It's a bird, it's a plane, it's... it's... Jared Zimmerer! Today our blog contributor of extraordinary powers (and time management skills) offers his take on the latest spin on the classic superhero story, "Superman: Man of Steel." What he finds is a lesson in sanctity and saintliness.
There is little else in American culture as recognizable as the “S” that is emblazoned upon both the chest of Superman’s suit and the hearts of almost every boy born in the last 80 years. Comic books, cartoons, movies, video games, high-dollar action figures, vehicles and tattoos from around the world brazenly broadcast the message of the intriguing personality of a man named Clark Kent who has a intensely woven past, which takes him 33 years to truly understand. When one thinks of a superhero, Superman is at the top of the list. From sleeping in my cape to watching the same cartoons and movies over and over again, Superman virtually defined my childhood.
How is it that a fictional character, a figment of one man’s imagination, can interlock its way into the minds and hearts of generations in such a unique way? Is it his seeming immortality, his super strength, or his ability to simply wear a pair of glasses and become a face in the crowd? The latest epic film “Man of Steel” is Clark Kent’s preparation for his destiny and it acts as a mirror of boyhood hopes and dreams to save the world...
Early last month, the "hardest working man in Catholicism" (we just gave him that title), Brandon Vogt, launched his newest web project, StrangeNotions.com, which aims to engage atheists in civil, fruitful and high-minded dialogue about the existence of God. He built it, and they're coming.
About a month ago, did you feel something in the universe shift? An almost imperceptible force nudging humanity toward a greater end? Do you know what that “strange” presence was?
Brandon Vogt making the Internet more civil … for atheists.
In early May, the busiest young evangelist we know launched his web project two years in the making, Strange Notions, to address this growing threat to Christianity and the culture. But he did it not by going on the attack, he did it by welcoming atheists into the fold.
“It needs to be focused on dialogue,” he said in a telephone interview earlier this week. “It needs to provoke discussion.”
Pointing fingers and regurgitating rote ideas online were taking the conversation nowhere, Vogt noted, but creating an online model of the ancient Greek Areopagus, a place of learning and idea exchange, could become more provocative. Contributing Catholic writers, theologians and intellectuals post a new article daily on the existence of God, and civil, well sourced and “high-minded” commenters are invited to join the discussion. Vogt has organized the resources well, with pages for recommended reading, for example, as well as a well-organized list of topics and starting points with drop-down menus. And then, of course, the “MUST READ” page, which leads to a list of commenting rules and tips. The Internet comment box is a notoriously unkind place, but Vogt’s specific but not intrusive rules aim to keep it respectful. It was a wild idea for such an untamed medium...
"Tony, Tony look around..." Actually, stop right there. Ellyn von Huben tells us about her personal and repeated invocation of St. Anthony, the patron saint of (among other things) lost items, but more importantly, how she finds something that will help us much more than those long-gone keys will.
I hadn’t been a Catholic too long when I had my first opportunity to implore the intercession of St. Anthony for help in finding something lost. Not that I was totally sold on the idea that I could I ask a saint to help me find a missing item. There was enough Wisconsin Lutheran practicality in me to keep a constant internal voice repeating, “Find your own keys, idiot.” But they weren’t my keys. What I had lost were the keys to a church in which my La Leche League group met. The shame of admitting that I had lost keys to someone else’s church (a Lutheran church) — which had been kind enough to give us space to meet — was too much to bear.
Now that I have worked in my parish for over 10 years, I know how unhappy the powers-that-be would be to hear that someone lost a set of keys to the whole church. We have strict controls on who signs out which keys and for how long. And when quibbles arise, I have no problem at all defending the parish rules. Keys can go astray. Keys get lost. I know whereof I speak.
I prayed fervently to St. Anthony to help me. If not for my sake, for the sake of my group. For the sake of the church that gave them to me. St. Anthony, among his many attributes, is also known as the “Hammer of Heretics,” but I can now attest that hiding keys to a Lutheran church are not part of his plan. There are novenas to St. Anthony for the finding of lost objects, but I didn’t need a novena. The same day I prayed, I found the keys. I will spare you the details that assured me that there was divine intervention. Let me just say that I found them in a place they should not have been and in a place I wouldn’t have thought of looking. But that day, going about my usual mom stuff, I came across my keys. One thing led to another, like "Tinker to Evers to Chance,” and there they were. This is the small, derriere-saving kind of miracle that showed me that St. Anthony could indeed be a holy helper for anyone who begged his intercession...
In case you forgot, "CATHOLICISM: The New Evangelization" is now available for pre-sale! Order today for delivery this fall, and read on for more details.
CATHOLICISM taught us what the Church believes and why.
Now CATHOLICISM: The New Evangelization shows us how to put our Faith into action in today’s increasingly secular world. Our forthcoming documentary is now available for pre-sale for $55.95, or $99.95 for the Study Leader's Kit.
Watch as Father Robert Barron travels to Australia, England and around the U.S. to examine the Church’s mission within the challenges of Western secular culture.
This 90-minute film tells us what the “New Evangelization” is and then takes us on a fascinating tour to witness examples of new ardor, new expressions and new methods of evangelization in action...
We all want a legacy. But St. Barnabas, one of the apostles about whom little is known, leaves with us a lesson that perhaps recognition and remembrance isn't the answer. Father Steve Grunow shares his homily about the saint today.
Today the Church celebrates the memory and witness of St. Barnabas.
Barnabas is remembered as an apostle, yet his name does not appear in the lists of the original twelve apostles chosen by the Lord Jesus.
What we know if him can be gleaned from the Acts of the Apostles, which tells us that he was a great friend and advocate of St. Paul. His name "Barnabas," which means "son of encouragement," has always been taken to illumine his character. His disposition must have been a shining light in the often troubled times of the Church's early life.
But like most of the apostles, the details of who he was and what he accomplishd have long since disappeaed into the Church's mission. And this is fitting — for as the Lord increases, we must decrease...