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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Why I believe in guardian angels

The classic image of a guardian angel, protecting children who travel a broken bridge above a rude flood.
I was taught that each person has a guardian angel. When I was in second grade at Mother of Good Counsel school in Milwaukee,  Sister Yolanda instructed us to leave some room on our chairs so our angels could sit beside us. The classroom was already crowded, with 60 of us children, but we scooched over and made more room.

For many years, my bedtime prayer was "Angel of God."
Angel of God
my guardian dear
to whom God's love
commits me here -
ever this day
be at my side
to light, to guard, to rule, and guide.
Once I grew up, I forgot about guardian angels.

Then I became a mother to two boys. Lucky for us, we lived across the street from a hospital. I swore they knew me by face in the emergency room - "There comes that bad mother again, with her banged-up son." There were times I was sure that especially our younger boy, Brian, would never live to age 12. So many stitches.
I thought about guardian angels then, but mostly as a joke. After another trip back from the hospital, I'd say, "Brian, your poor guardian angel's wings are probably all in tatters from taking care of you."

And so it went.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"Les Miserables" - a lovely movie

[NOTE: This review has spoilers beside the photo of Isabelle Allen as Cosette and beside the photo of Russell Crowe as Javert.]

"Les Miserables" is a beautiful cinematic opera with very few spoken lines and an overload of emotion. The main roles are filled by people who are known more for their acting than their singing. They all sing sweetly (non-operatically), and with fervor. Amazingly, the scenes were filmed as the songs were actually sung; there is no lip-syncing. The movie is unique among Hollywood works in that the word "God" is used in prayer and not in cursing. Faith is a central theme. The film's few flaws should not spoil anyone's enjoyment of the lush melodies and inspiring story. I plan to purchase both the soundtrack on CD and the movie on DVD. I know I'll watch it again, just as I re-view "On the Waterfront" and "The Year of Living Dangerously." I love movies that address what life is really about and how we can prevail against adversity.

My husband, Mike, and I went to see "Les Miserables" on Christmas day. The theatre was packed - we had to sit in one of the front rows. At the end of the film, people clapped. How often do you hear applause in a movie theatre?

Years ago, we saw "Les Miserables" as a stage play. We met a woman in line. She said, "This is my 28th time seeing it." I asked why. She explained that she had seen the play all over the county - like Dead Heads following the Grateful Dead, I guess, or Phish fans following Phish, I guess, 'cept with fewer drugs.

Why did the woman travel all over the country to see "Les Mis?" She explained, "I love the play because it's about the best in people. It's about mercy and redemption."

Sunday, December 23, 2012

And holy is your name

Madonna and Child by Jason Jenicke
When the Infinite meets the finite, there are no words. But we keep trying to find them.

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
        - From East Coker in Four Quartets, by T.S. Eliot

Today at Mass I was sitting calmly, thinking about nothing, as I watched the adult acolyte, Marie, set the altar for Communion preparations. She quietly fussed about the table like a woman working in her own kitchen, for her own family, before a meal.

All of a sudden tears came into my eyes.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Something to do "after the world ends" - Birth 2012

Image from Mayan calendar
My friend Jim Palka sent me the following information about Birth 2012, a positive reaction to the "end of the world" on 12/21/12 that was supposedly foretold by an ancient Mayan calendar. In my  world, Birth 2012 would be called an "International Day of Prayer." I believe it's the same thing with a different name.

Here is the information:

There will be a global event called Birth 2012 this Saturday with perhaps 100 million people participating to change the consciousness of planet. And there will be something called the “global moment” that will take place at 2:00 pm U.S. central time. It's when everyone in the world who is participating will hold the vision of a new world, a new Earth, a more enlightened humanity.

Could this effort shift the consciousness of the planet? Does organized positive intention work? Does prayer work? Some of us think so.

If you are interested in "Birth 2012," and if you are interested in some names of people involved, here is more info:

Monday, December 3, 2012

Believe it, Charlie: Don't Worry Baby is LIVE

One day not too long ago, I told my son Charlie a story that happened during the first month of my marriage to his pop.
Charlie, who is in his 30s, looked me in the eye and responded, "I'm sorry, Mum, but I don't believe that."
Believe it, Charlie.
I'm thrilled to announce that my new book, Don't Worry Baby - A 1972 Adventure on Wheels, is LIVE on Kindle, priced at $3.99.