Catholic Inklings

Musings and sharings on my devotion to an ancient religion.

Category archive: PB&Grace Blogs

Labyrinth | Bigger on the Inside

They just don’t make movies like they used to

More than once, I have shown my kids movies from my youth that I had a nostalgic fondness for—ET, The Goonies,

When newcomers to the Doctor’s TARDIS first board the time-and-space travel machine, most of them say a variation of, “It’s bigger on the inside!” From without, it looks like a normal British police call box, but on the inside it’s infinite in size. This is not unique to the TARDIS—nothing transcends time and space like stories! Books, TV shows, movies, video games, comic books, music—they all contain way more than what appears at face value. This blog will glance into the deeper world of various media; particularly those consumed by kids. It’s not my place to tell parents what their kids should or shouldn’t watch or listen to, but I will tease out themes (be they useful or harmful), trends and faith images for your consideration. —Jen

all of the Muppet Movies, The Dark Chrystal, Willow, The Princess Bride, Star Wars, Indiana Jones (the list could go on and on!)…those movies are classics! However, every once in a while something pops up in these movies that I had either not noticed to begin with, or had completely forgotten about, causing my husband and I to shoot each other uncomfortable, sideways glances.

I regret nothing!!! But, I do wish I had remembered some of that was in there before I showed them to my kids.

.

It’s in that spirit that I want to recommend to you the movieLabyrinth, which I made my family watch in honor of the passing of David Bowie. (Yes, “made.” Most were willing, but there are always one or two dissenters).

Here’s what to know before the show…

[Read blog on pbgrace.com]

Baptism of the Lord | Breaking Open the Word at Home

Today’s celebration of the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord comes with options for the first and second readings.  The first readings are from different parts of the Prophet Isaiah.  One echoes the words that the Father speaks at Jesus’ baptism and the other echoes the Gospel (quoting Isaiah) from the second Sunday of Advent—make straight the paths of the Lord. The second readings include a speech from Peter as he is about to baptize the household of a pagan who received the Holy Spirit and a teaching on the free gift of salvation that Jesus offers each of us—not through our own earning, but through our acceptance of Christ’s charitable love toward us. The Gospel is Luke’s version of the Baptism, in which we see Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all present together at once—the Trinity revealed. It is the moment that a symbolic ritual became reality.  It is the moment that God chooses to introduce himself to each of us personally—that we become adopted children of God and receive our vocation to be priest, prophet and king.

[Read blog on Peanut Butter & Grace]

Holy Family: Breaking Open the Word at Home

Being holy doesn’t mean that our lives are perfect, serene or easy. It means that no matter what’s going on, we love one another and try to help one another be our best.

I have always loved that on the day the Church celebrates the Holy Family—Jesus, Mary and Joseph—the Gospel is the story of when Jesus went missing. It’s a great story because it shows the care and concern that parents have for their children, the challenge that is parenthood and the real point of family life—to help one another to fulfill our destinies; to become what we are called to be. The Holy Family does this with mutual love, respect and patience. Mary and Joseph were truly scared when they couldn’t find Jesus. Mary said, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” They didn’t understand what he meant when he replied,“Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”, but they loved and cared for him all the same. Even though he was God, he “was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.” This shows us a little glimpse into the Holy Family’s life—it wasn’t easy. It was a struggle. The Holy Family was poor, insignificant and real. This story is the last time we hear about Joseph—he may have passed away shortly after this, for all we know. Family life is not always easy—but when we trust in God and live God’s plan for us, it can make us more holy.

[Read blog on Peanut Butter and Grace]

Cartoons and You | Bigger on the Inside

Cartoons are awesome!!!

I’m routinely told by other adults, “I don’t watch cartoons anymore.”  Their loss, I say!  Cartoons are some of my favorite entertainment, and I love kids’ cartoons.  In fact, when the kids wander off and I still have them on, I get a pleading look and a semi-desperate question from my husband, “Do we have to keep watching this? The kids are in bed…”

When newcomers to the Doctor’s TARDIS first board the time-and-space travel machine, most of them say a variation of, “It’s bigger on the inside!” From without, it looks like a normal British police call box, but on the inside it’s infinite in size. This is not unique to the TARDIS—nothing transcends time and space like stories! Books, TV shows, movies, video games, comic books, music—they all contain way more than what appears at face value. This blog will glance into the deeper world of various media; particularly those consumed by kids. It’s not my place to tell parents what their kids should or shouldn’t watch or listen to, but I will tease out themes (be they useful or harmful), trends and faith images for your consideration. —Jen

When newcomers to the Doctor’s TARDIS first board the time-and-space travel machine, most of them say a variation of, “It’s bigger on the inside!” From without, it looks like a normal British police call box, but on the inside it’s infinite in size. This is not unique to the TARDIS—nothing transcends time and space like stories! Books, TV shows, movies, video games, comic books, music—they all contain way more than what appears at face value. This blog will glance into the deeper world of various media; particularly those consumed by kids. It’s not my place to tell parents what their kids should or shouldn’t watch or listen to, but I will tease out themes (be they useful or harmful), trends and faith images for your consideration. —Jen

The first cartoons were made for adults.  Naturally, they had appeal for all ages, but the jokes, references and subject matter were pretty grown up.  Even now, cartoon movies consistently add jokes “for parents” that are just plain messed up. My eldest son recently warned me that there were some very inappropriate things in the Disney movie, Cars (apparently, he thinks his mom is as virginal and innocent as the BVM). He was shocked at what he now understood.

Besides the fact that cartoons are some of the best stuff on TV, I’m at a particular advantage for liking them. Many parents, trusting that “it’s a kids’ show” will let their children watch cartoons without giving any thought to their message or content. Time and time again, I have been surprised, disappointed and, at times, horrified by some of the stuff marketed directly to children.

An Opportunity For Discussion

My kids aren’t very young—they’re 15 and 12—so we aren’t watching pre-k shows. The shows that are directed at their ages (and younger kids, too) include themes and issues that older kids are likely dealing with in school and social settings, like dating, relationships, attraction to others, parties, moral dilemmas, and problem solving. Except that some of the ways that these themes are presented are not what I want modeled for my children (especially since one is getting to an age when dating is an actual possibility), I’m always glad for the opportunity to have a chat about what they are seeing, what we believe, how they feel about it and how they might deal with it if they find themselves in this situation.

[Read blog on pbgrace.com]

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.

[Read blog on pbgrace.com]

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.

[Read blog on pbgrace.com]

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.

[Read full article on PBGRACE.com]

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.

[Read blog on Peanut Butter and Grace]

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.

[Read more on pbgrace.com]

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.)

[Read blog on pbgrace.com]