Friday, March 30, 2018

Nine Movies For Holy Week


Last year, I was asked to compile a list of movies for each day of Holy Week for a friend of mine. I told him I could do that, but none would be a movie straight from the Bible, as I tend to not find those very inspirational nor are they done well, especially the more modern productions. He agreed, and the list below is what I came up with. I re-watched them all, too, and thought this year to share with everyone else. Personally, I think it is a good list, though many other movies can be added. I replaced one movie from last year's list, because I told him that every Holy Saturday, before the midnight service, I had a tradition of going to the movies at the theater, to make sure I kept awake, so I added a movie that can only be seen in the theaters this year, which I think is the best of the bunch of faith-based films. Not wanting to only have older films on the list, I also added a few newer ones. I tend to not like the newer faith-based films, but the other one I chose is my second favorite one of the newer ones. Most of the others are classics that most have seen, but should be re-watched in the context of Holy Week, if you watch any movies during Holy Week. Most of these can be found somewhere online or streaming or On Demand. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Address to the Youth on How to Derive Benefit from Greek Literature (St. Basil the Great)


Some early Christians rejected pagan learning and asked, "What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?" But St. Basil the Great (329-379) thought Athens had quite a lot to do with it! In this exhortation to virtue Basil encouraged the selective study of ancient Greek texts, and reassured his youthful readers that despite their pagan origin, where poets, historians and philosophers were quite compatible with orthodox Christian thought, they might profitably be studied where they inculcated virtue, as in viewing the reflection of the sun in water before viewing the sun itself.

Address to the Youth on How to Derive Benefit from Greek Literature

By St. Basil the Great

I. There are many considerations which urge me to counsel you, my children, on what things I judge to be best, and on those which I am confident, if you accept them, will be to your advantage. For the fact that I have reached this age, and have already been trained through many experiences, and indeed also have shared sufficiently in the all-teaching vicissitude of both good and evil fortune, has made me conversant with human affairs, so that I can indicate the safest road, as it were, to those who are just entering upon life. Moreover, I come immediately after your parents in natural relationship to you, so that I myself entertain for you no less good-will than do your fathers; and I am sure, unless I am somewhat wrong in my judgment of you, that you do not long for your parents when your eyes rest upon me. If, then, you should receive my words with eagerness, you will belong to the second class of those praised by Hesiod;1 but should you not do so, I indeed should not like to say anything unpleasant, but do you of yourselves remember the verses in which he says: "Best is the man who sees of himself at once what must be done, and excellent is he too who follows what is well indicated by others, but he who is suited for neither is useless in all respects."

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Ten Great Moments in Forgiveness History


8th Century BC: The Sabine women implore the Sabine men not to attack their Roman abductors, who are now their lawfully wedded husbands.

AD 29: Christ forgives from the cross.

13th Century: Genghis Khan (yes, that Genghis Khan) spares the life of blood-brother turned bloody revolt leader Jamukha, who, alas, admits he prefers death.

April 9, 1865: Union general Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain salutes Confederate soldiers on the eve of the surrender at Appomattox.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Church Fathers and Heathen Literature Under Julian the Apostate


From Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History, Bk.3, Chs. 12 and 16:

Observing that those who suffered martyrdom under the reign of Diocletian were greatly honored by the Christians, and knowing that many among them were eagerly desirous of becoming martyrs, Julian determined to wreak his vengeance upon them in some other way. Abstaining therefore from the excessive cruelties which had been practiced under Diocletian; he did not however altogether abstain from persecution (for any measures adopted to disquiet and assault I regard as persecution). This then was the plan he pursued: he enacted a law by which Christians were excluded from the cultivation of literature; 'lest,' said he, 'when they have sharpened their tongue, they should be able the more readily to meet the arguments of the heathen.'