Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Powerful Message in The Giver needs to be heard today

After seeing the movie The Giver, I wanted to shout to all the world how important this movie could be to a generation who has grown up with visual images and a certain infatuation with technology. At the same time I did not want to give away the plot line and ruin the awakening that takes place both for the character and the viewer alike. So while encouraging people to see the film, I did not reveal the story line or the symbolism rampant throughout the movie.

Well now a couple of weeks after opening, I will repeat myself in this regard.  Please do yourself a big favor and go see the movie. Do not wait. And if you have nay children older than 10, bring them with you.  And then discuss the movie when you leave the theater.  Our children need to hear the message of this film.   In fact, directing a conversation is extremely important after watching the movie.  You will be surprised at what the children will reveal.

I still do not intend to give away the plot. But I will tease you all a bit and suggest that the world is supposedly free from pain, sorrow, hurt, and loss. Indeed all sadness has been removed.  And there is no memory of the past, of war, or all things tragic. Everyone is the same and everyone enjoys being the same. It is the story of one young man and his selection - what that selection means - and how he confronts this supposedly perfect world.

As predicted the critics are not fond of this film or its message. This factor almost requires us to see the film over and over again.

If you want a treat, read the books. Yes books. Lois Lowry, the author, decided to finish the story that she starts in The Giver. There are three companion books which simply are amazing and profound.

Understand this - if the young audience truly understands the message of this movie, then the ranks of our pro-life movement will swell and positive change will happen. And then everyone will finally begin to see what the world was intended to be.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

the labeling of persons

Not much to say when a master explains it all. Just read this.

Although I will say I thought about and spoke about the very idea of true friendship over 20 years ago. ( Yes I am getting old.)

 I was really upset with the characterizing of true filial affection for homosexual inclination.

Now when you are done reading the first article from First Things, read this.
This gentleman explains it quite well.

Friendship - that sweet elixir fro the gods.

How sad that so many people have no idea of it.

What the movie "The Giver" can give to viewers

Tonight was opening night for the new movie, The Giver. Based upon the 1994 Newbery Medel winning novel by Lois Lowry, the movie tells a story of a world where "sameness" is held in the highest regard, everything is peaceful and calm and only the government can make any decisions. The lives of the members of the "Community" are controlled from birth through death and in its desire for "peace, , contentment and no pain," the community has given up freedom. We follow the life on one young man who confronts this reality and watch how he deals with it.

Do not expect the critics to like this film.

The pro-life themes are quite apparent and will slap the secular mindsets, some of whom would actually prefer this kind of world if they could be in control.

If you have read the book, you may be surprised to see that the film takes the story line and brings it to life in some very unique ways. However to explain them now would rob the viewer of the thrill of having it revealed. So I will avoid saying anything about the story other than to say the leads - Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep provide excellent performances. The rest of the cast does a very fine job of inviting the viewer consider what this kind of world means.

The movie asks the viewer to think - these days that is a bit of a novelty - and to consider what kind of world one would have that robs every person of their unique individuality.

Much to think about.

Go see the film  and then tell me what you think.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Random Reflections

Random Reflections

Dateline: Saturday April 19, 2014 and the afternoon is slipping away.  The morning work in the backyard is a memory and the short visit with one of the grandfathers was a pleasant diversion. Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. Life goes on.

Life.  It is what this column or blog has been all about. Life. Protecting life. Nurturing life. Promoting life. Encouraging life. Defending life. Saving life.


I had a conversation the other day about the purpose and function of the law. The law is quite complex. Every aspect of our lives touches upon the law in some degree. But the fundamental purpose of the law remains quite simple and straight forward. One could look up the definition and find a general understanding that the "law" is a a body of rules that direct or prohibit certain activity. but what is the purpose for these rules. Cicero states that the purpose of positive laws is to provide for "the safety of citizens, the preservation of states, and the tranquility and happiness of human life."  I explained it in similar terms to my friend. "The purpose of the law is to protect people and property through a series of reasonable rules."
All of this is consistent with a natural law view because it places the individual and the community at the heart of why we as a society have need for law. It also naturally leads us to discuss who are the persons who need protection and who are the communities who have interests that should be protected.

Dateline: Tuesday, May 27, 2014. This morning my mom died. I got the call about 10 o'clock in the morning from Dr. Agnone. Mom was there for a check up and after a couple of deep breaths expired. It was a quiet and all too orchestrated an event – something my mom would do. You see May 26 was their 63rd Wedding Anniversary. The day before on Sunday, May 25, Mom and Dad came over the house for pancake breakfast. They would come over after eight o'clock mass. This was a tradition that had been going on for the last ten to fifteen years. Some of the children would come over. Sometimes the grandchildren and great-grandchildren would be there. It was a chance for mom and dad to see my children every week. Because the next day would be their anniversary, I encouraged my brother and his family and my sister and her family to come over to visit.  It was good that they did. But I could tell the mom looked worn out. She wasn't interested in eating. She wasn't too responsive to the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She would smile on occasion but seemed somewhat distant. Dad remarked that she kept asking about that Tuesday doctor's appointment. I told him that she did not look good.  On their anniversary they spent the day watching old "I Love Lucy" TV shows. They were among her favorites. Dad said that she had a good day. I think she knew that it was time for her to go to her heavenly home. And so she decided to the doctor's office was the best place for her to make her exit. You have to hand it to my mom. She was always thinking of everyone else.

Dateline: Monday June 1, 2014. Today we held a funeral for my mom. My daughter and some of my sons sang. My boys acted as pallbearers. We said the rosary before mass began. We did the joyful mysteries because those are the mysteries mom loved best. She was always praying the rosary for someone. She was a true prayer warrior. Fr. Schlarb celebrated mass and gave a beautiful sermon. We prayed mom's Litany for for the Unborn during the eulogy. We continued the celebration over the house and I was touched by the warmth not just of the day but of all of those who attended mass and came to the house of the reception. my father was in rare form. He provided all of us men with an excellent example of someone who truly loved his wife and now that she was gone, appreciated even more how much God loved all of us. He told the story of his own mother and how she constantly reminded him that "we are only here (on earth) to get there (to heaven)."  We all agreed that given the level of mom's suffering and pain she endured every day that death is a release to the loving arms of Christ. We could not be sad now that she was with Our Lord. We set the burial for the next day.  As the last of the guests left our house close to midnight, I once again reflected in how our church is so wise to center all the major activities of our life around the Mass. It is so important to remember to keep Christ as the center of our life. He is our rock, our stronghold, our deliverer. His mercies boundless, His peace comforting.

Dateline July 1, 2014. A month has passed. During that time we celebrated Father's Day. My fraternity brother Bill and his wife KK visited us from San Diego. They came over to see my dad especially. I went to the NRLC convention in Louisville, Kentucky. I have another graduate from high school.  The Supreme Court handed down to decisions favorable the pro-life cause: McCullen vs. Coakley was a victory for the First Amendment. The Hobby Lobby case was a victory for religious liberty. It never ceases to amaze me how ridiculous the liberal press can be a misunderstanding decisions handed down by the court. So I suspect that we will be discussing this for awhile. Finally I must note that this particular summer has been very hot.

Throughout all of these events I am once again reminded of the cycle of life and how each of us must find our way. For me, my mother's death reminds me of our long time commitment to the right to life. Both of us worked closely for many years and she never gave up. Up to her last breath I am sure she offered her pain and suffering for the sake of the little ones. It is my responsibility to continue to do everything mindful that she is now watching me. All of us have something to do. Let us be about doing it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Gimme Shelter" tells a powerful true story the country needs to hear.

I saw the movie "Gimme Shelter" on Friday in Alexandria, VA outside of Washington, DC. The performances were very real and the first thirty minutes of the film were very gritty and powerful. Vanessa Hudgens does an excellent job of portraying someone scared and angry; her transformation is not forced but comes from deep inside. She is a fine young actress.  I had not seen any of her previous work. Her scenes with the great James Earl Jones were touching - especially when she talks to him in the chapel. If one can put aside ones emotions on the abortion issue, one discovers that there are people who actually care about these young girls who are desperate for a second chance. And Gimme Shelter is about second chances.

After the movie was over, I spoke with a number of theater goers who were very much impressed with the film. One lady wanted to donate to the shelter featured in the movie.  It was clear from the various conversations that many of the viewers had no idea that such shelters even existed.  It was also clear that they were impressed by the dedication and passion of those who cared about the girls at the shelter.

But these homes do exist and so do scared young girls like Apple, the subject of this true story. When people like Kathy Defiore are willing to help these girls, then hope comes to life and they find a way for them to not only survive but to thrive.

Gimme Shelter needs to be seen by the general public so that homes such as these can get the support of the general community in order to be an avenue of assistance for women in need.

I strongly recommend this film.  See it this weekend.