Monday, December 25, 2017

NCRegister Blog: Finding Christmas Joy in Our Work

Every year at Christmas we hear about the angel appearing to the shepherds, amidst their lowly work, who says to them:
Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11)
After which the choirs of angels sing out their praise to God. Despite the encouragement of the angel, I personally find it hard to move so suddenly from the busy tasks of preparing for Christmas and my daily life into the joy of the arrival of the big day. While the angel tells us that there is great joy to be had for all people, I have always wondered how to enter into that joy.

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

NCRegister Blog: All I Want for Christmas is a Thankful Heart

Have you ever received a gift and immediately criticized it in your mind? You said “thank you” on the outside, but inside you thought of all the ways that it was not ideal. With Christmas almost here, I find myself hoping to avoid this pattern of ingratitude. My desire to be in control makes it hard for me to accept graciously something picked out by anyone else. Instead of being thankful to the person who was thoughtful towards me and was trying to express love, I feel a twinge of yucky ingratitude, which is contrary to the love I should have for them. When I fail to be properly grateful, I lack true charity towards others, and demonstrate my lack of gratitude. Yet, now that I have seen this failing in myself, I am determined to make a change.

It was not until recently that I realized that my ingratitude was not just me be picky, but it was a vice. St. Thomas Aquinas explains that ingratitude is a habitual act that leads us to not respond justly to the gifts and good things we receive from others. (see Summa Theologiae, II-II, 106-107) When I fail to feel and give proper thanks to another person, I am acting unjustly. And every time I do a thorough examination of conscience I find that my ingratitude (surprise!) extends to the way I respond to the things God has given me. All too often I complain about the blessings in my life that I see as inconveniences.

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Monday, December 18, 2017

NCRegister Blog: Cosmetics and the Objectification of Women

She came back from the job interview with a job offer in hand. As I talked to her about the student work position on our college campus, she mentioned that her new boss told her that she would be expected to wear makeup at her job. While I knew that women often wore makeup to work, I had never been required to wear it to work. I felt a little upset for my friend who sat through being told by a man that she — a young, pretty woman — had to wear makeup while men who worked in the same workplace had no such requirement.

Up to this point it had seemed normal to me that one would choose to wear makeup in a professional or formal setting, but when it was imposed on my friend I started to feel that there was a problem with it. With so many women coming out with their stories and accusations of men treating them with impropriety, we need to dig deeper into the causes of this problem. The expectation that women use cosmetics is just one of many contributing factors our society’s tendency to reduce women to objects to be used rather than human persons to be loved.

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Sunday, December 3, 2017

NCRegister Blog:10 Classic Children’s Authors and Illustrators and their Works

From The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang.
With Christmas coming, many parents tremble at the idea of adding more toys to the overflowing playrooms and bedrooms. A good book to give a child can solve the problem of too much clutter and benefit the child in many ways. It gives them hours of something worthwhile to do, adds to family community when read together, and teaches them to love beautiful things.

As a bibliophile, I have two criteria for what makes a book a “good” book for children. The first is that it must be good literature. This means that it has either stood the test of time and is still seen as a valuable book, or I have read it and found it to have great beauty and depth. The second criterion is that, if it is illustrated, the illustrations be beautiful. I do not like unrealistic, overly cartoony images, but simple line drawings with watercolor, painting, colored pencil, or woodcut prints do nicely.

My reason for being so picky is that the things that my children see and read at a young age will form and shape their minds for their whole lives...

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