A saying which found its way into English vocabulary during World War One, “over the top” describes the situation where unfortunate infantrymen were to leave their trenches and charge into no man’s land in an attempt to gain ground. No man’s land was the area between two opposing trench lines and is aptly called so due to the low survival rates of those who entered into it. As deadly as no man’s land was, it is estimated that around one-third of all casualties in World War One occurred in the trenches themselves be it from; disease, biological weapons or combat. What was supposedly the safest place for a soldier, statistically was one of the most dangerous places to be.
I remember back in college as the school year came to a close and the weather began warming up, the campus priest would issue a request from the pulpit for the students to be mindful of their dress – particularly at Mass. It is no secret that modesty is virtually a thing of the past; browse yahoo, go to a department store, or simply walk down the street. “If you got it, flaunt it” is the hashtag of fashion. As men, I think we too often default to viewing modesty as a female virtue. I think that the way society has pushed to identify the female identity with the utilitarian aspects of a woman’s body is the primary culprit of these circumstances. Yet look at a Calvin Klein ad, watch a cologne commercial or take a trip to your local gym and you’ll find modesty is very much so an issue for men as well.
It is a scene we are all familiar with. Do you remember the long lunch line from back in high school? You grabbed your tray and slugged through the line. As you reached the lunch lady, you peered back at her and she reached out with her ladle to slop a big pile of something on your plate which she assured you was a sloppy joe. For my generation, it was chicken nugget day. In the big health food craze that has hit the country in the past few years, we learned that it wasn’t actually chicken they were serving, nor are we sure what was in the mystery meat in your sloppy joe. This is a humorous exchange that has been played out in countless high school based movies and television shows. While this may be funny to observe, have we ever considered if we have experienced this feeling elsewhere?
By now we are all familiar with the Facebook Star Wars meme; When I watch Start Wars and hear the line, “May the force be with you,” I respond “And also with you.” It’s a humorous similarity that many Catholics have observed between the now legendary series and their faith. The similarity exists on purpose. George Lucas has admitted that the inspiration for his films and characters came from many sources, classic literature, westerns and more. Among other influences was various aspects of Catholicism. Specifically, the Jedi Knights were inspired by the long-gone monastic military orders of the middle ages. The Order of Malta is the only one of these monastic orders remaining (pictured above, looking like Jedi), though their focus is now no longer militarily!
The creation account in Genesis 1 repeats many themes. One that stands out is the repetition that as God looks upon His work, he observes that it is good. This is fitting because at the heart of creation is an origin in God. All that God is, is good. Things like justice, mercy, beauty, wisdom, patience, strength; the list goes on. All that is not good is a departure from God. As creatures, from our Creator, we are each imparted with these gifts in various arrangements. One of these traits I find to be universal, though surfacing different for each individual, is the instinctual desire to fix things.
Have you ever considered where “Mass” came from? I know what you are thinking, this seems like a no brainer. Any Catholic who has read any of the four Gospel accounts can explain this! While that is vastly more important to know, the answer we are looking for relates to where the word came from! I find that there are a lot words in the English language we take for granted and the word “Mass” which finds itself in a Catholics frequent vocabulary may be one of them! Continue reading “Where did “Mass” come from?”