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Need to liven up your Mass experience? Read Tolkien.

When your spontaneous “The Lord of The Rings” marathon spawns an Aragorn obsession, and, in the hype of romanticism, you desperately regret not being born a subject to a magnanimous monarchy — that’s when you appreciate your 21st-century Catholicism. Every genuflection, bow, supplication, and reception of pardon for “treason” is redolent of your servitude to the great and mighty King. Mass has never been so exhilarating!

God’s little signs

Fact 1: I’ve always regretted that my birthday was the feast day of a relatively unknown saint (Francis de Sales).

Fact 2: I spent years trying to determine my calling before resolving to become a journalist.

Fact 3: Today I discovered that the saint of my birthday is the patron of journalists.

My discernment process could’ve been a whole lot shorter.

Perspective

As I filled out my absentee ballot guided by six different political websites, I honestly didn’t think I cared that much about who won. Really, neither candidate enticed me, and having to choose the lesser of two evils heavily taxed my conscience. I prayed and researched and prayed some more.

I was the perpetually undecided voter.

So you can imagine my surprise when my innards clenched as Obama absorbed the Ohio votes, launching him into a second term and me into an unforeseen and challenging future. I’d never before felt despair.

Well now, 24 hours later, things have settled into perspective.

Sure, my faith might soon be tried and my path grow challenging. But where I feel the sting of defeat, more than half of Americans relish in victory, hoping for better days for themselves and their families. I pray they get what they were looking for in President Obama—certainly not at the expense of my liberty—but in a way that propels the nation forward and manifests it as the land of the free.

Dear high school freshmen:

If you’re going to friend me and my fellow alumni on Facebook, you might as well friend the entire class of 1954. You know them about as well as you know me.

Is it normal?

I sleep on my side, and I’m starting to regret it.

More and more frequently, I’ll awaken in the middle of the night to the feeling of something pressing against the small of my back. I’ll carefully turn my head, and there lies my foot-and-a-half long Westie; her stubby legs have slipped around me on both sides, and her face—if I’m lucky—is against my lower back. Occasionally she’ll reverse her position and rest her chin in the crook made by my butt and bent knees, but that’s another complaint altogether.

In short, my dog likes to be the “big spoon.” Is that normal?

My ______ Roommate

Physically dominant. I’m no rookie to fighting. I’ve been on the winning end of a punch before. Even wrestled a boy to the ground in first grade and beat him up Ralphie-style. I can’t say for sure, but I might have even drawn a knee to the groin sometime in my 20 years. Maybe. Maybe twice. I don’t know. Who can really tell, ya know? Point is, I can be a ruffian if need be.

But I’ve never been bullied, let alone pushed to the ground. My roommate made sure that all changed last week when she dove in front of the thermostat I was adjusting and gave me a hard shove to the floor. And my heavy, hard-cover physics book landed on my face. And my glasses slipped off. And I lay there sprawled like roadkill with my physics papers, formerly in a stack in my hand, fluttering about me.

So what if I like my room at exactly 72 degrees? Sue me for being warm-blooded. Maybe the heat would do you good, Roommate. Thaw that arctic heart.

My ______ Roommate

Fuzz-magnet. And I’m not talking about lint. No, this is the ‘po-po’ fuzz. The coffee-and-donut fuzz. Da fuzz. And here’s the official report of how they seduced my roommate during a routine interrogation:

Roommate stopped frying her mollusks to answer the door, which she flung open with Russian efficiency and little thought of who might be hiding behind it. The badge flashed in the ill-lit hall, and she froze. And that’s when the sparks flew, simple as that. Her flare went wild and his Glock nearly discharged in his trousers, and he complimented her cooking skills, and she giggled and flipped her hair, and the rest is Sherlock-and-Irene history. Who knew swine ate scallops?

"But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed."

- Isaiah 53:5

Please tell me you’re not the…

My-Relationship-Is-Everyone’s-Business Facebook updater. From the on-again-off-again couples you rapidly lose interest in, to the I-can’t-contain-my-love-within-a-personal-text-message status makers, these romancers are unarguably the most aggravating people on the internet. The two-month anniversary statuses are almost as irritating as the people who like them, or worse, leave encouraging comments. (By the way, congratulations for being tolerated by the same person for more than three weeks!) This desperate quest for recognition has become an epidemic, overtaking even the most secure and long-term couples who pine for people to remember they are not lonely cat hoarders. You, sappy Facebook posters, are the reason behind the “unsubscribe” button.

Am I the only one

Who gets the urge to genuflect upon entering a lecture hall?

Or call every kind, elderly man ‘Father’?

Or say ‘peace be with you’ when shaking hands with a new acquaintance?

It’s a mortifying habit that I can’t quite kick.