7 Rambling Monday Takes, Vol. 14 :: Mondays are for . . .

MondayTakes

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Enjoy previous rambling installments here 🙂

1.

Mondays are for . . . Falling asleep during a thunderstorm and waking up to quiet, and being so blessed as to feel happy, refreshed and well. Getting up, offering morning prayers, carrying down my dirty laundry, and spending a few minutes with Lena at the kitchen table while I eat breakfast and read a few paragraphs from Sophia House and she works on a book of recipes.

“Up those stairs, quickly,” he said, pointing to the back of the room. The boy ran through a maze of floor-to-ceiling shelves loaded with books, found the staircase, and scrambled up frantically, leaving a trail of wet shoe prints. Staring through the dusty panes of the display window, the shopkeeper watched the soldiers working their way long the street toward him, banging on every door, smashing those that were locked, and entering each one. It would take them a few minutes to arrive at his door. Losing no more time, he wiped the floor with a rag, and when the trail had been erased he seated himself at the sales desk by the front entrance. When the soldiers threw open the door with a bang, he looked up from a book, met their eyes over the rim of his spectacles, and asked politely in German, “Ja, mein Herr?”

“Bookseller,” one barked, “have you seen a Jew boy run this way?”

2.

Mondays are for . . . Washing dishes at the sink and enjoying it. Last night Mom and Lena cooked an amazing meal, fit for both a Sunday and for The Dash and I’s one-year anniversary of having met for the first time. (After swimming for a few hours, the entire family was famished.)

Anyway, a few dishes had to be soaked overnight: two glass 9x13s, crusted with oven-fried chicken remains, and our two-handle pot with the remnants of homemade macaroni and cheese (maybe because of the way we make it, this always, always has to be soaked overnight). Methodically wiping and scraping and scrubbing until everything’s clean. Then cleaning off the cluttered island and sweeping up a little, and then starting on my laundry loads before sitting at the table (again) and chatting with Mom about planners and such.

3.

Mondays are for . . . Dusting my desk. Somehow, whenever I thoroughly dust my desk (or almost thoroughly: a thorough dust job entails taking off all the books. An almost-thorough dust job entails dusting around the books, but taking off everything else. I chose #2.), I find the need to change my lock screen picture, wallpaper picture, accent color, etc. on my computer. I guess it’s the closest I can come to digital refreshment.

And then cleaning the girl’s bathroom . . . everything gets wiped down, scrubbed over, and swept up. It’s so satisfying (even if I can’t get our shower as miraculously spotless as I would like to).

And then folding more laundry . . . my laundry, as well as all the swimwear from yesterday, which gets put away into the plastic bin in the laundry room until we swim again. (Soon, I’m going to try and make a post about the swimwear we Donellan girls use . . .)

4.

Mondays are for . . . Humming while I clean, listening to Frank Sinatra (just because) and J.J. Heller, because her sweet simplicity and gentleness of voice have been such a balm to my soul lately. She has some gems, including “The Very Thought of You,” “Control,” “Boat Song,” and “Until You Came Along.”

 

5.

Mondays are for . . . Reading various articles and blogs, trying to expand my mind, and somewhat failing to avoid galloping down multiple rabbit trails of interest and indulging in general skimming (I should try to be a more disciplined reader . . . sanguine weaknesses). However, recently, I’ve come across Mariette at The Natural Catholic Mom and I have wholeheartedly enjoyed her posts and been so uplifted by her perspective!

6.

Mondays are for . . . Thinking about how grateful I am for The Dash and our courtship. One year of knowing each other and nine months of courtship have seen a lot of beautiful things. Our nine-month milestone fell on the Feast of the Sacred Heart (which I knew was going to happen) as well as Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom (I did not know this was going to happen; we’ve had a special devotion to her!). Being able to spend a joyful day together yesterday only renewed my gratitude for all God has done for me and for both of us!

7.

Mondays are for . . . Thinking about how much I enjoy I Am David. I had heard of the film years ago, but was reminded of its existence earlier this week while browsing through The Natural Catholic Mom. We wound up streaming it off Prime on Friday night.

I’ve never seen a movie like it. If you look up reviews for it, you’ll find a mixed bag of moderate enjoyment of the story, along with fairly heavy criticism of its execution/ acting/ story portrayal. There might, admittedly, be some technical flaws to the film (and it isn’t a big movie; if you go in expecting it to be a smaller effort, you’ll be much more pleased, I think), there is a quiet, persistent thematic beauty to I Am David, and enough layers of character, interest and emotion to the story, all of which I find entrancing and warming. I would rank it in my top 10 favorites. Watching David’s inner and outer journey taps into my maternal instincts . . . I just want to hug him! But honestly, I love the cinematography of the film most of all.

And as for Jim Caviezel . . . after watching his character in David, I am convinced that he would make the perfect cast for Pawel Tarnowski, the bookseller and main character of the aforementioned Sophia House.

7.

Mondays are for . . . Getting off the computer and back to more important things 😉 I pray you have a blessed rest of your Monday!

Sig

 

 

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“Nothing is so beautiful as spring . . .” (A Woman at Home post)

+J.M.J.+

. . . or thereabouts, anyway.

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What is all this juice and all this joy? A strain of earth’s sweet being in the beginning, in Eden Garden. Have, get, before it cloy, before it cloud, Christ, Lord, and sour with sinning; Innocent mind, and Mayday in girl and boy, most, O Maid’s child, Thy choice, and worthy the winning.

-Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Spring”

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This morning, we drove Lena and our dad to the airport, dropped them off, and drove home under a glorious blue-skied start to a beautiful, chilly March morning. Her visit to Our Lady’s House begins!

Upon returning, I cleaned up a few rooms, made some beds, switched some laundry . . . and then, quite spontaneously, snatched my camera and dove outside to capture some of the “juice and joy.” It was cold and windy, belying all the early-budding trees and flowers. Shivering in my bulky green coat, I only stayed out for a few minutes. But it was so very refreshing. There is intoxicating fun and a strange peace to be found in getting down on your stomach and viewing the world like a baby does.

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I am eighty or so pages into reading aloud The Fellowship of the Ring to my youngest sister, who is still recovering from her cold. This morning, we trekked with the irrepressible hobbits towards Woodhall, evaded the ominous Black Rider, and met Gildor Inglorion together in the quiet sunshine while other family members recuperated with naps from the morning that started in the 5 o’clock hour.

It is a delight: both the story, and reading it aloud to her. Nostalgic in that it brings me back to that time when I was her age (nine years ago!) . . . and new in that the story grows ever stronger and more potent in its images, its themes, its applicability (to use Tolkien’s word) the longer I leave it, like good wine. The Old Winyards, to be precise.

The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began; now far ahead the road has gone, and I must follow if I can, pursuing it with eager feet until it joins some larger way, where many paths and errands meet, and whither then? I cannot say . . .

-J. R. R. Tolkien

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Today is First Friday, and Friday of the Second Week of Lent. It’s strange to be praying my devotions and the Mass by myself, without Lena . . . but at the same time, it has its own beauty and stillness.

In fact, the above verse from Tolkien seems incredibly appropriate for today, the more I ponder it. Our paths are branching, little by little. My road is unfolding in one direction; in hers, another. This brings so much joy and excitement, mixed with the natural bittersweetness. All good things come from God, and to be nearing one’s vocation, one’s path of sanctity, to be able to smell it like salt in the air as one approaches the ocean, is such a very, very good thing. To Him be all the glory! We pursue our paths with eager feet!

Look down, O Lord, to help me: let them be confounded and ashamed together that seek after my soul to take it away: look down, O Lord, to help me.

-Offertory, Friday of the Second Week in Lent

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As I continue to pray for the one-day gift of daily Latin Mass nearby, earlier, I was reading this from Dom Prosper Guéranger, “An Explanation of the Prayers and Ceremonies of Holy Mass” and thought it particularly beautiful:

Having made the sign of the Cross, the Priest says the Antiphon: “Introibo ad altare Dei,” as an introduction to the 42nd Psalm. This Antiphon is always said, both before and after the Psalm, which he at once begins: “Judica me Deus.” He says the whole of it, alternately with the Ministers. This Psalm was selected on account of the verse “Introibo ad altare Dei: I will go unto the altar of God.” It is most appropriate as a beginning to the Holy Sacrifice. We may remark here, that the Church always selects the Psalms she uses, because of some special verse which is appropriate to what she does, or to what she wishes to express. The Psalm, of which we are now speaking, was not in the more ancient Missals: its usage was established by Pope Pius the Fifth, in 1568. When we hear the Priest saying this Psalm, we understand to whom it refers:- it refers to our Lord, and it is in his name, that the Priest recites it. We are told this by the very first verse: “Ab homine iniquo et doloso erue me: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man.”

The verse here used as an Antiphon, shows us, that David was still young when he composed this Psalm; for, after saying, that he is going to the Altar of God, he says: “Ad Deum, qui laetificat juventutem meam: To God, who giveth joy to my youth.” He expresses astonishment at his soul being sad; and, at once, cheers himself, by rousing his hope in God; hence, his song is full of gladness. It is on account of the joy which is the characteristic of this Psalm, that holy Church would have it be omitted in Masses for the Dead, in which we are about to pray for the repose of a soul, whose departure from this life leaves us in uncertainty and grief. It is omitted, also, during Passiontide, in which season, the Church is all absorbed in the sufferings of her divine Spouse; and these preclude all joy.

This 42nd Psalm is an appropriate introduction to the Mass, inasmuch as it in our Lord whom it will bring among us. Who is He that is to be sent to the Gentiles, but He that is Light and Truth? David foresaw all this; and, therefore, he uttered the prayer: “Emitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam.” We take his prayer and make it ours; and we say to our heavenly Father: “send forth Him, who is thy Light and thy Truth!”

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Small things are beautiful; folding a stack of laundry, brewing a pitcher of tea, wiping off a counter, sitting across the table from my mother, faking (very bad) English country accents for hobbit’s voices, kissing a sibling’s hair, praying the Rosary while driving, taking the time to capture moss growing on a log in a certain transformative slant of morning sunlight.

There is a stillness that, eventually, comes with simplicity. I don’t always have it, because I often go about things the complicated and absorbed way. When I have the brains to seek out the simplicity, that disconnecting from noise, and when I begin to hear in my heart a stirring of hope for a future family, a future life, a future culture built around the Holy Faith, around books and conversations and the old-fashioned, simple, homey things–then stillness comes.

The further I travel into this Lent, the more deeply I am drawn towards my future wifehood and motherhood being built upon simplicity and quiet of heart. I am at the very beginning . . . I don’t exactly know what all it entails yet. I’m sure I’ll be constantly learning as the years elapse. For now, I do know it means openness to life and radical unselfishness; it means the family table; it means cooking and singing together; it means reading aloud books together in the evening, discussing all of life’s aspects with enthusiasm and a desire for truth, engaging and building up one another in the warmth of the family heart as our means of recreation and leisure. It means daily Mass (God-willing!) and the daily family Rosary; it means a healthy and wholesome lifestyle of homeschooling and tradition and solid work and pure playfulness, of living in community while protecting the integrity of our family; it means service and sacrifice; it means steadfastness, fidelity, and prayer; it means wanting to be saints and believing that is very the purpose of our lives. A perfect quote from Mary Reed Newland’s We and Our Children made it into my Commonplace Book the other week:

Simplicity of soul is one of the prerequisites of sanctity, and it is one of the things our children already possess. We must be very careful not to contribute to the great cluttering-up. We must make a heroic effort to rid our lives of all but one motive, that “impractical” spirituality of the saints, a life in union with God. If this is the undercurrent of our existence, then we can expect the spiritual training of our children to bear fruit.

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Next week, The Dash and I arrive at half a year of courtship! That seems unbelievable! Half a year since I sat in the pew with him, the first Sunday of our relationship, and was greeted by the words of the Offertory:

The Angel of the Lord shall encamp round about them that fear Him, and shall deliver them: O taste and see that the Lord is sweet!

How overwhelming is God’s goodness! St. Raphael, ora pro nobis.

Smiling, I just now remembered a certain paragraph out of The Wife Desired:

Ordinarily, love begins for a young girl when she becomes well enough acquainted with a young man to develop a spiritual affinity with him. She admired his qualities and abilities. She likes his attitude toward life in general. She begins to feel at ease, at home in his presence. Then other things begin to happen. A simple phone call brings a flutter to her heart. Her pulse quickens when he calls at her home. She has eyes for no one but him.

With reason she wonders whether she is in love. Her doubts will vanish when she reaches the point of growth in love where all her being reaches out for him in the effort to bring him happiness. Her own whims and desires fade into the background. His happiness is her only real concern.

What a beautiful and brilliantly wise description of the God-given journey I am still undertaking! Half a year is a grossly insignificant amount of time when it comes to even beginning to get used to how much God has blessed me with The Dash, and how wonderful, steady and virtuous a man he is.

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The rest of today . . . well, for me, it’s quiet and full of sunshine, carrying the diffused scent of eucalyptus essential oil; I’ve got some tutoring planning to sort through, although that may spill over into tomorrow . . . then there’s the Daily Full Meal (should I trademark that Lenten expression?) and the evening with the family (hopefully Stations of the Cross will be part of it). May the rest of your day be very blessed! Please do pray for Lena as she visits Our Lady’s House 🙂

Sig

My Vocabulary Lesson for the Day

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How long ago was it? Two or three weeks? Well, whenever it was, my mind randomly remembered something called a Commonplace Book, and I thought it might be nice to try and keep one up: to record various bits of information and assorted quotations that I wanted to save and ponder in a handwritten, old-fashioned way.

It hasn’t been particularly regular so far, but I’ve written down some meaty quotes from Newland’s We and Our Children, from Fr. James Mawdsley, FSSP, and Fr. Augustine Wetta’s Humility Rules (as snagged from Lena’s post on fasting). My handwriting is a little rambling, which matches perfectly with the workings of my brain.

Today, however, I wrote down three words and their accompanying definitions . . . one word that I had positively never heard of before (a real shock for this presumed wordsmith), and all three words possessing meanings that I didn’t really know at all. I’d heard of the other two words, but only had the vaguest notion of what they might mean.

Two words were from this morning’s (stupendous) section from Chapter One of Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child; and one word was from Fr. Ripperger’s homily (remember, Penanceware!) on the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which I listened to this morning.

So, I thought that I would brighten your potentially humdrum Thursday afternoon by sharing with you my newfound knowledge, and my three new pet words. 😉

Concatenation

This one completely bent my mind. How do I even say this? How many C’s and N’s are in this darned word?!

Concatenation. A noun derived from the adjective Concatenate, which is pronounced “cun-CAT-eh-net.” So, “cun-CAT-eh-nation.” You’re welcome.

Concatenate :: linked together

Concatenation :: a series of interconnected events, concepts; the act of linking together; the state of being joined

Refractory

All right, so I’d heard of this one somewhat before; refracted angles, refracted light, that sort of thing. And I knew how to pronounce it, which lifted my sodden spirits a little after being so overwhelmed by concatenation.

Refractory. An adjective as well.

Refractory :: showing or characterized by obstinate resistance to authority or control

Refulgence

Similarly, I’d heard this one used before, probably most frequently in prayers . . . and, fittingly, this was the word Fr. Ripperger used in describing the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady. (Please do listen to that homily! And make the penance! 😉 )

I knew it meant something good or beautiful, roughly . . .

Refulgence. A noun.

Refulgence :: a radiant or resplendent quality or state: brilliance.

It may sound a trifle silly, but somehow, I feel so excited to have expanded my vocabulary, to have discovered mysterious words and copied down their definitions like I used to do in school with Wordly Wise.

Although the old adage holds true that “you never stop learning,” and I hope I’m learning and expanding my mind every day . . . there are times when I wistfully wish I could go back and redo some of my grade- and high school subjects with more appreciation and enthusiasm–but it has dawned on me that, God-willing, homeschooling my future children will be a major Round 2 of my education! And in the meantime, I’ll keep reading my concatenation of educational and inspirational books 😉

A blessed feast of St. John of Matha to you all!

Sig

 

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

 

Current Happiness

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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