Showing posts from July, 2016

Catholicism Explained - Mary the Mother of God

Catholicism Explained is back! We're starting on a full-fledged discussion of Marian Dogmas, so let's buckle our seatbelts and dive in. (Look at that. A mixed metaphor. How eloquent am I.)
If you'd like to read previous Catholicism Explained posts, here are the links:
The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist
Is the Eucharist Literal or Symbolic?
Sacred Tradition
The Sacrament of Confession
Why Do We Need Priests? Marian Dogmas

Mary, Mother of God

This is the most basic of Marian dogmas, the reason Mary is such a huge part of Catholic life. She got to be the mother of God! Carry Him in her womb, cradle Him in her arms, steady His first steps! No one else in the history of the world ever did anything so epic. Her vocation was 100% unique, and so grandiose it outshines the legacy of even the greatest saints.
As Jesus' mother, Mary was closer to Him than any other human. She loved and knew Him in a way no one else ever could. As such, she is honored above all other creatures.

Character Bio - Arthur

(Sorry for the absence of Catholicism Explained this past week! I was out of town Sunday and didn't get around to posting. However! I fully intend to have that little feature up-and-running again by next Sunday. So.)

At the end of Tristan's interview, we held an election to determine which character I'd introduce to you next - and the winner, I'm happy to say, was Arthur.

I'm glad for a chance to focus on Arthur for awhile, because he's going through a lot of changes as I write the second draft, and I still need to get a feel for who this boy really is.

Arthur Age: 19

Arthur was born to the two serfs Martha and Geoffrey, and thus into the service of Lord Garlon (formerly known as Lord Stonedon). When he was a toddler, Garlon entrusted his family with the care of two homeless baby orphans named Abel and Ellen.

Arthur grew up side by side with these two. Much of their shared childhood was spent in the fields. Although Garlon gave Ellen and Able special privileges…

Catholicism Explained - Marian Dogmas

Hello, my dear fellow Christians! (If you're a non-Christian, you're more than welcome, too. Pull up a metaphorical chair and make yourself comfortable.) Would you believe it, this Catholicism Explained post is actually on time. (Conscience: it's 5:39 in the afternoon and you're only just starting. Me: shush, conscience, don't make things so complicated. Conscience: well, a fine Catholic example you're giving, shushing your conscience.) Well, more or less on time.

So far we've skipped around talking about a variety of topics, including:

The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist
Is the Eucharist Literal or Symbolic?
Sacred Tradition
The Sacrament of Confession
Why Do We Need Priests?

Today we're going to jump into something new: Marian dogmas. I envision this as an introduction to/general overview of what Catholics believe about Mary. If one of the dogmas sparks interest, we can explore it in next week's post. We could spend a long time talking about t…

Of Skillful Writing and Captured Hearts

It's amazing, the effect books can have on our lives.

A few months ago, I was bemoaning that little fact with my sister. I say "bemoaning" because in this case - the case of the Chronicles of Prydain - the effect of the books in question was to break our hearts in half and crush our souls like grapes (to borrow a phrase from Tangled).

It was cruel, what Lloyd Alexander did to us. He invented this wonderful world, drew us into the very pages of its history, introduced us to all these beautiful precious characters who became our best friends, made us laugh and cry and bite our fingernails and tear out our hair and dance for joy and then - bam. The conclusion of the series left us curled up in little balls of misery.

We still remember the adorableness of the characters; we smile at the funny memories we've made; but even as we smile at the fun we sigh at the pain, and our hearts are overshadowed with the knowledge of how it all ended.

You see what Lloyd Alexander did…

Beautiful People - July

It's time for Beautiful People again!

This month I've decided to introduce you to a book I've never mentioned on this blog (which is ironic, seeing as how it has much more to do with tangle webs and fairy rings than medieval fantasy or space opera does). It's been in the works since I was about eight years old. The last draft I finished was supposed to be the last one; but looking back I decided that although that "final" draft is horrendous, the concept is worth taking up again.
So here we go! I am pleased to introduce to you the titular character of my middle-grade fantasy, Lillian.
There are two things you should probably know before reading the questions: 1. Lillian is three inches tall. ~and~ 2. She was raised by mice.

Does she want to get married and/or have children? Why or why not?
Since Lillian is very little in age as well as in stature, she doesn't think about such things yet. She's a very loving person, though, so she probably will want…

Catholicism Explained - Why Do We Need Priests?

In last week's Catholicism Explained post on the Sacrament of Confession, a very sensible and relevant question popped up: "Why confess your sins to a priest?" I originally planned for this post to be a "Part Two" of the Confession post, but it struck me that this question would be best answered by exploring another aspect of Catholicism - priestly authority.

(If you're interested in a direct answer to the above question, though, I'd recommend reading this article, which explains things a lot more clearly than I can.)

Priestly Authority
Jesus had tons of disciples, but He didn't give all of them the same kind of job. Twelve of them were picked in a very particular way to be His closest followers. We know them as the Twelve Apostles.

To these Twelve Apostles Jesus gave special authority. It was they who were told "Do this in memory of Me" at the Last Supper, they who were told "Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them."…

Tristan's Interview

Sorry I'm rather late with this! I actually have a valid excuse this time. Has anyone else out there ever had to deal with a keyboard with nonfunctional spacebar, n, and b keys? If so, then you know my pain.
Anywho. I figured it's high time I posted Tristan's interview. His story (well, not his story, but the story he plays a very prominent role in) has been going through some rather drastic changes lately. So if you've been following these interviews and happen to remember those ancient ones of Ellen's and Able's, this is a head's up that some of the information in there might no longer apply.

Thank you to all who provided such excellent questions! Forgive Tristan's frequent terseness in answering...

Me: So, Tristan, why don't you like cheese?
Tristan: *looks at me with one eyebrow raised*
Why don't I like...cheese?
Me: Yes. You see, when I introduced you to everybody I mentioned that your least favorite childhood food was cheese, and so they want to…

Catholicism Explained - The Sacrament of Confession

Catholicism Explained is back! Do forgive me for failing to put up a post last week. I've made a firm purpose of resolve not to do that again.

Speaking of forgiveness and firm purposes of resolve, this week we're going to talk about the Sacrament of Confession.

Confession (also called Reconciliation or Penance) is the sacrament by which sins committed after baptism are forgiven.
(The definition of a sacrament is "a outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace." There are seven sacraments in the Catholic Church - Baptism, Confession, Confirmation, the Eucharist, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony.)

The Biblical Roots
"Jesus himself instituted the sacrament of Penance when he showed himself to his apostles on Easter day and commanded them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained' (Jn. 20:22a-23)." - YouCat, 227
Forgiving sins was a hu…