Around here (and pondering largeness of heart)

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Mary, sipping from her faithful giant red cup of water

A very blessed feast of good St. John Bosco to you all! I just have to say that Lena has been churning out her most exceptional blog posts ever . . . really. And this was one of the most exceptional of her exceptional ones. My heart echoes every word, but of course only her words could put it that way to begin with.

I’ve been reading these posts of hers daily. I currently have a copy of Butler’s Lives of the Saints traveling towards me from the distant Amazon, for the purposes of increased spiritual reading, but Our Lord is unexpectedly providing me with my sister’s amazingness in the meantime. (Not that her amazingness is unexpected.)

Inwardly, I’m determined I’m going to submit all these posts somewhere once she’s gone to the convent and helpless about the fate of her former possessions 😉 Not many people have sisters like I do . . . no offense to any one else’s sisters, of course.

Please do follow Ut Cum Electis Videamus if you already don’t! You will be so blessed! 🙂

So yes . . . Around here. Two little words, such a lot that they can encompass.

So much has been on my mind: all these different vicissitudes of a person’s life that ebb and flow with strength and color, but are too much to post about. However, lately, my life has been one of rhythm (mostly) and work.

Getting up at 6 every morning is something to mention. The wonderful Dash has to do it for school 5 days a week, and I couldn’t exactly let him do it alone when I could (ahem, should) be acting upon the Heroic Minute already. The greatest benefit of it? Getting downstairs before everyone else (after Dad has left for work). Being the one to open the blinds, turn on the lamps, “wake up the living room,” and pray alone for a while. Essentially, I give Our Lord one paltry inch of effort; He bestows on me a mile of blessings.

This morning, I was offering my usual assortment of morning prayers, and meanwhile there was a gorgeous sunrise occurring over our backyard. (It was cold this morning, somewhere in the 20’s . . .) Skyward, there were striations of orange, pink and lavender, the sharp silhouette of a flying crow; and below, there was all this glimmering early sunlight that rose up over our deck, pushed through the living room windows, and spilled onto the carpet and couches.

I felt so grateful for the silence and stillness, the time to pray alone, and the opportunity to be joining with The Dash in the Heroic Minute. And then I looked up at the image of the Sacred Heart and had a moment of self-knowledge. (By which I mean the real kind . . .) O Lord, I can do this for the love of another human being, through the spirit of mutual assistance, but so far I haven’t proven myself willing to do it just for the love of Thee; not for very long. I’m sorry.

And yet, how good God is: He knows intimately my weakness and has provided me a pathway to growing in yet another virtue through this courtship. I am so undeserving of His gentle love towards me.

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The Propers for St. John Bosco

Mass this morning was at Sarasota with Fr. Bartholomew. The Propers for St. John Bosco are distinctly beautiful. Lena wrote about this topic so eloquently, but I have to parrot her just a little, now that she’s taught me how to feel about St. John Bosco. If it weren’t for him, if it weren’t for his holy passion towards the formation of Godly young men and the orders and traditions that sprang from that, our family really might not have Fraternus–we really might not have the Latin Mass as our foundation and joy. What a thought.

But back to the Propers. Don’t you love the Introit?

God gave to him wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart as the sand that is on the sea shore. (Psalm) Praise the Lord, ye children: praise ye the name of the Lord.

The Gospel:

And Jesus calling unto Him a little child, set him in the midst of them, and said: Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven and he that shall receive one such little child in My name, receiveth Me.

And the Offertory . . .

Come, children, hearken to me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

How I desire to have St. John Bosco’s largeness of heart and his zeal for childlike souls! I pray that, God-willing, I will be given that great blessing of being a mother, to have the joy of rearing and forming children in the fear of the Lord, after his example.

Segueing from this thought: Yesterday, in a fit of zealous spontaneity, I raided my mother’s bookshelf as a way of additional vocation preparation.

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Aren’t these self-taken photos mortifying?

We and Our Children; Your School of Love; Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum; Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child.

We and Our Children: How to Make a Catholic Home filled me with particular excitement. The first two sentences of the back cover blurb are more enticing than a dark chocolate bar. Quite seriously.

How does one develop a space for one’s children free from the worst aspects of the surrounding culture? How to foster a spiritual life where children can develop a vision of God, themselves, and the world, and an approach to Him through prayer and the habits of daily life?

Do tell me!!!

This volume was published in the 50’s, back when the Old Calendar/Latin Mass was still the norm, and I would naturally expect a more traditional tenor for the book . . . the very first page had me.

If we must face the fact that death is inevitable (and we certainly must) and that eternity begins right on its heels, then to imitate the saints is not impractical, but quite as practical as it is possible to be . . . And when you realize that the spiritual life thrives in proportion as we cultivate the life of God in our souls, then to attempt a spirituality like the saints’ is the only kind of living that makes sense.

The table of contents informs me that this book will be much-beloved by me as I eagerly anticipate the possibilities of my future vocation. This is my favorite paragraph so far, taken from the first chapter:

That he is loved by God is very easy for a child to believe. He is hungry to be loved, and it is a hunger God planted in him. His reaction to the knowledge of God’s love is perfect faith. It is no accident, nor is it a matter of taking advantage of his emptiness of knowledge. The virtue of faith is his at the moment of Baptism, infused into his soul by the Holy Spirit. What we see happening in our children when we introduce the revelation that there is a God and He loves them, is inevitable. It is the first movement in them of the divine virtue of faith, responding to the word of God. It slips into the life of a child so easily, so without fanfare or excitement, that we hardly notice that it has happened.

The other books intrigued me for their similar themes, though they fall slightly more onto the homeschooling side of things than the domestic church side. Designing Your Classical Curriculum particularly interested me, due to the fact that the co-op at which I tutor is built off the Classical Trivium method of learning (grammar, logic/dialectic, and rhetoric).

Moving on . . .

Today, the last day of the month, is traditionally my day to redo all my calendars, and have a look at my schedule for the upcoming month; I love getting organized (although that implies that I generally have some disorganization to climb out of . . .).

I also took the time to plan and organize my materials for next week’s co-op class. I used lots of color-coordinated Sharpies and felt quite happy 🙂

The remainder of today will involve me rounding up my brother and his mind for a waltz through grammar and more of Enemy Brothers (hopefully). The guys will be off to Fraternus and the Donellan ladies will have a blissful reunion with our beloved Little Men.

Lena and I’s TLM prayer group has been reading through A Map of Life, and for our last meeting we read and discussed Sheed’s incredible passages on the Holy Trinity (along with a lot more . . .). I think it’s been making me contemplate the Holy Trinity much more lately . . . every time I bless myself, in particular . . . which can’t be a bad thing . . .

In thus setting down some of the elements of what God has revealed to us of His own innermost life (i.e., the Trinity of Persons), it is clear that the mystery remains, but it is mystery in the sense indicated earlier in this chapter–the reconciliation remains invisible to us, but it is rather the invisibility that comes from too much light than from sheer darkness. Thus it is an invitation to the mind. Already, the mind is freed by it from the awful weight of God conceived as solitary in infinity, with no adequate object of His infinite love. And new richness comes into our contemplation of human nature: thus human fatherhood is an immeasurably greater thing as a shadow of the Divine Fatherhood than it could ever be in its own right: the human soul is only the more like to God for its faculties of intellect and will, since in God Thought (i.e., the Son) and Love (i.e., the Holy Ghost) not only exist, but. subsist as Persons: and the Unity of the Church takes on a new immensity when Christ proposes as its model the Unity of the Triune God.

I listened to a talk by Fr. Ripperger the other day on fasting . . . a clarion call for the upcoming holy season of Lent. It has strongly re-motivated me to cultivate this virtue. Do find it on Sensus Traditionis and listen to it . . . and don’t forget to comply with the requirements of Penanceware afterwards 😉

I recently realized that, next week, The Dash and I will already be at 5 whole months of courtship! How is that even possible?!? I am so blessed. Our good God is teaching me every day, through this man, how to grow in largeness of heart.

Have a lovely remainder of your day! And let’s all keep praying for Baby Isaac’s complete miraculous healing . . . Mater amabilis, ora pro nobis.

Sig

 

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“It’s a proof of His Divinity”: Fr. James Mawdsley, FSSP

Well, it seems today is a day for sharing snippets of things . . . but over the weekend, Lena and I discovered a video of an FSSP priest’s conversion and vocation story. (Nefariously, she has beaten me to posting about it.)

Remember me writing about Warrington over the past few months?

warrington

Well, this priest, Fr. James Mawdsley, was there until November of last year; we may have even watched a Mass that he offered . . .

It was the most amazing, beautiful, inspiring video I have possibly ever watched. This priest, through sharing his story and his love of God and the Latin Mass with unrehearsed eloquence and conviction, renewed and uplifted my deepest love: love of God, love of Holy Mass as given us in the traditional liturgy. I was crying by the end. So, naturally, this video must be shared here. 🙂

Praise God for fervent priests! Let us pray for them!

O Lord, grant us priests!
O Lord, grant us holy priests!
O Lord, grant us many holy priests!

Sig

Four Necessities for Every Happy Home

Family

I was reading Fr. Lasance’s The Catholic Girl’s Guide just now, in particular his quoted section “The Art of Being Happy,” (which somehow I had never read before!?), by Rev. Matthew Russell. And I was so moved by Fr. Russell’s words in Section II that I had to run straight back upstairs to my computer and post it immediately 😉

What an inspiration and a challenge these words are to me. How often I fail in contributing to the happiness and unity of my family’s home. These words reminded me of the vital role I play in securing happiness, or the lack thereof, for my family and our little church–simply by my small choices either to be generous or selfish, pliant or rigid. I pray I’ll be given the grace to obeying Fr. Russell’s words of loving admonition purposefully from my heart . . . and that my future home will be built upon these truths!

What is it that secures happiness in a home?

Before everything, religion: let all love well our good God, let all say their prayers morning and night, let all put their trust in divine providence.

In the next place, union: let the members of the household be affectionate toward one another, having only one heart and one soul, not saying or doing anything that may pain any one of them.

Then again, the spirit of sacrifice: we must be ready to do without something in order to make another member of the family enjoy it, we must give up our own personal tastes to conform to the tastes of others.

Finally, pliancy of character: not to be hard to deal with, touchy, sour, proud, not to be obstinately rooted in one’s ideas, not to grow impatient about mere nothings, but to have a large mind and a generous heart.

A family whose members possess these qualities is a paradise on earth.

May God bless your Monday! 🙂

P.S. And may God reward you for your continued prayers for Baby Isaac! He is improving little by little, so let us all keep storming Heaven with perseverance and confidence for his full healing! Again, here is the link for updates: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Prayers-for-Baby-Isaac-1977272082313227/posts/?ref=page_internal

Sig

Current Happiness

sitting n thinking

Happy feast of St. Polycarp, Martyr!

O God, Who dost gladden us by the annual feast of blessed Polycarp, Thy Martyr and Bishop: mercifully grant that we, who celebrate his heavenly birthday, may also rejoice in his protection. Through our Lord.

I’ve been gathering up a little collection of happy items over this past week that I’ve been wanting to post about . . . and now Friday is already arrived, so I’d better get to chronicling things!

Fr. Lasance’s Rule of Life

The newest thing comes first, as it’s naturally freshest on my mind 😉 Lena has a spiritual director and it has been a beautiful and deeply helpful experience for her over the past several years. I’ve prayed for Our Lord to direct my heart towards this possibility if it’s His Will for my spiritual life, and I’m not sure what the future years might hold in this regard.

I do know, however, that I need direction; of course the direction of the Magisterium and sacred Tradition, the wisdom of the saints, the care of my parents . . . but also a fatherly direction as I attempt to navigate the thorny path of becoming a saint with all of my weaknesses and faults in tow. This real hunger for direction has come over me in ebbing and flowing waves, especially across the past year, and I have brought it to prayer, asking God to enlighten me as I’ve been uncertain as what He wants me to do with this hunger.

Jokingly, I have sometimes termed the late Fr. Lasance as my adopted spiritual director, but it was only this morning that, rising early, I grabbed The Catholic Girl’s Guide on a whim and brought it downstairs for my morning devotions while everyone else was still asleep (except for Dad, off to work as he was) . . . and eventually opened up to his Rule of Life. Reading over it, I experienced great enlightenment and encouragement. For now, for this moment: this is wise, priestly and loving direction for my daily living!

A Rule of Life – PDF

I’ve resolved to read over this rule of life every morning, and to seek to apply it with increasing faithfulness to my day, according to my capacity and means. It’s inspired me to find a nightly Examen from Fish Eaters, as well as to purchase a copy of Butler’s Lives of the Saints.

Voces8 – Equinox

My favorite vocal ensemble of all time, Voces8, recently released a brand-new album . . . and I am in bliss!

Equinox

For “Ave Maris Stella” alone, I am overwhelmingly indebted forever . . . Lena and I both agree that it is the closest thing we have heard that even begins to approach something worthy of Our Lady. Listen to it, and pray it! A tiny sliver of her unimaginable beauty is in it!

Hail, O Star of the ocean,
God’s own Mother blest,
ever sinless Virgin,
gate of heav’nly rest.    

Taking that sweet Ave,
which from Gabriel came,
peace confirm within us,
changing Eve’s name.

Break the sinners’ fetters,
make our blindness day,
Chase all evils from us,
for all blessings pray.

Show thyself a Mother,
may the Word divine
born for us thine Infant
hear our prayers through thine.

Virgin all excelling,
mildest of the mild,
free from guilt preserve us
meek and undefiled.

Keep our life all spotless,
make our way secure
till we find in Jesus,
joy for evermore.

Praise to God the Father,
honor to the Son,
in the Holy Spirit,
be the glory one. Amen.

But all the other tracks! “Pie Jesu”! “Joseph, lieber Joseph mein”! And the stunningly difficult “The Passing of the Year” movement . . . I have been in musical heaven for the past few days.

As well as being treated to a brand-new album, I have also been listening more deeply to their Winter, which up until now I’d only given a cursory listen to. “In the Deep Midwinter” ranks very, very high.

Winter

Weekly Work

And finally, my assortment of weekly work has been going well! Tutoring on Tuesday went smoothly and fun, and my remaining week has been mostly divided up between different writing projects, which has been a lot like digging for oil . . . you hit a hundred dry spots and, at last, you strike, and the thrill of success erases the memories of all previous toil and drudgery 😉

I would write for longer, but it’s nearly time for Fribourg Mass, so I’m off to celebrate the martyrdom of good St. Polycarp. I pray you have a blessed weekend! It’s difficult to believe January is almost over!

P. S. Yes, I at last changed my signature to the correct Latin. In Corde Mariae. Sigh.

Sig

Prayers for Baby Isaac Facebook Page

I wanted to share the Facebook page that is providing updates on Baby Isaac, and which also gives an opportunity to donate to the family. As of now, the seizures have subsided . . . let us continue to pray, and not hesitate to ask others for their prayers as well!

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Prayers-for-Baby-Isaac-1977272082313227/posts/?ref=page_internal

Sig