Category: Arts, Leisure & Culture

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God, Beauty, and Symmetry in Science

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“Now, may our God be our hope. He Who made all things is better than all things. He Who made all beautiful things is more beautiful than all of them. …Learn to love the Creator in His creature and the Maker in what He has made.” (St.Augustine of Hippo, Commentary on Psalm 39) “..and there is […]

Movie Review: Far From the Madding Crowd
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Movie Review: Far From the Madding Crowd

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Fans of “Pride and Prejudice” will love the new adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s 1874 novel, Far From the Madding Crowd. It’s a romance of class divisions as well as gender divisions (in the sense that a fiercely independent and independently wealthy female sees no “need” for a husband). Miss Bathsheba Everdene* (the astute and expressive […]

A Child, a Song, and the Weight of Glory
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A Child, a Song, and the Weight of Glory

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In 2012, twelve year old singer Jackie Evancho delivered an exquisite rendition of Nella Fantasia. It is the vocal version of Ennio Morricone’s Gabriel’s Oboe. Gabriel’s Oboe is from the soundtrack for the 1986 film The Mission: A favorite film, and composition, of mine. Sweet child, I believe that what you were singing about was […]

Two Takes on Chastity
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Two Takes on Chastity

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Ave Maria Press recently published two books on chastity. While the books come to the same conclusions, the authors do so from very different viewpoints. The first, Chastity is for Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin, by Arleen Spenceley, is by a twenty-nine year old woman who is still looking for Mr. Right. She […]

Movie Review: Ex Machina
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Movie Review: Ex Machina

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Ex Machina, an updated story on Artificial Intelligence, is a new science fiction classic, with all the bells and whistles of today’s filmmaking, but without a terribly new conclusion about the human or moral ramifications of A.I. A megalomaniac computer scientist (Nathan) has created a top-secret female robot (Ava) and invited a computer coder (Caleb) […]

The Messengers: An End Times TV Series
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The Messengers: An End Times TV Series

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The new TV series The Messengers is an end-times drama in the battle of good and evil. But first, before tuning in, suspend any theological expectations–it is fiction after all. The plot centers on a group of five young people with no connections to one another. An energy pulse courses through them, killing them, after […]

Gifts of the Visitation by Denise Bossert
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Gifts of the Visitation by Denise Bossert

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Gifts of the Visitation: Nine Spiritual Encounters with Mary and Elizabeth (Ave Maria Press, 2015) is a story of grace, conversion and surrender. Denise Bossert beckons us to go deeper than ever before into the world of Our Blessed Mother and of St. Elizabeth as they joyously await the birth of our Lord and of St. John the Baptist. […]

The Second Greatest Story Ever Told
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The Second Greatest Story Ever Told

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As one might expect, the first greatest story ever told is that of God creating the world and then sending His son to save us from our sins. Throughout human history, God has wanted His people to know Him, to love Him, and to Trust Him, but due to sin, this has not been an […]

Is Indiana’s Debate the Precursor to a Forbidden God?
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Is Indiana’s Debate the Precursor to a Forbidden God?

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No matter what side of the debate you find yourself on, the heated discussion surrounding Indiana’s recently passed religious freedom restoration act is infuriating. For those who honestly condemn bigotry it appears to be a discriminatory power grab, one that is nothing less than downright disheartening. For those who welcome the measure, they see a […]

Book Review: Gifts of the Visitation
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Book Review: Gifts of the Visitation

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The Visitation refers to the time when Mary, receiving the news from the angel Gabriel that she was going to become the mother of Jesus as well as that her cousin Elizabeth was going to have a baby, rushed to her elder cousin’s side. Gifts of the Visitation by Denise Bossert (Ave Maria Press, 2015) […]

Van Gogh: Accomplishment and Mental Illness
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Van Gogh: Accomplishment and Mental Illness

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Vincent Van Gogh’s career as a painter began when he was 27 years old and lasted a brief ten years, ending with his suicide. His works are, perhaps, better known than those of any other painter and yet during his lifetime he was virtually unknown. He suffered from mental illness.[1] His mental illness drove his […]

LUCY and the Longing of the Heart for More
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LUCY and the Longing of the Heart for More

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I was a young boy in the 1970’s and 80’s, coming of age in the early days of the movie magic of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. of galaxies far, far away, of Close Encounters, and hidden mysteries, of Lost Arks and great adventures. I can honestly say my formation and invitation into wonder and transcendence was assisted, however […]

Book Review: Fly While You Still Have Wings
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Book Review: Fly While You Still Have Wings

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Sr. Joyce Rupp, a member of the Servants of Mary, is well-known for her spiritual writings as well as for her work as a retreat director and conference speaker. In her latest offering, Fly While You Still Have Wings (Sorin Books, 2015), she focuses on her mother, both the example of her life and the […]

The Heartache of Cavatina
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The Heartache of Cavatina

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Most people associate the beautiful song Cavatina (written by Stanley Myers) for classical guitar with the 1978 movie The Deer Hunter. But Cavatina’s heartbreakingly beautiful melody originally appeared in a 1970 a movie called “The Walking Stick”. The Heroine of The Walking Stick was a 26 year old woman named Deborah Dainton who walked with a limp because […]

Book Review: The Prodigal You Love
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Book Review: The Prodigal You Love

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Before I moved to Ohio and began my conversion process, I knew more fallen away Catholics than active, adherent ones. Catholicism in New York City and the surrounding suburbs appeared to be strictly a childhood religion that people abandoned as soon as they left the restaurant after their Confirmation party. A good number of Catholics I […]

Documentary on the Shroud Airs Sunday
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Documentary on the Shroud Airs Sunday

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All four gospels mention the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. The Shroud of Turin is believed by many to be that burial cloth. It is etched with the image of a man that was scourged, crowned with thorns, crucified, and lanced in the side. If it is real, it provides archeological evidence of the most […]

Still Alice: Life in the Wake of a Devastating Diagnosis
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Still Alice: Life in the Wake of a Devastating Diagnosis

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“I am not suffering; I am struggling.” These words are part of a beautiful speech delivered by Julianne Moore in her Oscar-nominated performance as Dr. Alice Howland in the film Still Alice. The film is a powerful testimony of how a woman who has made her career out of words loses her words because of […]

Why Settle for Shades of Grey?
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Why Settle for Shades of Grey?

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Remember the scene in the movie The Passion of the Christ when the androgynous, almost-beautiful-but-not-quite Satan character is carrying a baby, and when the face of the baby is revealed, it turns out to be old, ugly, and creepy rather than a sweet baby face? This was confusing for a lot of viewers, and when […]

Help Mary in Her Mission -- Offer Your Communion
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Help Mary in Her Mission — Offer Your Communion

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Fr. Emil Neubert, SM, one of my favorite Mariologists, wrote many books on Mary including Mary and the Priestly Ministry and My Ideal, Jesus, Son of Mary. Recently, the Franciscans of the Immaculate, through their publishing house, Academy of the Immaculata, have renewed interest in Father Emil Neubert by translating his French works from the 1950’s into English. […]

Book Review: The Power of Daily Mass
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Book Review: The Power of Daily Mass

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In The Power of Daily Mass: How Frequent Participation in the Eucharist Can Transform Your Life (Ave Maria Press, 2015), popular Catholic author and speaker Bert Ghezzi shares how attending daily Mass has enriched his life. He also offers quotes from other daily communicants on the value this practice has for them. He reflects on […]

Book Review: Practical Theology, Spiritual Direction from St. Thomas Aquinas
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Book Review: Practical Theology, Spiritual Direction from St. Thomas Aquinas

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Sometimes new parents will half jokingly complain that their precious new charge did not “come with an instruction manual”. They may be overlooking something. They don’t even have an instruction manual for their own selves. Think about it. Even the simplest utensil or small appliance nowadays comes with pages of instructions, often in multiple languages. […]

Movie Review: American Sniper
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Movie Review: American Sniper

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Does American Sniper glorify war? Does the film pretend to take very seriously the colossal cost of war, the human toll on both sides, the fact that “war is an adventure from which there is no return” (John Paul II)–but actually delights in it? Kinda, sorta. Even though Clint Eastwood insists he’s more of a […]

Book Review: I Thirst for Your Love
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Book Review: I Thirst for Your Love

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All of us need reminders of how much God loves us and how much He desires that we give Him our hearts. Our weak and distracted human nature all too often is pulled in many different directions at once and we forget that the invisible, immortal God took on flesh, suffered in all the ways […]

Movie Review: Selma
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Movie Review: Selma

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Selma, the story of a pivotal point in the civil rights work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is a well-cast, well-acted re-telling. At times it lacks a bit of a spark, especially as David Oyelowo delivers MLK’s rousing, eloquent and inspired speeches in an almost too polished fashion. But this is one of the […]

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