The Holy Spirit is My Felix Felicis: 7 Quick Takes XX

by | Jul 12, 2013 | 7 Quick Takes, Catholic Mom Book Review, Doctor Who, Pop Culture | 9 comments

— 1 —

The effects of Felix Felicis, as described by Harry Potter Wiki, are thus:

Felix Felicis possibly works by providing the drinker with the best
possible scenario. This usually registers in the drinker’s mind in the
form of an unusual urge to take a certain action, or as a voice telling
him to do so. The effectiveness of the potion thus depends on the
cooperation of the drinker with the voice, for the drinker may for some
reason be unable to follow their Felix-induced urges, or can simply
choose not to. This is easily remedied, however, as the potion does not
single out only one scenario, but changes paths as the situation

Sounds awesome right? Too bad it’s fictional . . . except it’s really not.

Good news people, if you’re Confirmed — you’re on Felix Felicis right now. Except we call it the . . . 

And just like Felix Felicis, all you have to do is listen to it, and nothing can ever go wrong. Because even if it does, it doesn’t really.

I used to be a huge worrier. But somewhere between husband with cancer and missing our train from Rome to Venice (pregnant and with four kids under 7) I started trusting and stopped worrying. Pretty much ever.

I’m still plenty of other things occasionally: late, frustrated, impatient, selfish. But I’m mostly not ever worried, because I’m on Felix Felicis.

Trust me, I know what I’m doing. . . or at least, Felix does.
—Harry Potter

For more see John 16:13-14 and the Catechism 768 and 800.

— 2 —

You are probably familiar with The Night Watch by Rembrandt: The chiaroscuro! the dynamism! those boots! It’s a keeper.

BUT . . . haven’t you always wanted to see this painting come to life flash mob-style in a modern day shopping mall?

Well, here ya go:     You’re welcome. If you don’t see the video above, click here to see it on YouTube.

— 3 —

update from Saturday: I’ve edited this a bit to reflect the fact that I have now read the ending of this book!

Hey, speaking of artistic stuff you’ve probably heard of: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Great, right? Mark Twain, a classic of American Literature, fun for the whole family, so deeply and insistently anti-Catholic that it makes Jack Chick’s tracts look fair and balanced . . . 

Oh wait, you didn’t know that last part? Me neither.

I grabbed the book for free on iBooks as part of my YA time travel research, and I have to say I have been really shocked by that aspect. I KNOW I read this book as a kid, but it must have been an abridged version, or perhaps I just had extraordinarily poor reading comprehension.

Lest you think I exaggerate, here’s a sample:

There you see the hand of that awful power, the Roman Catholic Church.
In two or three little centuries it had converted a nation of men to a
nation of worms. Before the day of the Church’s supremacy in the world,
men were men, and held their heads up, and had a man’s pride and spirit
and independence; and what of greatness and position a person got, he
got mainly by achievement, not by birth. But then the Church came to the
front, with an axe to grind; and she was wise, subtle, and knew more
than one way to skin a cat — or a nation; she invented “divine right of
kings,” and propped it all around, brick by brick, with the Beatitudes
— wrenching them from their good purpose to make them fortify an evil
one; she preached (to the commoner) humility, obedience to superiors,
the beauty of self-sacrifice; she preached (to the commoner) meekness
under insult; preached (still to the commoner, always to the commoner)
patience, meanness of spirit, non-resistance under oppression; and she
introduced heritable ranks and aristocracies, and taught all the
Christian populations of the earth to bow down to them and worship them.

Um . . ouch. 

For more on the anti-Catholicism of Mark Twain’s 19th Century, see here.

So, I guess we Catholics must win the book in the end, it’s rather ambiguous as to what happens after our hero leads his revolution, but since the Catholic Church prevailed in England until King Henry VIII decided he didn’t much care for his wife but didn’t really want to murder her . . . I’m guessing all those priests he disliked so much finally came through. But whatever you may have heard, this is not a book that was ever intended for kids. We’ll be reading Outlaws of Ravenhurst
as a family read aloud instead.


I loved Dr. Gregory Popcak’s recent post on the hot button issue of whether babies and young kids belong in Mass. If you had asked me seven months ago if this was something people had strong feelings about I probably would have replied, “huh?”

But boy oh boy. People who must otherwise be quite pleasant and who certainly consider themselves to be very faithful Catholics are SO MAD about this. The most unpleasant comments I have received on my posts (I’m going to disregard that Aspergers one since a. I deleted it and b. it didn’t have anything to do with the post) have been railing on me for bringing my young children to Mass with me. (I would advise you not to click here or here and wade through the comments to see them.)

Honestly, if I hadn’t read all the controversy it would have never occurred to me to do other than attend Mass together as a family. And I still wouldn’t. But all of this has given me the opportunity to figure out WHY I wouldn’t.

There are many, many reasons I think that babies and young children belong in Mass: they are baptized Catholics just as much as the grownups are, they deserve the graces of the Mass, they’ll never learn to be good in Mass if they’re not there to learn how, etc. But I think the most powerful reason is that the Mass is NOT for OUR edification. 

That may be a side effect, and a lovely side effect indeed, but the full and total and complete and utter point of the Mass is FOR GOD not for us. This is how he has asked us to worship him, so we do it. He also chooses to freely give us the gift of grace, unearned, when we participate in the Mass. But none of that, not the worship of God, nor the graces we receive, are contingent on us feeling like we are having a nice time in Mass. The beauty of the building, the appropriateness of the music, the power of the sermon, the stillness and solemnity of the surroundings, all of these can be wonderful. But none of them is necessary.


God told us how we are to worship him. Jesus insisted that we bring our children to him. Far be it from me to refuse.


Also on the subject of unpleasant commenters, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say: We don’t like what you do and you should stop it right now. 

I’ve mentioned it before, but before I started this blog I had no idea that this whole world of blogs existed. I didn’t know you could subscribe to them, I didn’t ever comment on them, etc.

But I did regularly check three blogs, two of which are written by the same woman: Jen Yates. One is Cake Wrecks, the other is her personal blog, Epbot, which is about crafting and geek culture. My entire blog-writing style is pretty much a rip off of hers. She gives her takes on things with humor and kindness and pop culture references and without being bossy. She also includes lots of pictures. I really enjoy it. So that’s what I try to do as well.


She’s not Catholic, but as far as blogging, I really think she does it just right.

Except now, she’s not doing it anymore. The constant stream of insults and negative comments online have driven her to take an open-ended sabbatical from Epbot. And, seriously, her blog was not controversial or ever, ever mean-spirited.

I understand and support her decision. But I am so sad to see her go. And I’m so frustrated with people who would use the anonymity of the internet to say things to people that they would never dare to say in real life. And now something nice is gone, at least for a while.


Between that Aspergers comment, and the c.r.a.z.y. amount of traffic and number of comments (for my blog anyway) that I got on my same sex marriage and public breastfeeding posts, and now this Epbot thing, I’ve come up with some new policies of my own for dealing with comments.

1. No name calling. People are welcome to disagree with me or with other commenters, but they may not generally disparage me or other people or my or other people’s opinions. Name calling comments get deleted.

2. No speculating. I don’t like comments that purport to tell me what I really meant, or what I’d like to see happen in the future. They are always wrong. Speculative comments get deleted.

3. Give a name, or get one. When I think “anonymous,” I see a Guy Fawkes mask. It is super creepy to imagine having a conversation with that guy. I don’t like it. But, I’m not ready to disable anonymous comments since I know plenty of people just comment anonymously since they can’t figure out how to do otherwise, and many of them sign their names when they do it, or at least they sign *a* name. That’s all I really need to feel comfortable. Especially since they often address ME by name in their comments. But for people who won’t do it themselves, I’ve started assigning them a non-gender-specific name when I respond to them. It makes me feel so much better.

Based on my new criteria, some of those comments I mentioned in number four wouldn’t be there. I probably won’t go back and delete them now, but I sure feel great about the new rules going forward.


And finally, thanks to my Facebook friend Christina for making my whole week with this:


by pupukachoo

Every hour I spent watching all those terrible “classic” Doctor Who episodes (plus the couple of hours I spent watching the ones that weren’t that bad) are now worth it, because I totally GET this painting of owls.

One and two are black and white! Three has fluffy hair! Four has the scarf! Five is blonde and fancy! (Oops, Six, Seven, and Eight weren’t on Netflix.) Nine is all blue-eyed and doesn’t care what you think! Ten is spazzy and has sticky-up hair! Eleven has a bow-tie because bow-ties are cool!

Wow, first Anita’s Owl-themed fourth birthday party last weekend and now this. It’s been a very owl-centric week for me.


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. Melody

    You put together such interesting takes!! I love how you compared Felix Felicis to the Holy Spirit. I just had a Harry Potter marathon earlier this week and rewatched the first 6 movies :).

  2. Kris

    Thanks for the Felix Felicis today. I have something I'm struggling with that it TOTALLY about trusting in God to provide. And I prayed long and hard about it last night. Sure enough, the Gospel reading this morning was about trusting in God and the Holy Spirit, and then I open up your blog and the first thing – trust in the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, I need to be smacked with a 2 x 4, apparently! And bravo for you about the blog rules. I don't blog, but I have several friends IRL that do, and it drives me crazy when people are mean and mean-spirited, just because. Especially when they hide behind Anon…!

  3. Eliese C

    The owls Doctor Who thing is a shirt on Threadless. Got my husband one last Christmas and I really wish it fit me too.

  4. Hannah Reinhard

    Love the owls! I am in strong favor of children attending mass. I have always felt that way and now that I have a child of my own I feel even more strongly about it. The outrage and venom I have witnessed online about the issue has been startling.

  5. Theresa

    Have you heard of a great Catholic kid's apologetics book called "A Philadelphia Catholic in King Arthur's Court"? It's about a young boy who visits a family member (an uncle I think?) somewhere in the deep south and gets accosted by his uncle's protestant friends who try to convert him. He's young, so he wants to be respectful of the adults, but he knows that what they're saying isn't quite right. So the book is about him learning how to defend the Catholic faith by (if I remember correctly) reading the early Church fathers, among other things.

    Your comments about A Connecticut Yankee & YA fiction just made me think of it and I thought you might be interested! I haven't read the whole book, just little pieces, but it's something we carry at our store.

    Good luck with your new commenting rules!

    • Kendra Tierney

      I had not heard of it, but I'd love to check it out. If your bookstore is online, include the link so I can buy it from you, otherwise it's amazon (which I'm guessing you bookstore folks don't love!)

      Do you have any YA time-travel recommendations? I've read Honus and Me, and Connecticut Yankee, and I have Anne Frank and Me coming from the library, but I'd love something more recent.

      Any ideas? Anyone else?

  6. Hannah

    I also had no idea there was a no-kids-under-5-at-mass families-should-go-in-split-shifts crowd. And reading them in your comments (yeah, I went back and looked…) I couldn't believe what they were advocating. Its a recipe for treating the Faith like a Museum for grownups, for teaching kids that the Mass isn't for real life, just for certain well behaved segments of the population.

    "God told us how we are to worship him. Jesus insisted that we bring our children to him. Far be it from me to refuse."

    You summed it up perfectly. Thank you!

  7. Hannah

    This no-babies-at-Mass thing is reminding me of 2 experiences I had, one as a child in a high-church-Anglican parish and the other as my experience going to the pro-life march.

    As a young teen my family (from a more protestant background) started going to this extremely traditional old Anglican church. I fell in love with the liturgy, with the honor and reverence for communion, with the insistence on the Real Presence of Christ in the sacrament, etc. And then there was my baby sister stomping in our pew in her little shoes. And my little acolyte brother accidently swinging his torch about… And intuitively, I felt the sounds belonged together, the sounds of babies and the Holy. But there were some who didn't think so, who got really really really mad about kids being in church. And it was depressing. It felt like they wanted to enjoy all the 'pretty' of liturgy and pomp, but like a good show, and you don't want the kids ruining it. But Mass isn't a show, its God coming down to us. And the pomp and liturgy is for HIM not so we can enjoy the aesthetics, baby free. The Episcopalians (and a good deal of the conservative Anglican split-offs, sadly) are full of those people. Who want the pretty without the pain. Who want traditional liturgy, but no irritating babies gumming it up. And even as a child, it shook me up, the amount of vitriol we got from a certain person. That the pomp and liturgy and sacraments was here for him, to enjoy, and us inconvenient enthusiastic-but-noisy kids were ruining it for him. And one needs only to look at the empty pews to see the results.

    FF years later,
    I had gone with the local Newman center as a college student, so a couple years later, with 2 babies and an obliging twin, I thought we could hop on the 3 hr bus ride down to DC along with the Newman center again. The way down was uneventful. The way back, thank to an ice-storm, turned into 5 HOURS with all the exhausted college kids on the bus trying to sleep. And that's when my kids decided (at 17 mos and 4 mos) to test their lung capacities, maximum levels, in shifts THE ENTIRE 5 HOURS. (accompanied by appropriate thrashing as well). As a new mom, I felt like I had a wild bull on a leash of a wet noodle. I tried everything, even huddling in the portable bathroom at the back of the bus, which did next to nothing to shield the sound from the busload of exhausted kids trying to sleep for 5 hours. At the end, I couldnt' even make eye contact with anyone. And then the priest came over to me, and I started into my prepared speech of this-was-the-dumbest-mistake-i've-made-and-I-swear-I'll-never-do-this-again, when he cut me off my thanking me for coming, and how I was showing my support for life, and how we're on this march to celebrate life and babies, and them giving glory to God with their little lungs.

    I was floored. The love, sincerity, and God's love just radiating from him nearly made me cry. He made me feel like an honored guest, and my screaming kids as miracles of God.

    Life is too complicated to have the 'real life' and then a nice, clean, pretty segment where God can come down. And when He did come down, the first time, it was in a stable. With animals. As a screaming baby.

    • Kendra Tierney

      Hannah, that is SUCH a beautiful story. I'm pregnant, of course, so there's no accounting for me, but I totally didn't know where you were going with it and I may have teared up a bit at the happy ending . . .

      I've had one memorable bad experience (which you'll find in my first post ever) but more experiences than I can count of kind people thanking me for bringing my children somewhere. It reminds me that I really need to get out of my comfort zone and affirm young mothers with crazy kids. Because I remember what that was like.

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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