ICYM: Christopher Tolkien, Rest in Peace

In case you missed: Christopher Tolkien, son of the legendary JRR Tolkien, passed away this week. He was 95. 
One can imagine Christopher laying in bed and falling into a dream world of a lonely mountain, a brave hobbit, and the adventures encountered on an unforgettable journey.
Years later Christopher had his own contribution to his father’s work, as he is known for doing much of the map work for Middle Earth.
Lawsuits and scandals have marred the Tolkien name in the past couple of decades. Still, the loss of Christopher is to lose a close glimpse of the man who made hobbits, orcs, and elves unforgettable.

Living with Christ, Water Journeys, and Enneagrams

In Canada January the 7th was the Memorial of St. Andre Bessette. My family has a devotion to this great saint, and so I smuggled in a Living with Christ daily missal booklet from the church in order to have St. Andre’s updated Collect prayer on hand for praying the Divine Office.

Whoops. I should have just ripped out the page with the prayer. 

What did bringing a Living with Christ booklet into my home give me? Let’s take a look…

-An opening address by Gilles Mongreau, SJ. He vaguely discusses light, while condemning those who “try to cling to old ways of thinking, even going so far as to try to violently enforce the return of a ‘golden age.’” I’m not sure who exactly this is referring to. Those violent traditional Catholics? Or Muslims? -Prayers of the Faithful, including decrying “the abuse and misuse of the world’s resources,” asking for a “deep and mutual respect for all faith traditions among all leaders and teachers,” and my favourite, a prayer “for us, God’s priestly people…

It's Not So Much the Slap...

It’s not so much that the woman grabbed onto his arm and seemed to jerk him rather suddenly – though she did seem rather desperate about something.

It’s not so much that the Pope slapped her – though I’ve never seen an old man, even the most ornery, slap a woman before.

It’s not so much that he allegedly called her a b*#$% - though there is an entire website dedicated to his crude sayings (I’m not endorsing the website, hence, no link provided).

It’s not so much the look of anger after he slaps himself free – though it is rather astonishing.

It’s not so much that main Catholic websites, such as, had nothing on the story until after the mainstream media started reporting on it – though hiding troubling papal behaviour is common.

It's not so much the embarrassment we feel as Catholics - though sinners we all are.

It’s this: that the very next day he condemned violence against woman.
Via Crux:

Sigh. Just keep praying for him.

What I Read in 2019

Can one put a price on a good book? Apparently yes, and a hefty one at that.
I would say that our book budget is out of control in our home, but that would imply that we have an actual budget. Needless to say, we treasure good books here. But let’s cut to the chase already. Here’s my annual “What I Read in…” Blog. 2019 Edition.
The Lord of the Rings (Fellowship, Two Towers, and Return of the King) – JRR Tolkien

1500 or so pages for this trilogy. This was the second time I read it. The first time was 18 years ago. I remember staying up late each night, because it was so thrilling. This time around, I enjoyed going at a leisurely pace. Seeing symbolism and making connections made my second reading of Tolkien’s masterpiece less frenzied and more fascinating.
Conclusion: A must read. Obviously.

The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

I read this again to my class. I’m just inserting it again because it is worthy of a yearly mention. The very title of this blog, Bravest Thing, is from a passage of this might…

I Saw Three Songs for Christmas Day

One Blessed Night - Andre T. Miller

I first stumbled upon this watching Raymond Arroyo’s The World Over Christmas special two years ago. Since then, this song’s been a blessed addition to any night of the Christmas season.

Angels We have Heard on High – Andrea Bocelli

The best voice in the world singing possibly the best Christmas song. Add in a splendid choir and orchestra and you have a song for the ages.

I Saw Three Ships – Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Oh those Mormons, showing us up again. And to think, they also get their own planet when they die!

A MUST Christmas Album comes from the Dominican Friars: Christ was Born to Save
Here is: Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming. Get your tissues ready.

(To see what they look like, click HERE).

A Possibly Unappealing Post: An Invitation to Ember Days

Do you want a great Christmas? Of course you do. Do you want to work towards holiness in a very tangible and fruitful way? I should hope so. Do you want to help the Church? God help you if you don’t.

Selling something that is difficult runs the risk of being a futile endeavour. One’s internal desire must be evident for success. Nevertheless, I will give a brief pitch anyways: Ember Days begins this Wednesday. I invite anyone and everyone to participate. It doesn’t matter if you attend a traditional Latin Mass, the worst hootenanny Mass in town, or just your average Catholic parish, this is a worthy tradition sure to aid you and the entire Church.

From my 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal:

At the beginning of the four seasons of the Ecclesiastical Year, the Ember Days have been instituted by the Church to thank God for blessings obtained during the past year and to implore further graces for the new season. Their importance in the Church was formerly very great. They are fixed on the Wed…

A Mod Podge Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe is quite the story. Do you know the pre-1531AD part of the story? An interesting video of the feast is HERE.

We took a try at making a mod podge icon. After printing an image of Our Lady in reverse, and cutting and priming a piece of wood, I placed the image face down with the mod podge.

The next day it was time to wet the image, and then start peeling. 

Murphy's Law, a piece of the image pealed off, right at the head. Grrr. I touched it up with some pencil crayon work (I'm not exactly Michelangelo), and then sealed the icon. I'll give my first attempt at this a 7/10. 

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.