Monday, October 3, 2005

A swell weekend

Except for no typhoon day-off tomorrow. Merp, snerk, waaa!

Annual Wei Dao teachers' banquet Friday night. I won a new Okiwap camera cell phone, but since I already have a camera celly, I went to the store the next day to exchange it for other goodies. With my store credit I got a new Epson scanner, new Altec Lansing speakers and 50 CD-Rs. Net cost to me (excluding travel, misc, etc. costs)? About $NT900. What a blessing from Him from Whom all good gifts descend!

True thankfulness, I believe, should stir us to true compassion for those leat inclined (by antural lights) to have it. Our blessings can and should propel us in joy to an equally gleeful compassion for the poor and the "unblessed" -- since, after all, theirs is the Kingdom. So, at the risk of "trumpeting" "my" "piety", I will say I intend to divert the money I saved on these purchases to the good of others in need. Any ideas, dear reader (or readerette[1]) about good recipients?

Saturday night, after hosting a friend from out of town for the day, I watched _The Motorcycle Diaries_ at a friend's new apartment. It was really enjoyable, albeit with frequent bursts of vulgarity (uh, handy Spanish practice for me?). While there is clearly an edge in the film against clerical pharisaism, the film does not embarrass itself with any anti-religious bumptiousness. (As a matter of fact, perhaps without even meaning to, it strikes that deeply Christian chord that rings out against clerical pharisaism!) _TMD_ is a visually stunning, intellectually articulate, well acted film that presents an honest young man's journey through complex realities. See it. (Of course, how historically accurate the film is, I don't know.)

Went to a small parish in Taiping this (Sunday) morning. The fathers are Argentine missionaries with the Order of the Incarnate Word, and they "run" a very nice Mass. The faithful reply robustly and alertly; the lectors actually chant the responsorial hymn and alleluia; and they seem to be devotionally active outside the "Mass box" (e.g., small Rosary group afterwards, blessing and distribution of scapulars today at the end of Mass, etc.). I'm hoping to go again, especially if next time I don't get lost for an hour in the rain like today. Zoinks! Afterward, hung out with an Orthodox friend and his family in Taiping. Then came back to Taichung and relaxed in a little park. Since the typhoon had passed through the previous night, Saturday was pretty much just nature cleaning itself up in a breathtaking way: since the wind had scraped away the clouds and pollution, the air was clear and cool and breezy. Saw an amazing full rainbow, including the "rainbow echo" effect.

A swell weekend, yes, but last week was, on the whole, very hard: struggles with lust, anger, bitterness (by the way, bitterness about being bitter is the most nefarious peril!), and a mild case of acedia. Thank God, I was able to confess today, albeit after Mass. It was a true episode of reocnciliation, a true burst of new life in my all too easily ragged and cranky heart. It was capped, best of all, by Fr. Alberto offering me the Blessed Sacrament back in the chapel. Now, even though it's late and I need to get to bed, I intend, with the abundance of grace poured anew into my heart, to "keep my hand to the plow" and rebuild virtue out of the damage sin wrought by doing my penance and shaking off the silly cloying embrace of acedia. (I can't wait for early Mass tomorrow morning!) God in heaven, it's an amazing liberation to know not only that I'm forgiven in love, not onlt that love Himself awaits me in the future, but also that grace alone has brought me this far and even now propels me into that love-suffused future.

[1] Or "lectionite" for the gender-sensitive.

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