In 1571, the chivalrous Don Juan of Austria led Pope St. Pius V’s hastily gathered defense forces in an epic sea battle at Lepanto against the invading Ottoman Empire and won a history-changing victory. The Ottomans, with their bloodlust, greed, state-run slavery, forced conversions and knuckle-dragging obscurantism, were run out of town and set on a slow spiral down into the sink of history. If, by some unhappy turn of events, an Ottoman-like empire should threaten the world again sometime in the next thirty years, I’d like to nominate my second son, Jack, to lead the resistance…
Allow me to describe the quaint scene at the Lord house on Saturday night at 9:30 PM: the wee ones are all nestled in their beds; Hallie is over on the couch watching girlie shows on her computer with a pair of earbuds on. I’m in my La-Z-Boy wannabe with my own pair of earbuds and my own computer.
Is this the 21st century, or what?
Ironically, I’m not watching a 21st century movie. I’m watching a really excellent film from 1962—one year before the Council Fathers published Sacrosanctum Concilium—only a theology nerd like me would make that connection. Anyway, the film is The Manchurian Candidate. This is maybe the third or fourth time I’ve seen it. It’s brilliant. With the aid of a couple of Hienekens and a couple of Jose Cuervo shots I’m PARTICULARLY perceptive, and I can tell you: The Manchurian Candidate is a great movie. Every scene is meticulously crafted. The casting is perfect; Frank Sinatra is so very good—truly an underappreciated actor. My other favorite from the film—excluding the slithery asian Communist brainwasher named Dr. Yen, of course—is Janet Leigh.
I really am an anachronism; Hallie is, too. We are both in love with bygone eras. Modern guys get all hot and bothered over modern film bombshells—but I’m left cold, people. You can keep your Megan Foxes and your Jessica Simpsons. The two most beautiful ladies in film are long dead: Marilyn Monroe and Janet Leigh. Marilyn’s just awesome: fun and silly and lovely. Janet Leigh, though: beautiful, sultry, smart, sophisticated, and, sadly, doomed to be hacked to pieces by Anthony Perkins. These women from a bygone era…there’s something there that I rarely see anymore. I know my wife’s got it—I guess that accounts for why I laid lips on her in the first place: she’s smart, sexy, silly, cute, glamorous—a Monroe/Leigh combo!!
Assuming she hasn’t been put in place by a hostile Communist regime to manipulate me into performing some heinous act, I have to admit: Hallie’s a dream come true.
I visited Susan today—my oldest sister who is, in fact, a Sister. Here’s a picture of her:
She belongs to the Sisters of the Visitation, a Salesian order. The picture was taken the day she went from postulant to novice, which, among other things, grants her the privilege to shove postulants in the hall and mock them for not being novices. That’s not true at all.
It IS true that, as a novice, she gets a white habit—she’ll get a black one later, after two confirmed kills. That’s not true. She’ll get a black one later, after she takes her perpetual vows.
They’re cloistered, of course, but you can meet with them in a parlor and talk with them through that big square opening you see up there in the picture. It’s hard for me to imagine, but just a short while ago she was going through very tough times, spiritually. These days, she’s filled up with sunlight.
Check out her daily schedule:5:15 am Rise 6:00 Divine Office 6:30 Mass 7:10 Breakfast 7:45 Mental Prayer 8:30 Divine Office 8:45 Work 11:00 Dinner 12:00 pm Recreation 12:30 Divine Office 1:30 Work or Study 3:00 SpiritualReading 3:30 Work or Study 4:00 Community Time 5:00 Divine Office 5:15 Mental Prayer 5:45 Free Time 6:00 Supper 6:30 Recreation 8:15 Divine Office 10:00 Lights Out
How do you like those apples? It’s appalling, really. Nowhere on the entire schedule is: “Play X-Box game of your choice,” or “Frozen Margarita Hour—smoke a high end cigar, time permitting.” And what about movies? It’s just inhuman.
It really is a profound thing to see a member of your family “leave the world” and commit to a nun’s life forever, maybe especially since she made the decision as an older woman. The transformation is amazing—she is now one of those people who, when I see her, I see Jesus. Awesome.