Friday Five (Vol. 2)

— 1 —

Like the rest of the world (or so it seemed) I was less than enamored with the changes rolled out by Facebook mid-week. It wasn’t so much the news feed changes that bothered me. But what did bother me was the Twitter-like feed that now resides in the upper left-hand corner. It’s too much information and it seems to have removed any illusions we may have yet had about privacy on Facebook. Because now I can see any comments or posts that my friends make on their friends’ walls, even if I don’t know these people from Adam. Today they announced even more changes coming down the pike and while they are techno-geeky cool, it just proves that the latest and greatest technology is not always a great thing. I seem to recall that I was on MySpace for about a year about six or seven years ago and found it to be a nightmare of a user interface and experience. Facebook was so appealing because it’s design was so simple. What they appear to be doing is creating MySpace 2.0 with their new profile visual timeline. While I already had a Google account and did sign up for Google+ I’m not sure I wish to start over. But I do think my days on Facebook are now definitively numbered.

— 2 —

The state of Red Sox Nation as we head into the final days of the 2011 season. Not ready to jump, but looking down into the abyss and considering our options.

— 3 —

Quote of the Week: “For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”

Some will recognize this quote from the historical Old Testament Book of Ruth (1:16b). I had never heard it until I met the woman who would become my wife. She first shared it with me when we were engaged. I remember thinking “now there was a woman who was devoted to her husband! My fiancé must really be expressing how she feels about me.” Well…yes and no. Because in this particular passage Ruth is saying this to Naomi, the mother of Ruth’s deceased husband. Naomi is herself a widow and is trying to get Ruth to leave her by returning to Ruth’s own country and to find a new husband and get on with her life. Ruth will have none of it, and instead is devoted to this poor old widow and decides to stay with her. Ruth chooses Israel, the living God, and her mother-in-law. Now that’s devotion!

— 4 —

Photo of my glasses resting upon my bible.

I hadn’t thought much of this passage other than when I would encounter at Mass through the years. Recently I made the decision to do some in-depth study of the Psalms in order to write a series of meditations, or stories, which will be based upon them. The Book of Psalms, or Psalter, has been called the Prayer Book of the Church. This book of songs, prayers, and poetry is the hymnal of ancient Israel. Throughout the centuries monks and nuns, peasants and popes have sung, chanted and prayed these songs to God. I do the same when I’m able to join the Church in praying the Liturgy of the Hours. Because of this I’ve become more familiar with them and enjoy their richness. So I have set about doing some research with the goal of sharing some writing of and inspired by them. There is so much beauty in the Scriptures, but I think it has been purposefully overlooked or dismissed (as most real beauty oftentimes is) because of an agenda that automatically rejects anything having to do with Christianity. The lyricism and wisdom contained in the Psalms completely blows away anything contrived by the likes of Deepak Chopra or any of the other “spiritual” gurus I see quoted often. People often reject anything bible-related out of hand because of “the bad parts.” And yes, there are some harsh things in the Bible. To Kill A Mockingbird or Huckleberry Finn contain some scenes rife with racism amongst their pages of wisdom and beauty. Shall we reject these classics, too?

So why did I start with Ruth? For some background, really. The Psalms are connected with David in that he is believed to have composed several and did pray many of them. And to learn about David I decided to begin by learning more about his great-grandmother. A faithful, loyal, devoted, protective, selfless woman named Ruth.

— 5 —

I first read about Fr. Robert Barron’s ambitious project about Catholicism about two years ago and have been anxiously awaiting its release ever since. Slowly the anticipation was built over the past several months as snippets were made available on YouTube. Two weeks ago the book and a 10-DVD set were released. The book follows the script and is fantastic by itself, but to really get a sense of the inherent beauty, breadth and depth of the Catholic faith you have to watch the series. Beginning last Tuesday, a group of friends of mine are coming over each week to watch each 50-55 minute episode, which were filmed in high definition and features 5.1 surround sound. This made the use of the Lacrimosa from Mozart’s Requiem Mass over the imagery at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem all the more compelling.

You can read about why Fr. Barron launched this project here. A trailer for the series is below.

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