Wednesday, October 25, 2006

All Saints and an Apt Literary Assignment

All Saints Day is just around the corner. Since you have been so helpful with the other times I have sought suggestions for class (British literature), I thought I would put out another post seeking your help.

All Saints Day. British literature. Any suggestions?

Whatever is done has to be done that day in class and that's all. Reading and discussing and analyzing.

A poem? Poems? A short story? Some story that deals with a communion of folks of some sort and the beauty of things when they work together, rely on each other, trust each other? Or perhaps when they don't? To show the failings of us here without being in the constant state of grace of those in the Communion of Saints?

Or something else?

All suggestions welcome. Comment in comment section below or send an email.

I have looked at quite a few poems and some sermons from those who have a literary bent to their art. Even a letter from Leon Bloy (I know, he's not British, but I like his writings a lot) that he wrote to his bride-to-be which dealt with their love and the still contested issue of the relics of saints and their (the saints) everlasting Communion. She was not yet Catholic.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Upcoming Election: Republican or Democrat?

Republican or Democrat?

Still trying to figure out which candidates (and thus which party) to vote for in the upcoming election?

Check this out to get some answers ... and have some laughs. All that, and some good music too!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ruff, Ruff: Do Dogs Go to Heaven?

On Dennis Prager's show Friday, a caller asked if Dennis believes dogs (or other pets) go to Heaven. Since the Torah does not stipulate one way or the other, Dennis said he was not sure. Then since it does not seem dogs have free-will, Dennis said he had doubts if non-volitional creatures could merit Heaven.

That said, this reminded me of the response the widely respected Catholic theologian Fr. John Hardon, SJ gave some time ago. In The Catholic Faith magazine (May/June 1999 ~ Vol. 5, No. 3), Fr. Hardon was asked the same question. His reply touches on aspects unaddressed by Dennis:

Pets, as pets, do not go to Heaven. But animals and such like beings may be said to be brought to Heaven because, after the Last Day, they can serve as part of the joys of Heaven. In other words, animals and such like creatures may be said to be brought to Heaven to serve as part of our Heavenly joys. Clearly, we do not need pets to provide happiness in Heaven. But pets and such like creatures will be brought to Heaven to become part of our creaturely happiness in the Heavenly kingdom. Consequently, we may say that animals and such like creatures may be brought to Heaven by God to enable us to enjoy them as part of our creaturely happiness in Heavenly beatitude.

This answer pleased quite a few children, especially the grown-up ones.

Survived by Us

Rick Moran at RightWingNutHouse has a tribute worth reading to Michael Monsoor, the Navy SEAL who gave his life to save others in his team:

His SEAL team was in support of a joint US-Iraqi operation in Ramadi when a grenade was thrown through the door of their sniper hideout. It bounced off Monsoor’s chest and fell to the floor mere feet from 4 of his comrades. With every natural instinct for self preservation in his body and mind screaming for him to flee, Michael Monsoor made a conscious, rational choice; he deliberately fell on the grenade sacrificing his life so that his comrades would live.

Rick closes with words that all should keep in mind:

Michael is also survived by us: A grateful nation who will recall his sacrifice and the sacrifices of all the others with awe and a sense of obligation for a debt that we can never repay, only vow never to forget.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Continuing Thoughts on Ahmadinejad and the Holocaust

In "The Six-Million Person Question: Ahmadinejad and the Holocaust," Mark Bowden responds to Iranian President Ahmadinejad's comments about the Holocaust. Bowden closes with the following thoughts:

What the Holocaust demonstrates is the danger of a one-party state. It shows what can happen when a group of true believers, convinced of the superiority of their own ideas, have unchecked power. They are then free to rewrite history to suit their political ends, and crush those who disagree or protest . . . or who worship God in a different way.

Like, say, the mullahs in Iran.

How long will the West tolerate this guy and the mullahs behind him?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

British Novel: Some help needed

Ok, now I need some more assistance. I just found out that I have to add another novel (or play) to our syllabus for this year. I teach British lit (to twelfth graders) at a Catholic high school so any of you who have a suggestion, please send it my way.

We use a pretty good textbook that has quite a bit of the classics. I plan on using much of it. Then we will be reading A Christmas Carol just before Christmas and Animal Farm in the spring. I added Animal Farm because so many of the students have not yet read it. What a crime! So though it is something that should be read the first time in middle school (in my opinion), I want them to have the joy and pleasure of reading it with someone who really enjoys the book. If time permits, we will read Four Quartets by T. S. Eliot at the end of the year.

So what else would be a good British lit novel for twelfth graders (17 and 18 year old Catholic high school students) to read? Throughout the sections I teach, the reading levels are mixed: from high to middle to lower.

I have some on my mind, but I am not sure what kind of book I want them to read. I was thinking of some classics but they may end up being too serious or heavy. Then I thought that it might work better and be more enjoyable to read something fun and "comical" or entertaining (in a good literary sense) than the deeper cathartic type I initially thought of. Not sure yet, but it is something that would be read some time between February and May.

Thanks for your help. Put your suggestion(s) in the comment box below or in an email.

Books that I am thinking of:

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
How Right You Are, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton
Howards End by E. M. Forster
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
King Lear by William Shakespeare
A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
The Tempest by William Shakespeare (leaning towards this)
As You Like It by William Shakespeare
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare