the way, Franklin and the two Carrolls struck up a strong friendship. After the success of the American war for Independence, the Vatican decided it was time to name a bishop in North America. No bishop, not even Anglican/Episcopalian bishops, had ever stepped foot in the thirteen colonies (or, states, after 1776). Hoping not to offend republican sensibilities, the Vatican contacted Franklin through two agents. Franklin said the man for the job was Jacky, and the Vatican consequently appointed John Carroll as the first archbishop in the United States.
From The Imaginative Conservative, "Americana Res Publica: No Revolution":
Despite our post-modern tendency to distort and mock the true meanings of words, America never has been, nor really can it be, a democracy. Indeed, as several founders made clear, democracy was a great evil, necessary perhaps in some manifestation, but not as the ruling element of a balanced government or a stable society. In the opening days of the Constitutional Convention in the summer of 1787, several participants described the havoc caused by too much democracy.
Gerry of Massachusetts lamented,
The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy. The people do not want virtue; but are the dupes of pretended patriots [“demagogues” in the original; later corrected].
And, Randolph of Virginia proclaimed
the general object was to provide a cure for the evils under which the U.S. laboured; that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy.

My favorite quote, though, comes from Fisher Ames, 1806:
Our disease is democracy. It is not the skin that festers--our very bones are carious, and their marrow blackens with gangrene. Which rogues shall be first, is of no moment--our republicanism must die, and I am sorry for it. But why should we care what sexton happens to be in office at our funeral? Nevertheless, though I indulge no hopes, I derive much entertainment from the squabbles in Madam Liberty’s family. After so many liberties have been taken with her, I presume she is not longer a miss and a virgin, though she may still be a goddess.
Poor Columbia.
And yet, as many Jacksonians wished it to be, the Republic was neither purely a commercial nor libertarian one. Indeed, the American founders crafted not a commercial republic, but a virtuous republic, allowing for commerce and liberty to serve as a means by which man could use each of his gifts wisely and for the common good (the good thing; the res publica).
While not all of the founders belonged to orthodox Christian denominations or even subscribed to Jewish or Christian orthodoxy, they each accepted most of what the Judeo-Christian context and heritage had bequeathed to them. Their understanding of liberty was not the collectivist or primivist liberty of Rousseau or the atheistic and abstract liberty of Locke, but the liberty of St. Paul as described in his letter to the Galatian Christian community, the freedom to do what one ought to do.
For most patriots, one could find the best definition of liberty in the prophetic writings of Micah (4:4), as our own John Willson has reminded us many times. “But they shall sit every man under his vine and fig tree, and none shall make them afraid,” the Jewish prophet had written.
In these understandings, rooted in the classical as well as the Judeo-Christian, the founders wanted to emulate Republican Rome, not Carthage, as another one of us, Gleaves Whitney, has poignantly argued.
(Both of the above articles were written by a great American and man, Brad Birzer.)

Any fun plans for today? I'm going to my future family's house in a bit.

In the meantime, I hope your heart swells and surges like mine when I hear this song:

Have a blessed day with family and friends, and God bless our country!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Make You Stronger

Check out this awesome musical artist, Mandisa:


May God bless your Monday!