Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'm back

My apologies for the insanely long blogging hiatus. My mother-in-law was in town to help us paint our new house over the Commencement weekend, and last weekend we finally got moved in. The place is still covered in boxes. Oddly, I find myself missing the apartment. I suppose it isn't that strange since that was our our first home as a married couple. It will take a while but I hope the "new-to-us" house will feel like home soon.

Commencement is more abortion planes, campus is quiet and empty. Notre Dame is apparently continuing to press trespass charges against the pro-life protesters though. Sometimes I wonder what kind of insane parallel universe I've fallen into where a Catholic university presses charges on pro-life activists. It would be more gracious if they would drop the charges...but hey, they are on the side of President "I Won" so I suppose winning is more important than graciousness. I'm pleased to see that the Thomas More Society has taken up their defense in court. They do good work.

My husband has yet to find work, but he hasn't been looking for very long, either. I'm trying not to worry but it's extremely difficult for me. Here's hoping for better days for everyone.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A house divided

Dr. McInerny sums it up for us:
The sad fact is that people act contrary to the faith without realizing that that is what they are doing. A heretic chooses the opposite of the faith, but when in the present confusion as to what is in and what is out, heresy is not the appropriate word.

And so, on Sunday, surrounded by priests and all the panoply of Notre Dame, the smiling Caesar, thumb turned down on life, was engulfed in allegedly Catholic applause. Elsewhere on campus, faithful Catholics gathered and sent up prayers of reparation.

I sit here and wonder how it could have come to this. I have read the reports of the commencement and they make my heart ache. I wonder how on earth a man shouting "Abortion is murder" could be greeted with boos at a Catholic university. Have our consciences become so benumbed that Catholic students fail to see the truth in the statement, however it was delivered?

I feel particularly close to Our Lady of Sorrows these days. It always seems that whenever life is troubling and my world seems to be falling down around my ears, I'm drawn toward Mary. I think about Mary holding the wounded body of her Son as I observe the wounded and bleeding Church and feel helpless to do anything. How many more will sell their birthright for a mess of pottage?

For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths. -2 Timothy 4:3-4

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mutual Admiration Society

South Bend Tribune: ’09 Notre Dame grads choose Jenkins as Senior Class Fellow

Not a surprise. Clearly Jenkins exemplifies the values of the senior class: moral relativism, equivocation, and placing liberal politics above Catholic doctrine. Never mind that Jenkins went blatantly against the directives of the USCCB and Catholic moral principles. Never mind that he sits on the board of an organization which promotes condom distribution and abortion.

This is a New Age and thus a New Morality, to which the majority of the senior class subscribes. There is no longer any such thing as sin - except for the sin of "intolerance." The cardinal virtue for you, seniors, is the virtue of "open-mindedness." The deaths of the unborn pale in comparison to the audacity of protesters who would dare to ruin your graduation. After all, they are just clumps of cells, even if for some mysterious reason their photos make you feel all offended. Yep, it's all about you, you, you. Your professors at Notre Dame have spent four years telling you how special you are - how dare these outsiders suggest that you are wrong. You are special enough to create your own hierarchy of values. You are special enough to completely redefine Catholicism and just ignore the parts that you find inconvenient. In your eyes, Jenkins and Obama are heroes for standing up to the big bad old Catholic Church. (Yeah, we're stickin' it to THE MAN! Woo-hoo!) Who cares what those old men in funny hats have to say?

Congratulations, seniors. You've just slapped your classmates in the face yet again. I hope you're feeling good about yourselves, because I really am feeling awfully bitter about this farce of a Commencement.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Husband has been laid off

My husband called me about 4:30 PM and told me that he has been laid off today. He will not be going to work any more - that is how his (former) company operates, they tell you that you're laid off and you just leave the same day.

I've done some quick mental calculations and we can make ends meet on my stipend if we tighten our belts. He also gets some severance pay, but that will only last for four months. This is such a frustrating situation to be in. We just bought a house and while the mortgage is less than rent, I worry about what will happen if we need a major repair. Why did they wait until now of all times to terminate him? If they had done this two months ago we could have backed out of the home purchase.

I'm hoping he can find work in the South Bend area but I am not optimistic. I do plan to ask my advisor on the off chance he knows of someone who's hiring mechanical engineers. Some of the professors here have good connections in industry, so you never know.

Blogging may be light for a while since this situation is obviously dominating my sphere of concern. I ask for your prayers for our family.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Can Barack Obama Be Converted on Abortion?

A new piece in First Things addresses that question. The author looks at passages from The Audacity of Hope about Obama's 2004 Senate run against Alan Keyes. I find it intriguing that Obama admits that Keyes "got under his skin" when he accused Obama of not being Christian in his views on abortion. The still, small voice of conscience, perhaps?

In the end, Fr. Oakes concludes that, no, Barack Obama will probably not ever change his mind on abortion. He's probably right - even if Obama did change his personal views, changing his policy positions would probably mean the end of his career in politics. It's inarguable that the pro-choice position is a fundamental part of the Democratic party platform these days. If Barack Obama woke up one day and announced that he was anti-abortion, we'd see the Obama lovefest change to a hate-fest pretty darn quick. I think he thrives on the adoration of the masses, and I don't see him doing anything to jeopardize his status as Our Beloved Leader anytime soon.

Still, we can but hope. God did after all soften the heart of Pharaoh...I don't doubt Barack Obama is any more hard-hearted.

Done for the semester

Another semester down...whew. I got back from my Polymers exam about 15 minutes ago. It was pretty tough. I hope I can pull out at least a B. I'll need it with my abysmal grade in Cell Bio. Just got an email from my prof - I have an A- in Polymers! (And there was much rejoicing...yaaaaaaaaaay.)

Of course, this begs the question - how on earth did he grade that exam so fast? Did he even grade the exam? More to the point, do I really care since I have an A? :)

I would really like to go home and sleep, but I need to get a jump on the research I've been putting off for the past two weeks. Ah, the life of a grad student.

Monday, May 4, 2009

ND Response Video

Well done, ND Response!

Need prayers - again

I'm in the midst of finals studying - of course I would much rather be blogging, but such is life. I took my Cell Biology exam this morning. I'm not sure how I did on it, but I'm somewhat apathetic considering I would have had to make a 98 or so to get the required B+ in the class. Now I'm studying for my Polymers exam tomorrow morning. This class involves a lot of applied math, much more than I expected when I signed up for the course. It's been very difficult getting back into that "groove" since I took a year off before coming to graduate school. I'm currently slogging through some old homework and tests - hoping and praying for some spark of understanding here. I think I grasp the concept - but can I apply it to tomorrow's exam? That is the Big Question, as always.

In any case, no matter how this'll be over soon. And hopefully a glorious, productive summer full of research awaits! :)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Marriage and Sacrifice

We got a real treat tonight at the 5 pm Vigil Mass at the Basilica - Bishop D'Arcy was the presider. There was apparently a bioethics conference on campus today, and it seems the Mass was part of their conference events. Consequently we had a larger crowd than usual at Mass. I noticed a group of religious sisters sitting to our left - all habited, some wearing matching veils and some in mantillas. I was struck by their youthfulness and joyful demeanor. I love seeing sisters in traditional habits, and I love seeing people who are so obviously happy in their vocation.

This Sunday is apparently the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, and Bishop D'Arcy's homily was centered around the topic of vocations. He emphasized the sacrificial aspect of the priesthood and religious life. Jesus loved us enough to sacrifice his life for us and give us his very flesh to eat - how can we not respond by giving our lives to Him? For some this self-giving love is manifested in a calling to the priesthood or religious life. Others are called to give of themselves in married life or single life.

It's pretty obvious that priesthood or religious life calls for radical sacrifice. One only needs to look to the drama present in the Sacrament of Holy Orders or the profession of vows. Picture the men to be ordained lying face-down before the altar, or the nun entering the church in a wedding gown and leaving in a plain, dark habit. The ceremonies themselves make it clear that the new priest, nun or brother is dying to his or her old life.

What is often forgotten, though, is that marriage also calls for sacrifice. I don't think of it as a big, dramatic turning away from the world - but rather as a gradual dying to self. I've often thought that someone of my temperament finds more challenge in married life than in religious life. When I visited the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament, I thought that the cloistered life might be very appealing. How easy to love Jesus when contemplating him in the Blessed Sacrament! How much more difficult to love him when He presents Himself in a stubborn, irritable spouse! I tend to be self-willed and solitary and I sometimes find it challenging to deal with my husband. Marriage is definitely not just "happily ever after" but requires work and sacrifice. I see it as carrying lots of little crosses for one's spouse, every day.

Perhaps we would see more men called to the priesthood, if they realized that marriage also requires total self-giving. It's not a question of the struggles of priesthood versus the ease of married life - but a question of which way of self-giving one will choose. Loving your wife as Christ loved the Church is a tall order, after all.