The Holy Spirit is My Felix Felicis: 7 Quick Takes XX

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The effects of Felix Felicis, as described by Harry Potter Wiki, are thus:

Felix Felicis possibly works by providing the drinker with the best
possible scenario. This usually registers in the drinker's mind in the
form of an unusual urge to take a certain action, or as a voice telling
him to do so. The effectiveness of the potion thus depends on the
cooperation of the drinker with the voice, for the drinker may for some
reason be unable to follow their Felix-induced urges, or can simply
choose not to. This is easily remedied, however, as the potion does not
single out only one scenario, but changes paths as the situation

Sounds awesome right? Too bad it's fictional . . . except it's really not.

Good news people, if you're Confirmed -- you're on Felix Felicis right now. Except we call it the . . .

And just like Felix Felicis, all you have to do is listen to it, and nothing can ever go wrong. Because even if it does, it doesn't really.

I used to be a huge worrier. But somewhere between husband with cancer and missing our train from Rome to Venice (pregnant and with four kids under 7) I started trusting and stopped worrying. Pretty much ever.

I'm still plenty of other things occasionally: late, frustrated, impatient, selfish. But I'm mostly not ever worried, because I'm on Felix Felicis.

"Trust me, I know what I'm doing. . . or at least, Felix does."
—Harry Potter

For more see John 16:13-14 and the Catechism 768 and 800.

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You are probably familiar with The Night Watch by Rembrandt: The chiaroscuro! the dynamism! those boots! It's a keeper.

BUT . . . haven't you always wanted to see this painting come to life flash mob-style in a modern day shopping mall?

Well, here ya go: You're welcome. If you don't see the video above, click here to see it on YouTube.

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update from Saturday: I've edited this a bit to reflect the fact that I have now read the ending of this book!

Hey, speaking of artistic stuff you've probably heard of: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Great, right? Mark Twain, a classic of American Literature, fun for the whole family, so deeply and insistently anti-Catholic that it makes Jack Chick's tracts look fair and balanced . . .

Oh wait, you didn't know that last part? Me neither.

I grabbed the book for free on iBooks as part of my YA time travel research, and I have to say I have been really shocked by that aspect. I KNOW I read this book as a kid, but it must have been an abridged version, or perhaps I just had extraordinarily poor reading comprehension.

Lest you think I exaggerate, here's a sample:

There you see the hand of that awful power, the Roman Catholic Church.
In two or three little centuries it had converted a nation of men to a
nation of worms. Before the day of the Church's supremacy in the world,
men were men, and held their heads up, and had a man's pride and spirit
and independence; and what of greatness and position a person got, he
got mainly by achievement, not by birth. But then the Church came to the
front, with an axe to grind; and she was wise, subtle, and knew more
than one way to skin a cat -- or a nation; she invented "divine right of
kings," and propped it all around, brick by brick, with the Beatitudes
-- wrenching them from their good purpose to make them fortify an evil
one; she preached (to the commoner) humility, obedience to superiors,
the beauty of self-sacrifice; she preached (to the commoner) meekness
under insult; preached (still to the commoner, always to the commoner)
patience, meanness of spirit, non-resistance under oppression; and she
introduced heritable ranks and aristocracies, and taught all the
Christian populations of the earth to bow down to them and worship them.

Um . . ouch.

For more on the anti-Catholicism of Mark Twain's 19th Century, see here.

So, I guess we Catholics must win the book in the end, it's rather ambiguous as to what happens after our hero leads his revolution, but since the Catholic Church prevailed in England until King Henry VIII decided he didn't much care for his wife but didn't really want to murder her . . . I'm guessing all those priests he disliked so much finally came through. But whatever you may have heard, this is not a book that was ever intended for kids. We'll be reading Outlaws of Ravenhurst
as a family read aloud instead.

I loved Dr. Gregory Popcak's recent post on the hot button issue of whether babies and young kids belong in Mass. If you had asked me seven months ago if this was something people had strong feelings about I probably would have replied, "huh?"

But boy oh boy. People who must otherwise be quite pleasant and who certainly consider themselves to be very faithful Catholics are SO MAD about this. The most unpleasant comments I have received on my posts (I'm going to disregard that Aspergers one since a. I deleted it and b. it didn't have anything to do with the post) have been railing on me for bringing my young children to Mass with me. (I would advise you not to click here or here and wade through the comments to see them.)

Honestly, if I hadn't read all the controversy it would have never occurred to me to do other than attend Mass together as a family. And I still wouldn't. But all of this has given me the opportunity to figure out WHY I wouldn't.

There are many, many reasons I think that babies and young children belong in Mass: they are baptized Catholics just as much as the grownups are, they deserve the graces of the Mass, they'll never learn to be good in Mass if they're not there to learn how, etc. But I think the most powerful reason is that the Mass is NOT for OUR edification.

That may be a side effect, and a lovely side effect indeed, but the full and total and complete and utter point of the Mass is FOR GOD not for us. This is how he has asked us to worship him, so we do it. He also chooses to freely give us the gift of grace, unearned, when we participate in the Mass. But none of that, not the worship of God, nor the graces we receive, are contingent on us feeling like we are having a nice time in Mass. The beauty of the building, the appropriateness of the music, the power of the sermon, the stillness and solemnity of the surroundings, all of these can be wonderful. But none of them is necessary.

God told us how we are to worship him. Jesus insisted that we bring our children to him. Far be it from me to refuse.

Also on the subject of unpleasant commenters, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say: We don't like what you do and you should stop it right now.

I've mentioned it before, but before I started this blog I had no idea that this whole world of blogs existed. I didn't know you could subscribe to them, I didn't ever comment on them, etc.

But I did regularly check three blogs, two of which are written by the same woman: Jen Yates. One is Cake Wrecks, the other is her personal blog, Epbot, which is about crafting and geek culture. My entire blog-writing style is pretty much a rip off of hers. She gives her takes on things with humor and kindness and pop culture references and without being bossy. She also includes lots of pictures. I really enjoy it. So that's what I try to do as well.

She's not Catholic, but as far as blogging, I really think she does it just right.

Except now, she's not doing it anymore. The constant stream of insults and negative comments online have driven her to take an open-ended sabbatical from Epbot. And, seriously, her blog was not controversial or ever, ever mean-spirited.

I understand and support her decision. But I am so sad to see her go. And I'm so frustrated with people who would use the anonymity of the internet to say things to people that they would never dare to say in real life. And now something nice is gone, at least for a while.

Between that Aspergers comment, and the c.r.a.z.y. amount of traffic and number of comments (for my blog anyway) that I got on my same sex marriage and public breastfeeding posts, and now this Epbot thing, I've come up with some new policies of my own for dealing with comments.

1. No name calling. People are welcome to disagree with me or with other commenters, but they may not generally disparage me or other people or my or other people's opinions. Name calling comments get deleted.

2. No speculating. I don't like comments that purport to tell me what I really meant, or what I'd like to see happen in the future. They are always wrong. Speculative comments get deleted.

3. Give a name, or get one. When I think "anonymous," I see a Guy Fawkes mask. It is super creepy to imagine having a conversation with that guy. I don't like it. But, I'm not ready to disable anonymous comments since I know plenty of people just comment anonymously since they can't figure out how to do otherwise, and many of them sign their names when they do it, or at least they sign *a* name. That's all I really need to feel comfortable. Especially since they often address ME by name in their comments. But for people who won't do it themselves, I've started assigning them a non-gender-specific name when I respond to them. It makes me feel so much better.

Based on my new criteria, some of those comments I mentioned in number four wouldn't be there. I probably won't go back and delete them now, but I sure feel great about the new rules going forward.

And finally, thanks to my Facebook friend Christina for making my whole week with this:

by pupukachoo

Every hour I spent watching all those terrible "classic" Doctor Who episodes (plus the couple of hours I spent watching the ones that weren't that bad) are now worth it, because I totally GET this painting of owls.

One and two are black and white! Three has fluffy hair! Four has the scarf! Five is blonde and fancy! (Oops, Six, Seven, and Eight weren't on Netflix.) Nine is all blue-eyed and doesn't care what you think! Ten is spazzy and has sticky-up hair! Eleven has a bow-tie because bow-ties are cool!

Wow, first Anita's Owl-themed fourth birthday party last weekend and now this. It's been a very owl-centric week for me.

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