Tag: God

A Moment of Simple Bliss

I know I haven’t written in a while. I know that things have been hectic, and I’ve dealt with a lot in the last month since I’ve posted.

But, right now, I’m feeling… happy.

I just got back from an impromptu coffee date at one of my new favorite coffee shops (because it’s open 24/7) with one of my “new” close friends. We had a good time, talking, making jokes, and now I’m home, drinking sweet tea, catching up on Parks and Recreation (great show, by the way), and I feel it. I feel the sort of happiness that has been eluding me for the past month. I feel so content, in my choices, in my actions, and in the love I’ve received.

And I’ve received a lot of love, lately. I’ve been talking a lot to my parents, I’ve been getting lots of support from friends and teachers and others, and lots of kindness from strangers as well. But it’s also been difficult. There’s been a lot of stress, lately, and lots of change that I’ve been trying to navigate. My 18 credit semester is catching up to me, and I’m beginning to wish that I hadn’t said “yes” to as many extra-curriculars as I have.

Now I’m in the midst of Holy Weekend, which means lot of church, the week before Hell Tech Week, after which I have a weekend of shows (for the Musical I’m in, and also the reason for Tech week), a performance of the national anthem at a Lacrosse game, my confirmation into the Catholic Church, a voice recital I’m participating in, my audition for the performance major at my school, and then my MC/DJing an event for the Violence Prevention office at my school.

But that cup of chai, those moments of laughter tonight, coupled with the driving, and singing, and watching Netflix afterwards… I feel okay with all of this. I feel the kind of warmth that I usually need whiskey in order to feel. Everything is… okay. But it’s better than okay. It’s good. I’m good. Thank you, friend. Thank you, parents. Thank you world. Thank you, God.


Look at this Movie Trailer

So, here’s a movie trailer, for a movie called Desierto.

It’s being directed by Alfonso Cuarón, and stars Gael García Bernal as “a father crossing into the United States to reunite with his son.

Now, I don’t yet know how to feel about it. Cuarón has previously directed GravityY Tu Mamá También, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and though I wasn’t fully thrilled with Gravity (I believe when I watched it, and it probably exists in text messages between Brielle and me, I called it “the greatest, most expensive deodorant commercial ever made”), it was still visually striking and very well directed. The other two movies are also both amazing, for very different reasons, though the directing has been consistently top notch.

I’m also a big fan of García Bernal, and all of the awesome work he’s been a part of, including Amazon Prime’s Mozart in the Jungle, which got it’s second season released about a week ago. It’s wonderful to see people that looks like me, in a lot of ways, finding great success in the entertainment industry. But the concept of the movie is what I find a big unnerving?

So many people have opinions on the subject of immigration, and I don’t want a movie to be but a simple response to the opinions that differ from our own. I also feel that, though I personally don’t like the idea of minute men, this movie might seem to demonize them. It also seems like it’s taking a topic that’s very real, and very personal, and attempting to make a sort of horror/thriller out of it.

Of course, we’re talking about just a trailer, and this trailer is about as much as I actually know about the movie, but I guess I just don’t want this movie to get too caught up in the story telling, to the point that it doesn’t reflect a reality that many people experience, without at least giving us a sense that these are real issues. It’s very easy in comedy to push things to extremes, which is why satire can be a very useful tool to open up opportunities for dialogue. But horror/thrillers can be a trickier route to navigate.

I hope that Cuarón and García Bernal do a fantastic job, because I look up to both of them, and I especially appreciate them creating a story that speaks more so to my own experience than necessarily a Gravity, a Harry Potter, or even a Mozart in the Jungle. I hope that this movie opens up great opportunities for dialogue and social action, and also a route to more Latino Filmmakers and Actors and such making more films and television shows and such that speak to the experiences of Latinos in this country, more so than just a story about the border, though the Latino side of this story is definitely one that needs to be told.


The True Meaning of Christmas

So, today is Christmas Day. I like Christmas, for a lot, a lot of reasons. But I always feel like we forget what Christmas is really about.

I feel like people might get the wrong impression, and think that I might be meaning that it’s not about the presents, which, I mean, in reality it’s not, but that’s certainly a part of it, though explicit presents-wrapped-in-wrapping-paper-and-stuck-under-a-dead/fake-tree-adorned-in-lights is definitely not the actual meaning of Christmas. Did I get presents anyways? Definitely. Did I explicitly tell my parents not to get me anything for Christmas this year? Again, definitely. I even meant it this time, though I am grateful that the only things waiting for me, from them, were a bunch of multi-colored and patterned socks (which to be fair, I love cool socks, so that was an awesome gift), and a really simple, analog watch with a brown band that will look better when I’m wearing non-black suits.

But again, presents aren’t the point of Christmas. At least not explicitly, even if it is so heavily implied in our culture. As a Catholic, I want to remind everyone that we celebrate Christmas because it is Jesus’ birth. In the Christian tradition, Jesus was born into the world, both as the fully divine Godhead, and as a fully human, completely vulnerable young little baby. Here, we have the great, powerful, omnipotent God of the Old Testament, born into a young woman and her husband, in a manger, among animals near an inn. What’s even most astonishing is where Jesus was born into. He was a Galilean Jew. His people were looked down upon by both the Romans who occupied the land and the people, and by there fellow Jews, who saw them as too Roman. They were mestizos of their own kind.

Jesus was poor. He was hard working his entire life. He lived among the bottom class. Yet he was the Word incarnate. He was God on earth, the very Prince of Peace which Isaiah spoke of.

He was God, born at the margins. He not only comforted and was with the poor, the suffering, the destitute, he WAS the poor, the suffering, the destitute. He was born into all of it, and if he didn’t experience it himself, he witnessed it firsthand. Jesus calls us to serve the poor, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner, and take in the stranger because he was all those things. God purposely chose to come as the most vulnerable in his society, because those who are vulnerable are closest to God’s own heart.

I want to bring up two things, one of which a priest said, the other of which the author John Green said, and they really connect to one another.

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to sing in the choir for the Young Alumni mass for my High School. It was awesome to see friends I went to High School with, and the likes. But what’s important is the Homily given by the priest. Fr. Tom, also an alumni of the school, but of the year 1964, talked to us about Jesus’ birth in the manger.

Now, John Green, today, on Facebook, wished all of his followers a merry christmas. But, I was interested that he particularly called Jesus a homeless child. Now, I agree that in this time of celebrating the birth of Jesus, who was born into the marginalized, that we care for the most marginalized in our own society, because that is where Jesus is present. My only reaction is that well… Jesus wasn’t necessarily homeless. In the Gospel reading for today (Luke 2:1-14), it’s very clear that Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem because that’s where Joseph needed to register the two (three of them, as Mary was with child) of them to be enrolled as Caesar Augustus had decreed. It also happens that Mary went into labor on that trip.

What’s interesting is that, the priest told us the story of his visit to Loyola in Spain, where St. Ignatius was from. On this visit, he also visited the site of the birth of another nearby Jesuit who was beatified. The Jesuit was born also among the animals, as the house was built with the stable underneath the house. He noted, on the tour, that the house had spaces between where the pieces of floor met. He asked if the floor pieces had shrunk in the centuries since, but was told that the house was designed this way, so that the heat of the animals would rise and in turn heat the rest of the house.

We realize then that when the inn keeper took in Mary and Joseph, as Mary went into labor, that the child being born needed to be placed in the warmest space available to keep the baby healthy. Of course, that was among the animals! It was actually a sign of hospitality that the inn keeper, though also not well off, still took the young family in, and gave them the best he had. It was not luxurious by any means, but it was still a sign of hospitality. The newborn Christ, fully vulnerable, probably survived due to this sign of hospitality.

If this is not a sign of where we need to place our attention, I don’t know what is.

Please keep all of the people on the margins of our society in your thoughts, prayers, and actions. But, also, remember those around you. Everyone is in need of God’s love.

I think, honestly, Nick got a lot of it right in only his second blog post. He also puts it a lot more concisely than I have. Truly, celebrate with your friends and family, and all that you can. Be gracious, generous, and loving. But don’t forget those that we don’t see, and are often left unseen. Surely a newborn Jesus was not seen by very many.