I can still remember standing on that mountain overlooking the sea. I was in Acapulco Mexico, the most beautiful place on earth. I was in a new world. I world where the most beautiful, rare and expensive flowers were free for the picking and passionfruit and papayas could be plucked from nearly any of the trees. I was thousands of miles from home. So how did I end up in this mysterious and magical place? That is an interesting story that begins with a man named Fr. Pablo Straub.
Fr. Pablo came to give a mission at my parish one year and he brought with him a sister by the name of Madre Maria de los Angelus.
I remember walking into Mass on an ordinary day during Lent having no earthly idea of what was to come. As I sat waiting for Mass to begin, I looked over to the far side of the church and saw a nun in an unfamiliar habit entering. I felt compelled to go talk to her but I was suddenly over come by a wave of shyness and found myself resisting this urge. But I just couldn’t shake it. Finally, I looked at the tabernacle and said: “If You want me to talk to her, give me the opportunity.” After Mass, I went to leave and upon opening the doors, found myself face to face with the little nun. She introduced herself as Madre Maria de los Angelus. I asked her about her order and she told me all about it and the work they were doing in the media. This excited me greatly because I had always felt called to work in the media. To make a long story short, I was invited to come to the her monastery in Mexico. So I went.
I was fifteen years old and didn’t speak a word of Spanish. It was an adventure to say the least. I remember arriving in Acapulco. The sisters picked me up at the airport and as we drove to the convent, I got a good look at this mysterious part of the world. The first thing I saw was a giant tourist resort with hotels and gift shops. Then we drove outside the city and I saw the image of poverty. People who lived in huts made out of sheet metal, palm trees and pretty much whatever they could find. I stared out the window, taking everything in.
We arrived at the convent and I was greeted by the bright and joyous faces of the sisters. As I walked down the mountain to my living quarters the nuns ripped flowers off the bushes and handed them to me. They looked me directly in the eye and smiled as if all the world was theirs. It was funny because despite the fact that there was a language barrier we didn’t have much trouble communicating. We spoke with our hands, our eyes and our faces.
They had absolutely nothing and took pleasure in the simple gifts God provided for them. In the flowers on the mountain side and in each others company and in the pet dogs they had adopted. The dogs were extremely skinny because the nuns had nothing to feed them but table scraps. However, I noticed that even the bony little dogs shared the joy of the sisters and seemed much happier then most of the well fed family pets back home. The convent was full of life and happiness on every level.
I remember they were most fascinated with my hair. Blonde hair was something strange and mysterious to them and nearly everyday they would tackle me in an attempt to play with it.
While I was there, a woman came down to the convent. She had come to film Fr. Pablo for EWTN. She was from the United States and therefore could speak English. She let me play with her camera equipment and help her shoot which delighted me.
I found it very interesting that I should meet an American who not only worked in media but was also willing to let me play with her camera equipment in the middle of this mysterious and joyous place. As she was leaving for the airport after the last day of shooting, I said to her: “What are the chances of us meeting here?” She answered: “Nothing is by chance.” and then she was gone.
My experiences with her fed my desire to work in the media while my experiences with the sisters fueled my desire to feed the poor of my own country. Those who spend the day looking at their feet. Those so consumed with sorrow they cannot see the simple gifts God has provided them. Those who do not know what love is. Those who feel alone and abandoned. While I was in Mexico I did not pity the poor I lived among, I envied them. At home my friends always had plenty to eat, they had the latest cell phone, or ipod or video game but they always seemed so sad. I could see them starving.
I firmly believe that God desired me to see my own poverty and the poverty of my peers by sending me to a place of abundant wealth.
When I bumped into that little sister on my way out of Mass that day, I had no idea I would end up in Mexico. Nor did I have any idea of what would happen there. What were the chances of Fr. Pablo coming to my parish of all places? What were the chances of me running into Madre Maria after Mass? What were the chances of me meeting an American filming for EWTN who was willing to let me play with her equipment? What where the chances of this experience opening my eyes to the poverty of my own peers who know know nothing of love except what the media shows them? My experiences in Mexico filled me with a desire to reach the poor of my country through the media which ultimately led me here. Whenever I look at the tabernacle, I am assured of one thing. Nothing is by chance. This I know to be true.
Media majors! What is Hollywood feeding America’s children?
Last Saturday I went to see a film directed at children ages ten to fifteen and I was absolutely disgusted with the previews I saw for other forthcoming children's films. The were vile and idiotic containing nothing but crude humor and even sex jokes. Modern children’s media provokes no intelligent thought and degrades children, parents and the family.
Children’s television praises disrespect and disobedience. Parents, teachers and other adults are shown as stupid and clueless, children are shown as rude and disrespectful. I appalls me to think that children are being taught by modern media to disrespect the adults who have sacrificed so much for their well being and are being taught to imitate “heros” who are insolent toward those to whom they owe everything.
I ask you media majors are we going to stand by while television teaches our children to mock the family?
Children’s media spends a great deal of time showing kids cheap jokes and ephemeral pleasures. However, it shows them nothing beautiful or inspiring. Nothing to get them to question and wonder and nothing to inspire curiosity.
Furthermore, modern children’s media greatly underestimates the intelligence of youth. Our old friend Aristotle agrees with Hollywood in the way they regard youth, saying that they are fickle-minded and can not control their impulses. Hollywood uses exactly this principle in much of children’s media, thereby encouraging it rather than discouraging it.
Here I must disagree with our old friend. I have been working with children for a very long time, and one thing I can say for sure about them is that they are definitely not stupid. They are bright-minded and curious. They absorb everything and are perfectly capable of understanding virtue, sacrifice and self control. Let us show them what is beautiful. Let us make films and television shows that entertain our children while teaching them the beauty of the virtues. Let us show our children pictures of true friendship and stable families. Let us teach them to admire the sacrifices of their parents and elders. Let us give our children heros they can look up to and admire for their virtues.
Our children deserve better than the shallow and the crude, media majors. I challenge you to give them better.
For Plato's thoughts on amebas read the post below.
This is not a form
It is an ameba
It is a shadow of the ideal ameba
Which is the form.
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I sat in a west bound plane. We taxied in to position on the run way and I eagerly awaited what I regard as the most glorious sensation man can experience in this life. The engines went from a gentle hum to a roar and the plane shot forward. My body was thrown backward against the seat and I found my self pushing forward to peek out the window. I watched the plane gain speed and then finally lift over the ground leaving its shadow trailing desperately after it. It was a windy day, a very windy day, just the perfect sort of day for a turbulent take off and I love turbulent take-offs. The plane rattled and rumbled back and forth as we short upward in to the sky. The pilot was clever and caught a gust of wind which whipped us right up above my city. As the plane fought to keep hold of the gust now and then it would suddenly drop from beneath me. I would stay in the air for a brief moment and then fall to meet my seat. We rattled wildly upward on the wind and I watched the plane’s wing bounce up and down. At last we rose above the clouds and all was peaceful. I was siting in a chair 30,000 feet above the ground, cruising peacefully at 500 miles an hour with the sun at my back. It was truly splendid!
When one is flying clear across the United States from sea to shining sea it gives one a lot of time to think. I look down at the earth and all the little houses so far beneath me and wonder about how small we really are. Just little specks in the vastness of creation. As I fly I see below me mountains and trees and plains and fields and great rivers and I know that above me are planets which also have mountains and plains and vast craters and perhaps things we have never known to think about. Humans, it seems, are just little tiny speaks almost nothing in the vastness of all this. And yet, the God who made all of this and knows every little detail of what is above me and below me, became man for us in order to suffer and die for us. If I were the only soul in all of creation He would still have suffered for me. How great is the value of a single soul!
As I sit here 30,000 feet above the ground racing westward I find myself wondering about all these things and I also wonder if fruit and cheese is really worth seven bucks.
The other day I sat out in an outdoor sitting area enjoying a lovely bowl of ice cream and as I sat eating I saw a very peculiar sign. The sign said:
This led me to wonder... If one has a dog who can skateboard but not bicycle would that animal be allowed in the sitting area? Or if someone has a cat who can rollerblade but not skateboard—would that cat be allowed in the outdoor eating area?
And if these animals are allowed in the sitting area why is an animal who can skateboard, bicycle and rollerblade not allowed?
My guess is that the owners of the local shops are concerned that if they allow an animal that athletically talented to come into the sitting area the other animals of ordinary talent might get jealous and attack him and if this sort of violence should occur in the sitting area it may cause the locals to gather in large numbers to watch the fight. And if that many people should gather in one place they might litter and the local wildlife might eat the litter and choke on it and die.
This is the only logical reason I can think of for such a sign. I am very happy that our local businesses care so much about our wildlife.
My lovely little black bird,
Some call you rat with wings,
But my little starling,
How beautifully you sing,
Other starlings shunned you,
And chased you from your home
But with me my little birdy,
You’ll never be alone.
The robin has a chest of red,
The cardinal a crest upon his head,
The goldfinch is splendid to behold,
But my starling has a heart of gold.
Round and Round you go twirling gayly as you fall,
How can one take pleasure in a thing so small?
Children take immense delight in natures hand made toys,
Who would have thought such a simple thing,
could bring them so much joy.
Mass in the morning, rosary at night, holy hour once a week or more if I desire, all intermixed with the most amazing classes of all time. I love this university.