We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee
Because by Thy Holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
If you’re like me, you probably like to meditate on Christ’s Passion on Good Friday. One of the ways that I find helps is to think about the Shroud of Turin, and one of the best resources for that is shroud.com, the official website for the Shroud. This website is run by Barrie Schwortz, who was one of the original researchers on the Shroud of Turin Research Project in 1978. By his own testimony, Schwortz originally believed the Shroud was some sort of painting. But the more the team studied it, the more they found that defied explanation. Although he is Jewish, he strongly believes the Shroud is the real deal: “The only reason I am still involved with the Shroud of Turin is because knowing the unbiased facts continues to convince me of its authenticity.”
All in all, it’s a fascinating website and especially timely for today.
Holy Thursday is always a great time of year to reflect on the great gift that is the Eucharist. To that end, I recommend the new book The Fourth Cup, recently released by Catholic apologist Scott Hahn. The parallels between the Passover and Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary (and, by extension, the Mass) were what spurred his interest in Catholicism back in his Presbyterian days, and they ultimately planted the seeds that led to his conversion. Consequently, the book is filled with a passion and enthusiasm that is difficult to top.
I also have my particular favorite, the presentation on the Fourth Cup. It covers a lot of the same material that Scott Hahn does in his book, but there’s some extra info in there, too.
I had the greatest day of my Whovian life on Saturday. I met Peter Capaldi! He was at the ReGeneration Who convention in Baltimore! I got to shake his hand and tell him how much I loved his Doctor! And we bonded over our mutual love of William Hartnell!
Yeah, I’m just a little bit excited about it.
I realized that this year will officially be ten years since I read The Phantom of the Opera for the first time. And considering the number of times Erik has managed to pop up on my blog, it clearly made an impact on me. Well, even though it’s been ten years since I read the book, it wasn’t the first time I heard about it. No, the first time I heard about Phantom was through the TV show Wishbone.
To be perfectly honest, the Phantom in this episode straight-up terrified my four-year-old self–especially the unmasking scene; it looked as though he had peeled his face off. I never imagined it would become one of my favorite books.
As an adult, Erik is far less terrifying to me now. But I never would have known him at all if it hadn’t been for Wishbone.
I have a confession to make–I have never liked Boromir in The Lord of the Rings. I always thought he was stubborn and arrogant; it’s all Gondor all the time with him, and he refused to listen to Elrond, Gandalf, and Aragorn when they kept telling him that in no uncertain terms can they ever use the Ring. I mean, sure, he redeems himself by sacrificing himself to protect Merry and Pippin, but up until that point I’m always, “Why’d we have to bring him again?” Contrawise, I have always loved Faramir from the very first time I read the books. Unlike his older brother, Faramir is not so single-mindedly focused on saving Gondor that he fails to see the big picture, and he actually listens when people tell him the Ring is mucho no bueno (in the books anyway. Don’t get me started on the movies). And the fact that he was never even tempted to use the Ring even when it was three feet in front of him just floored me the first time I read that. Clearly Faramir got all of the awesomeness in the family.
Yet to my surprise, there are people out there–quite a few people–who don’t like Faramir for that very reason! They say he’s too perfect, and that they can’t relate to him because of it. They find Boromir more relatable because of his fallen nature. This upset me at first–why would you prefer the jerky brother over the non-jerky brother?–but over time I began to see a certain logic behind the preference. However, Faramir still plays an important role that I think too many people overlook.
Several years ago, I had a chance to listen to a talk given by Joseph Pearce on the Catholic aspects of The Lord of the Rings, and he was the one who first drew my attention to the parallel of Boromir as a sinner and Faramir as a saint. Boromir had a fallen nature he had to overcome, but Faramir had already overcome that nature (probably because of all the stuff Denethor put him through). So in a sense I can see why more people would like Boromir; we all have fallen natures we have to overcome. But all sinners are called to become saints. Boromir is who we are, but Faramir is who we are supposed to become.