All posts tagged: forgiveness

Hitting the Lenten Reset Button

It’s hard to believe, but there are less than two weeks left of this Lenten season. I don’t know about you, but this Lent has been a struggle for me. It seems like every which way I turn, there’s something luring me to indulge instead of fast (I had a stressful day and I want to eat my feelings!), tempting me to slack off instead of pray (It’s so late/early and I’m so tired!), or enticing me to spend money on myself instead of give to those in need (I’ve done really well with fasting and prayer—I deserve to treat myself!). There is something hard-wired within human beings that runs away from the difficult and retreats into the comfortable familiar. There is also something equally innate that is all-too-eager to excuse one’s own failures, to overlook one’s own flaws (something that, oddly enough, seems all-too-eager to condemn the failures and flaws of others). We are masters of rationalization and justification, and Lent—the Church’s annual invitation (challenge) to look at ourselves with an honest eye—somehow turns …

And the Nominees Are . . . Manchester By the Sea

Editors’ Note: In anticipation of the 89th Academy Awards on February 26, we present a series exploring the philosophical and theological elements in each of the nine films nominated for Best Picture. Caveat: this review contains spoilers. When life is defined by the worst mistake you’ve ever made, how do you go on living? Writer-director Kenneth Lonergan poses this heart-wrenching question and several others like it in Manchester By the Sea, the story of Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck), an isolated janitor living in Boston who must return to his hometown after his beloved brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) passes away unexpectedly, and, even more unexpectedly, names Lee the legal guardian of sixteen-year-old Patrick (Lucas Hedges), Joe’s only son and Lee’s only nephew. When Lee learns that Joe has not only named him Patrick’s guardian but has also provided funds for him to return to Manchester permanently, he recoils, making every attempt to find another way to provide for his nephew’s care. At first, this seems like the reaction of a selfish, irresponsible man who doesn’t want to be saddled with the burden of an unexpected, …

Shakespeare’s Tempest and Love’s Conversion

Over the last several weeks, the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival put on a visually stimulating and highly comedic production of The Tempest. While the acrobatic feats of Ariel (who was hanging from a trapeze the entire production) captured the eye, it was the relationship between Prospero and Ariel that deserves our attention. The Tempest takes up themes found throughout Shakespeare’s corpus. Prospero, the erstwhile Duke of Milan, has been shipwrecked upon an island with his daughter Miranda through the plotting of his brother Antonio and the king of Naples, Alonso. Prospero, a student of the liberal arts, is also a powerful user of magic. Yet, his power is dependent on Ariel, a spirit who is enslaved to Prospero (after he has rescued Ariel from the power of the witch Sycorax). The action of The Tempest pertains to Prospero’s opportunity to avenge himself against both Antonio and Alonso. Prospero causes a tempest that results in the shipwreck of Antonio and Alonso’s boat (with a number of other characters in the mix), separating the traveling party from one another. After stopping …