Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Verso L'Alto!

By now it shouldn't be a secret that I am huge fan of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati. I've spent enough blog posts talking about what a great role model he is for my generation as well as the younger generation, especially in these modern times when values and morals are looked upon with contempt. As I was thinking about what I'd just experienced in one of my Religious Studies classes this morning one phrase came to mind: "Verso l'alto." It means "towards the heights" or "towards the top"... a phrase that has become synonymous with Bl. Pier Giorgio's name and his short time on earth.

During the first class this morning, two big (well, big to me) things happened. First, I keep bringing up the Latin Mass in class whenever I can and have been pestering my professor for the past couple of weeks about how it's valid and how it should be an option for our "Parish Visit" final project. (We have to go to 4 different kinds of Masses, Latin Mass not offered as an option.) Today the professor finally put the details of the TLM at St. Catherine of Siena in Reseda (in the San Fernando Valley) next Saturday (the 13th) on the board. A couple of girls from class are ready to go which makes me very happy. :D The Mass counts towards the Foreign Language Mass requirement and I made sure everyone knew that the professor had said it counted. I did a little happy dance in my seat although that little "victory" didn't last too long.

The past two class lectures we've actually been watching videos on Vatican II. Today's video was very political and left winged. Some people were criticizing the late Pope John Paul II for "betraying the spirit of Vatican II" while others thought he was too modern. Some priests criticized those priests, bishops, and Popes who have taken an interest in politics of neglecting to help others grow spiritually. It was kind of a mess which some people would argue was the problem with Vatican II. Anyway, after the video was over the professor began to speak about how Humanae Vitae really "messed" Catholics again, and how the Church had no right to tell the faithful what to do regarding sex, reproduction, etc. That led to a sort of feminist, liberal rant that was completely unnecessary. She brought up Natural Family Planning and how it was an accepted form of birth control in the eyes of the Church and how it resulted from Vatican II. She then went on to say that birth control was okay and shared some personal stories to try to emphasize her point. When I challenged her on what she'd said, she said that she was right and my understanding of Natural Family Planning was wrong. A friend/classmate of mine and I looked at each other, shook our heads, and sighed. We know better but those who don't are taking the professor's word on it. I walked out of the class not sure of what to do except that I knew I'd continue to challenge the professors even moreso than I have.

All of this led to think about the phrase Bl. Pier Giorgio loved. From what I understand from his biographies and from what's up on the Frassati USA website, it means both to the top of the mountain (as he loved to climb mountains) and also "a constant striving to reach the summit of eternal life." I feel like if I don't say something in class, if I don't challenge the dribble the professors "teaching us", that I am not only not speaking up in defense of the Church but I'm also not doing anything to help my fellow classmates became spiritual stronger and more faithful. As a friend/classmate in my Ethics class said yesterday morning, a majority of our classmates don't question what the professors say even if it doesn't sound like it's a genuinely Catholic. They take what the professors say and it's automatically true. Because, as I said in my previous post, this school says it's Catholic they believe it. Of course, it's Catholic in name only but I don't think a majority of people realize that.

Now, I'm not saying that I'm perfect and that I know everything. Far from it. I'm still learning and I'm nowhere as knowledgeable as say Andrew or Joe (two good friends my age who could teach any of my classes properly if they wanted) and I'm definitely nowhere near Patrick's understanding but I'm definitely working at it... and I want to bring as many people as I can along for the ride. If anything, my experience at this school (and especially after lectures like the one we just had) give me the drive to keep going, to graduate, to go to Grad school and eventually become a professor and teach Catholicism properly.

By the by, if you were wondering what happened after the last blog entry: in a nutshell, Patrick was kind enough to get me in contact with Belmont Abbey College (with whom I unintentionally ended up playing phone tag with last Tuesday) and have the option to go there now open. A majority of my friends are pushing me towards going there while a friend and my mom are encouraging me to stay where I am and "fight the good fight" as I've been known to be up for a challenge, no matter how big it is. I've made my decision about what I'm going to do and I'm at peace with it. I also want to thank everyone for your prayers and advice. I was a bit overwhelmed last week and I took everything into consideration. I firmly believe your prayers helped as well as Our Blessed Mother's intercession (I'm on day 53 of the 54 day Rosary novena).

Alright, well, since I have another 3 hours (wow, that went by fast!) before my next class I will try to finish and post past blog entries as well as work on my NaNoWriMo entry for this year. Yes, I am crazy enough to attempt it again this year. :D

I hope y'all are having a great week thus far. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless.


Kinsey said...

It is actually thanks to your posts about Pier Giorgio that led to my being devoted to him. He has truly helped me in my studies, and I will always talk about him to younger teens and young adults.

Bl. Pier Giorgio pray for us!

Jana said...

In regards to Vatican II and the Mass, you should check out www.realcatholictv.com

Go to the CIA link (Catholic Investigative Agency) and watch "Weapons of MASS Destruction". It's fascinating and I learned so much of the development of the novus ordo mass.

Also take a listen to the EWTN audio archives under "What went wrong with Vatican II", "Council of Faith: The documents of Vatican II", and "Council of Faith: Vatican II: Post Counciliar Documents". These are all great listens and may provide you with good ammunition for your class.

In regards to the Latin Mass, my favorite, you may want to watch this youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6AOvStZS64
Bishop Fulton Sheen narrates it and the info tab has some great notes.

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Wow, you're right out there having to face teachers teaching the wrong things. That's so tough! My prayers are with you. :)

I so often feel it's easier to discuss the Catholic faith with people other than semi-Catholics who want to change the faith or ignore some of it.

James Locke said...

Can I marry you? ;)
On a more serious note, I really really admire your struggle. I just found your blog by chance and am very impressed with your commitment to the Faith.

I go to a Catholic U thats pretty good, but the CM is pretty watered down. They hate TLM here. But its alright, because as long as you keep fighting the good fight, it will be worth it.

Keep it up, maybe I will visit your blog in the near future.