Catholic Inklings

Musings and sharings on my devotion to an ancient religion.

Posts by jschlameussperry

The Force Awakens | Bigger on the Inside

Warning: May contain spoilers!!!

At the end of Return of the Jedi, it seemed as though all would be well across the galaxy—the Emperor was defeated, the Death Star destroyed and Darth Vader was redeemed. The Rebel Alliance was ready to usher in a new era of peace as hope spread across the planets. They conquered some pretty hefty bad guys, but the reality of evil remained—and it was bent on spreading.

The Force Awakens picks up about thirty years after the battle on Endor. The Rebels had, since the battle, established the New Republic, calling the citizens of all planets throughout the galaxy to participate in this new democracy after the Old Republic had been corrupted by Emperor Palpatine and his allies.

There’s been some speculation as to what about The Force is being awakened—is it awakened in an individual or individuals, or had it been inactive and is now back in play? That hasn’t been revealed yet. But, however it shakes out, the title suggests that The Force is going to be a main character in this movie. The battle between the deliberate use of The Force for good and for evil will take main stage.

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Who Wants To Live Forever?

Stories about eternal life on earth abound in sci-fi and fantasy; I think of the Dúnedain from The Lord of the Rings, That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis, many a Star Trek episode, and the list could go on… The Highlander movie and TV series, however, is a favourite of mine. My family will attest to my random singing of “Who Wants to Live Forever”by Queen, or shouting out the catchphrase “there can be only one!” during battles with… well, anyone who will battle me.


The theme of immortality is also a constant in Doctor Who, since the Doctor is essentially immortal. Though there were two recent episodes that dealt with immortality head on—”The Girl Who Died” and “The Woman Who Lived.” In the first episode, a young Viking woman named Ashildr dies to save her village from aliens using a helmet that the Doctor modified. Feeling sad for her poor, grieving father, and perhaps guilty for his part in it, he decides to bring her back to life. He uses a modified microchip (he’s really into modifying alien tech in this episode) to bring her back and gives her a second one to use on someone else so that she will not be alone—because there’s a catch to this remedy—she will be immortal.
“The Woman Who Lived” picks up in Ashildr’s adulthood, several hundred years after her encounter with the Doctor. We find her so jaded, broken, and lonely from the solitude of her immortality (she never did use the second microchip) that she has been living a life of crime.

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Being Restored in Christ | Breaking Open the Word at Home

Today’s first reading from the prophet Baruch offers the image of Israel who had been led off in slavery being returned to their homeland in security, making the path easier for us, and “…God is leading Israel in joy by the light of his glory, with his mercy and justice for company.”

In the second reading, Paul prays for us that our “…love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value.”

And in the Gospel, Luke recalls a passage from the prophet Isaiah, similar to Baruch, which invites us to prepare the way of the Lord. In our preparation, God will remove the obstacles that would prevent us from being with God— “Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

Here is the point: When we make an effort to invite Jesus into our hearts, God begins to remove anything that would stand between us and God. God wants to be close with every one of us—God is always there, waiting for us to turn to him. When we do—when we seek to become what God dreams for us to be—God helps us in every way to get there.

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Preparing Our Hearts and Homes: Breaking Open the Word at Home

Today’s readings have two major themes—hope and vigilance. We hope in the second coming of Jesus and we are vigilant in our efforts to live his love more perfectly in our lives every day. Did you ever see a stump or a tree that you thought was dead and a little sprout starts growing out of it? That is often what faith is like. Sometimes, we feel dry or sad, or like we are alone, but then a little sprout of hope enters our hearts.

Our first reading from the Prophet Jeremiah tells us about the “just shoot” from the line of King David. Jesus is that shoot—things looked really bad for Israel at the time that Jesus came into the world. Life was hard and scary and the people wondered why God wasn’t helping them. Then, Jesus came. He came to bring hope where there wasn’t much and he taught us how to remember that God was always with us, even when things looked bleak. The seed of hope is what God plants in us to begin our preparation to receive the healing that Jesus came to bring us.

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He Will Come Again: Breaking Open the Word at Home

As Catholic Christians, we believe that Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth to live among us as a human being was to offer us salvation. This is one of the times during the year when we think a lot about how we have received that invitation. We are reminded that Jesus will come again. This is something we look forward to—we even say it in a few of our regular prayers! “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end” and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come” are part of our Creed. A major point that is made at the end of today’s Gospel is that, “of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Sometimes people pretend that they know when Jesus will come back and they try to scare people with it. But, we know that God would never do anything to hurt us and we are not afraid. Jesus brings healing and peace to anyone who wants it.

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Oh, The Superhumanity!

The second that we got to the train station—before we even parked—I spotted some co-attendees for my first-ever Comic Con. The red cloak and Thor’s hammer were the first things to clue me in. Costumed folk were everywhere on the way to the convention, and as I walked the streets of New York with my husband, we played many rounds of “Cosplay or Everyday?” Some I was able to figure out and some remain inconclusive for me.

My husband and I met the first Godzilla suit actor, Haruo Nakajima, and got his autograph for my son, who has wanted to be a kaiju actor since he was four. Doing that for my son made my day, but seeing the cosplayers, the merchandise booths, the life-sized TARDIS, and the exhibits was amazing—I’d like to do that every year.

But my favourite part was attending a presentation by Scott Snyder (Batman writer), called “DC Entertainment Spotlight on Scott Snyder.” Snyder shared the challenges of writing and all of the rejections he faced before he got anywhere (that was great for me to hear). However, his best insight was when he shared about his vision of Batman.


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Economy of Love: Breaking Open the Word at Home

Today’s readings share the theme of freely giving—sometimes with uncertainty of what will happen as a result of it, and sometimes in complete confidence that we will be taken care of as a result. The widow of Zarapheth took care of Elijah out of her own poverty—she and her son had only a tiny bit of food left and then they would not have any way of getting more—when Elijah appeared needing help. The law of hospitality at that time required that she should feed him and her heart said that she should, too. As a result, they were taken through their hard time and blessed with more food than they could have had if they didn’t share.

The second reading speaks of Jesus’ free giving of himself for our salvation—it was such a perfect gift that it only had to be given once to be effective.

Then, in the Gospel, Jesus makes an example of the woman who lived on a very fixed income offering all that she had—her security, her retirement, her everything—to God with no fanfare and no apparent trepidation. She appears perfectly free—not just in her giving—but in her trust that God will provide for her. There’s a certain economy in giving when it comes from a place of love—free for the one who is given to because there are no strings attached, and free for the giver because they attach no strings. It’s where true joy comes from because it is how we are most like God.

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Every Great Mother Teaches Her Children the Way Of Gratitude (and the Force)

Recently, when on the checkout line in the supermarket, I caught an older gentleman staring intently at me. I was wearing my “Every great mother teaches her children the ways of the Force” shirt. When I caught his eye he said, “The Force…like Obi Wan.”

“That’s right!” I said.

“I wouldn’t want to be raising kids now.” he said.

Well, that was all I needed to hear. I have an annoying condition called “Runningoffathemouth” that prevents me from being silent if provided an opportunity to sound off. Frankly, I’m not sure how I still have any friends…

So, I ascended my soap box and said something about how raising kids in any time period has its challenges; that it’s never easy. He expressed his concern about what parents are up against with the culture being so contrary to anything wholesome. True enough, I said, but the tone and boundaries a family sets, the context and values that are modeled are up to the parents to provide. The way we treat one another and those outside of our family will become the standard of how our children behave when they are away from us. We have the most significant impact on the worldview our children will adopt, and we give them a foundation…and truth, justice and the American way!

(Cue the breeze blowing my cape behind me.)

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That’s Easy, I’m Spock

Who am I? That’s easy, I’m Spock. BuzzFeed says so, so it must be true.
Like many people, I enjoy taking online quizzes—so much so, that they have now begun showing up in the advertisements that pop into my Facebook feed. It still freaks me out a bit that they are tailored to my particular interests, but not enough for me not to take them. Through these quizzes, I have discovered that I should live in England, Rivendell, the Shire, the Victorian period—or the 80’s—and own a cottage in the woods. I have found out that if I was an Avenger I’d be Captain America (no brainer), if I was a companion of The Doctor I’d be Rory (maybe), if I was a character from a Jane Austen novel I’d be Fanny Price (wrong! I’m an Elizabeth Bennett all the way), If I was a Star Trek character I’d be Spock (absolutely), if I was a LOTR character I’d be Merry (not sure about that one) and if I was a character on Big Bang Theory I’d be Sheldon (that’s true).

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