December 15th, 2027

11752639_469072239935977_554516858742376419_nThe chief thing is to get women to take part in socially productive labor, to liberate them from ‘domestic slavery,’ to free them from their stupefying [idiotic] and humiliating subjugation to the eternal drudgery of the kitchen and the nursery. This struggle will be a long one, and it demands a radical reconstruction, both of social technique and of morale. But it will end in the complete triumph of Communism.

– V L A D I M I R   L E N I N ,   1 9 2 0

Do you know what? Exactly ten years from today, it will be mid-morning on Wednesday, December 15th, 2027, in the third week of Advent.

What makes this entirely random fact so interesting? A question I came across yesterday.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? And do you like what you see?

Upon first glance, I didn’t give the question much pause for thought. But I did release an involuntary smile over the possibility of where I could be in ten years: a wife, mother, and keeper of the hearth! What more could I want on earth?

Yes, I like what I see.

And I moved on from the question. But this morning, it’s circled back around to me as an interesting muse for a post. (And I’m rather shocked that it’s already Friday and I haven’t written a thing here since Monday, so I feel the need to make up a little.)

Exactly ten years from today, I’ll be 31 years old. And that in itself sounds delightful. In my mind, the words “31 years old” brim with possibilities and future graces. And probably a little weight gain. But that’s okay. I’m not afraid of growing older.

Ten years! God-willing, I could be married and have several children by the time I’m 31! (My youngest sister and I have sometimes played a mental game, in which we tried to calculate the most children we could feasibly have in a given time frame. It’s a step up from making a list of names. But I won’t frighten readers.) I can only imagine the stories I might be able to tell in ten years’ time. What will I be like? What will I look like, sound like? I think it’s tempting to imagine the manifold ways I’ll have grown, matured and advanced in virtue . . . while slightly less tempting, though probably far more accurate, to acknowledge the ways I will have probably remained the same me, in spite of ten years.

Mary’s guardian angel: “What? Ten years, and she’s only done this?!”

* * *

Ten years from today, it will be mid-morning, and just ten days before Christmas. My children will probably be romping around in cardboard and duck tape (excuse me, armor), and I probably will not have showered yet because, while I naturally appreciate and seek after a wholesome kind of order and schedule in the home, I am not militaristically organized and today will, most likely, be one of those Flexible Days of Survival.

My beloved small castle, (not yet decorated for Christmas, but with an Advent wreath on the table surrounded by workbooks and Saint Lucy coloring sheets) will probably be somewhat tidy, somewhat cluttered (though I’ll already be mentally planning the time to go and clean up those Vital Areas before my husband gets home, since I would really love for him to not experience the feeling of coming home to an absolute zoo . . . no, wait, to tell the children to do the cleaning up! I forgot about them).

The front room will need to be vacuumed (I will be in the process of getting to that), but the throw-pillows are straight and the blankets folded up from the evening before, because I’m still a determined surface preserver.

Although outside will most likely be gray, brown and wet, inside I will have the stimulating sensation of shoveling in a blizzard. Propping the Current Baby of the family (the Current Baby shall not be left out of this post) on my hip, I’ll be alternately wiping sticky crumbs off the counter from breakfast, unloading the next plate from the dishwasher, and recalling what meat is left in the freezer for later on that night. Then comes a hot flow of spit-up down my shirt. I handle it with professional calm and proceed to unload the spoons.

On the kitchen fridge, there’ll be a family photo (rumpled because the toddler found it one day), a grocery list, eighty-five filthy finger smudges I need to wipe off, an invitation to a Christmas party I’m fervently hoping to get to with my husband so I can savor a little time with him, regale my close friends with my daily domestic antics and drink a little wine . . . there will be some alphabet magnets (most, however, will be on the floor), a dry-erase calendar in a constant state of change . . . and, high-up so as to preserve it from disaster, a lovely hand-drawn picture of the Holy Family that Sr. Alphonsus of the Merciful Gaze of Mary (my imaginary invention for Lena’s future professed name . . . perhaps my kids will call her “Aunt Alphy” 😀 ) mailed to the children from the convent.

(You notice that I carefully avoid the topic inside the fridge. I don’t have enough courage to peer that far yet.)

I’ll be hearing shrieks, giggles, and arguments over swords and forts coming from the den (the throw pillows and blankets will be back on the floor again) . . . or is it the stairs? They had better not be hanging off the rails. “Mamaaaa! Mamaaaa!” I’ll know the indignant screams aren’t coming from one seriously injured or seriously wronged, and I’ll begin sticking glasses into the dishwasher, left-handed.

I’ll have a tomboy girl who will be constantly causing me exasperated curiosity as to how to (one day) impart all my high, lovely thoughts about authentic femininity to her. This lass will currently have the shield and sword and will be whacking her brother across the rear.

The Current Baby will then begin wailing from a sudden onset of ravenous hunger, though surely it’s only been five minutes since I nursed last . . . ?

Most likely, I will have a well-meaning and responsible oldest child who will be at the table, working at spelling words and trying to teach the toddler not to color St. Lucy’s skin purple, but who rises at the sound of the Current Baby wailing, comes over to where I am (convinced that all the baby needs is Oldest Sib) and starts plucking at the wet, stinking onesie. “Can I hold him?” the oldest child asks plaintively.

“Actually, I need you to finish loading the dishwasher for me, dear.” (See how calm I’ll be?)

My oldest’s eyes fill with distaste. An exaggerated sigh. Haven’t I raised my children virtuously? I panic interiorly. Why aren’t they cheerfully obeying right away? I lift my eyebrow and give a proper attitude correction. The child humbly complies with a, “Yes, ma’am,” and my spirits lift.

But then the phone will begin ringing, and the oldest will scamper away. (My children will invariably know where the phone is, even if I do not.)

My oldest grins delightedly at the caller ID and pounces on the phone. “Hi Daddy!”

“I want to talk to him!!!!!!!!!” I call (with interior desperation) at the retreating figure, over the poor screaming Current Baby. However, in that moment I will need to snatch survival, and so I’ll retreat to the quiet master bedroom, shut the door, and nurse the baby to sleep, meditating on what colorful extracts from the day I’ll weave into a cheerful narrative for my husband that night.

I will be so lulled by the quiet and serene beauty of my Current Baby that with great suddenness my maternal instincts will start blaring. I will have learned by then that quietness is the sound of doom.

I’ll leave the baby asleep and emerge to find a messy mini-disaster that will involve discipline and half an hour of supervised cleaning up . . .

And on the day will go: December 15th, 2027, with me being 31 years old.

* * *

Why did I quote Lenin at the beginning of this post? Because his words are the antithesis of my dreams for the future. What he perceived as slavery, I know to be freedom and fulfillment. The very things he speaks of with detestation, I look at with both realism and reverence. This post was, in part, inspired by a video I watched this morning from Mary’s Secretary.

I’m a cheerful and optimistic person by nature, so perhaps it seems that I’m sometimes over-idealizing a futuristic day in which I will be a stay-at-home mother. My vocation, whatever its twists and turns, will be my crucible for holiness; I know it will be difficult; I anticipate crosses, because it comes straight from the loving hands of the King of the Cross. I’m flawed and I will fail often. Some nights, I expect I’ll cry myself to sleep. Some days, I’m sure I’ll look at Our Lord and tell Him I can’t do it anymore . . . and then move on and do it.

But that doesn’t exclude the real beauty, wonder and loveliness of the life I anticipate. It doesn’t mean the little, chaotic details aren’t charming and funny in their innocence and normalcy. It doesn’t mean I won’t find utter delight and deep peace in fulfilling my role as a woman, in living out my vocation as a creature of God, in loving and serving my future family.

If “drudgery” only means “very hard work” I admit the woman drudges in the home . . . but if it means that the hard work is more heavy because it is trifling, colorless and of small import to the soul, then as I say, I give it up. I do not know what the words mean.

-G. K.  Chesterton

So here’s to the next ten years!

Latinsig2

 

 

 

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Walk Pure in His Presence (belonging to the Angelic Warfare Confraternity)

jesus-mary-joseph
The Most Pure Hearts of the Holy Family

During a vision she received in 1929, Our Lord bestowed a mystical cincture of purity on St. Faustina Kowalska:

During Holy Mass, before Communion, we had the renewal of vows. When we had left our kneelers and had started to recite the formula for the vows, Jesus appeared suddenly at my side clad in a white garment with a golden girdle around His waist, and He said to me, I give you eternal love that your purity may be untarnished and as a sign that you will never be subject to temptations against purity. Jesus took off His golden cincture and tied it around my waist.

Since then I have never experienced any attacks against this virtue, either in my heart or in my mind. I later understood that this was one of the greatest graces which the Most Holy Virgin Mary had obtained for me, as for many years I had been asking this grace of Her.

-from Diary, 40

 

When I was a twelve-year-old in Adoration, this paragraph took me strongly aback, and now, nearly a decade later, it strikes me all the more. To never even be subject to temptations to the sin of impurity! It was the first time I had ever read anything to do with a cincture being mystically bestowed on a saint for the preservation of their chastity and purity. However, thanks to God’s goodness, it wasn’t to be the last.

The raging of spiritual warfare goes largely unseen, and yet, of course, it is all too real. For the vast majority of Church Militant, we’re embroiled in a fight to preserve our chastity and purity, no matter our life situation: daily combating temptations left and right, thanks to the perversions of our culture and our own concupiscence.

“More souls go to hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.”

-Our Lady of Fatima

Almost ten years passed after I first read that paragraph from St. Faustina. And then a new, yet similar, story befell me. My fourteen-year-old brother, who took St. Thomas Aquinas for his Confirmation patron last February, was the one who informed us of, and drew us all into, a special Confraternity, established for the protection of chastity and purity. And now, for well over a year, I’ve belonged to the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, along with the rest of my family.

The Confraternity’s website relates its origins through the story of St. Thomas Aquinas (you can find the full story by following the link):

File:Saint Thomas Aquinas Diego Velázquez.jpgImmediately, St. Thomas snatched a burning brand from the hearth, drove the woman [his brothers had brought to him] out of the room, slammed the door behind her, and emblazoned the sign of the cross on the door with the red-hot brand. He then fell to his knees with tears of thanksgiving and prayed to be preserved in his chastity, purity, and intention to live the religious life.

According to the records of his canonization, Thomas fell at once into a mystical sleep and had a vision. Two angels came to him from heaven and bound a cord around his waist, saying, “On God’s behalf, we gird you with the girdle of chastity, a girdle which no attack will ever destroy.” In the records of his canonization, many different witnesses who knew St. Thomas at different points in his life remarked about his evidently high degree of purity and chastity. The angels’ gift preserved St. Thomas from sexual temptation and bestowed upon him an enduring purity that ennobled all his thoughts and actions. Pope Pius XI wrote: “If St. Thomas had not been victorious when his chastity was in peril, it is very probable that the Church would never have had her Angelic Doctor.”

Over his lifetime, St. Thomas’s conduct revealed that he had indeed received a special grace of chastity and purity – a grace that he is now ready to share with others through the communion of saints.

Here, again, was the story of a saint being bestowed with a supernatural gift from God towards the preservation of chastity and purity!

“Behold, we gird thee by the command of God with the girdle of chastity, which henceforth will never be imperiled. What human strength can not obtain, is now bestowed upon thee as a celestial gift.”

The angels to St. Thomas Aquinas

And this is the foundation of the Angelic Warfare Confraternity: that its members, enrolled by a priest with the necessary faculties (which means not every priest can enroll), gird themselves with a blessed and knotted cord (or medal) for life, and promise to pray specific prayers, every day, for the grace of being preserved from all sins against chastity and purity in thought, word or action. They ask for this grace, both for themselves and all members of the Confraternity.

These prayers, namely, are fifteen Hail Marys, offered for diverse intentions relating to chastity and purity:

  1. For our social and cultural climate
  2. For our relationships
  3. For modesty in dress and movements
  4. For our five senses
  5. For our sensuality
  6. For our imagination
  7. For our memory
  8. For our power of estimation
  9. For our affectivity
  10. For our intellect
  11. For our will
  12. For our conscience
  13. For our hearts
  14. For self-surrender
  15. For love

as well as two beautiful prayers, one addressed to Our Lord, the other to St. Thomas Aquinas:

Dear Jesus,
I know that every perfect gift,
and especially that of chastity,
depends on the power of Your providence.
Without You a mere creature can do nothing.
Therefore, I beg You to defend by Your grace
the chastity and purity of my body and soul.
And if I have ever sensed or imagined anything
that could stain my chastity and purity,
blot it out, Supreme Lord of my powers,
that I may advance with a pure heart in Your love and service,
offering myself on the most pure altar of Your divinity
all the days of my life. Amen.

Chosen lily of innocence, pure St. Thomas,
who kept chaste the robe of baptism,
and became an angel in the flesh after being girded by two angels,
I implore you to commend me to Jesus, the Spotless Lamb,
and to Mary, the Queen of Virgins.
Gentle protector of my purity, ask them that I,
who wear the holy sign of your victory over the flesh,
may also share your purity,
and after imitating you on earth
may at last come to be crowned with you among the angels. Amen. 

Chastity, according to one’s state in life, is every Christian’s battle. If, as Our Lady of Fatima said, more souls are damned because of the sin of impurity than for any other reason, then in that context, surely it’s against these temptations that we need the most aid here on earth!

This devotion of both the blessed cord and the prayers has been a great source of strength and protection for me, and yet, largely, an invisible and subtle one. Apart from when I’m offering the prayers with my family, I rarely think about the devotion itself (such as, I’m being tempted! Let me call on the graces of the Angelic Warfare Confraternity right now!). But rather, I think I’ve been gradually blessed with a greater clarity of perspective towards the virtue purity, and a quicker reaction, a sharpened self-preservation instinct against temptation: a hasty, but calm, flight towards Our Lord and Our Lady, or St. Joseph. I often look back on the past year and am filled with gratitude and peace for the many times I’ve been preserved, and how it has become easier to combat temptation, thanks to the graces of this Confraternity which all members benefit from. Also, I think it is safe to say that I’ve received strong desires for a pure and holy courtship, at least in part, from the graces of this Confraternity!

While it’s ideal to pray the devotion separately from any other devotions, currently, our family (because of time) offers the first fifteen Hail Marys of our daily Rosary for the intentions of the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, mentioning each of the fifteen intentions for chastity and purity before beginning the Rosary. Immediately after the Rosary, we offer the other two Confraternity prayers. It is a beautiful thing for our whole family to be members of this Confraternity, and for us to be praying for one another and aiding one another–along with thousands of others–in the daily battle for chastity and purity. The thanks goes to my brother for that!

God is a discerner of our heart, Whom we must reverence with all our hearts wheresoever we are, and walk pure in His presence as do the angels.

The Imitation of Christ, Chapter 19

For more information on the history and purpose of the Confraternity and how to be enrolled, visit the Angelic Warfare Confraternity’s website 🙂 Have a blessed Monday!

Latinsig2

 

Dropping In with the Rain

mary-in-the-womb-of-saint-anneIt’s most definitely a rain-drenched Tuesday over here . . . navigating the family Kia through blustery rain and swirling leaves this morning makes me all the more grateful for the comparative quiet of my desk now! Mom, Lena and I have just, temporarily, parted ways from the kitchen after having put supper on. With seasoned chicken thighs in the oven for an hour, what better thing to do than write a blog post (and then, erm, catch up on my Advent devotions for the day . . .)?

Today is already Day 7 of the Immaculate Conception Novena! I rather wish it wouldn’t end . . . too late, I realize how little I have ever meditated on this mystery. But I hope to change that from now on . . . Friday is that approaching, beautiful day!

This afternoon, I spent a good half-hour finishing about 90% of my Christmas shopping . . . very few things left to do now, and just in time for the feast of St. Nicholas tomorrow, as a matter of fact. Hmm, almost as though I’d planned it that way.

Ah – Right! That’s exactly what I did!

Speaking of shopping, I’m feeling the twinge to ramble about money for a spell. Maybe everyone does, this time of year. As a young woman at home (YWAH for short) with no regular income at the moment (though I’m hoping to start a part-time tutoring position in January!), my nature tilts more towards saving than spending. And so it falls that Christmas is an opportune time for me to practice the virtue of generosity (and prudence . . . but my Generosity Muscle definitely experiences more stretching than my Prudence Muscle here 😉 ). Anytime I’m spending money, I admit I’m thinking about money, at least to some degree. What’s left? How do I budgetize?

But it’s not like Scrooge. I promise.

Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?

When I think about it, I realize practicing the virtue of generosity simultaneously necessitates that I practice the virtue of trust in God. If I am willing to work hard, to earn and to give in whatever way(s) God wants me to, then I’ll have as much money as ever He wants me to have: no more, no less. I really do believe it’s that simple.

However, it is an interesting subject to think about (by which I mean myself and money): it’s not that I’ve specifically chosen to avoid earning money on a regular basis since graduating high school, but it seems as though God ordained that the winding road of my life should be sprinkled with little showers of income here and there, to where I’m blessed to have something of a dowry (I love calling it that :-D) but definitely nothing spectacular by current standards. Which is truly fine with me, because:

While I’ve always planned on working (in the home) I’ve never, ever planned on providing for myself in the respect of holding down an outside-the-home job. My feminine instincts have never leapt in that direction. Future = marriage + babies + housekeeping + homeschooling = domestic grace. My inner heart just craves to be rooted at home: not always, every minute at home, but deeply rooted there. For the moment, it’s my parents’ home: one day, it will, most likely, be my husband and I’s home. That’s always been the defining vision in my heart, the vision my parents have made a reality: the husband provides, the wife nurtures, and God blesses.

And so, post-graduation, I’ve welcomed stipends for articles, babysitting, the occasional cantoring job, etc. but have never felt the precise need to look for a regular job (though every now and again I’ve contemplated it) that would root me more out of the home than in it. But this is probably just as well since I don’t have my own car . . . the concept of working a job, so that I could pay for a car and insurance, so that I could drive to the job, was a little too much for me to bend my mind around. Not that it’s always that simplistic, but for my situation, it kind of is.

I’m trying to make it my continued prayer that if God wants me to be working somewhere/earning something regularly in my pre-married, pre-mother state, He’ll provide the means for me to get there and to make it happen (as it seems He’s done with this aforementioned tutoring job, which I’m excited about!).

Thanks to God’s grace, I’m conscious of my propensity to save for the sake of saving, which could, if I’m not careful, lead to my viewing money as an end to itself, rather than a means over which I must be a good steward. Again, Christmas is a wonderful antidote for this potential path to vice. These past few weeks, I’ve definitely enjoyed brainstorming and investigating meaningful gifts for my loved ones that also, hopefully, give glory to God!

Yesterday was my mother’s birthday, and so we celebrated with a game of bowling (guess who ended up with the lowest score? Ahem) and dinner out, both with The Dash which made it wonderfully fun; it’s been a while since we’ve gone out anywhere to celebrate a family birthday, and it’s definitely something we’ll lastingly remember! Do only homeschooled kids dance Samba and West Coast to the (mostly torturesome) music at the bowling alley, for all to see?

Before I leave, I must mention Fr. Chad Ripperger, FSSP. Last Saturday, while driving with my youngest sister as chaperone (and she was awesome at it!), The Dash and I listened to his talk on the four stages of Catholic courtship (which I’d stumbled across rather by accident). Truly, this talk is exemplary for its inarguable reasoning, and enlightened me on so many aspects of courtship . . . I think I’ve listened to it three times now. The link is here (and is also linked on my sidebar). Something I noticed a day or two ago: on the same Sensus Traditionis, it’s noted that Fr. Ripperger’s talks are “PenanceWare”:

These media files are PenanceWare, which require that you do one of the following: (1) $1.00 via Paypal,Donate Button with Credit Cards (2) offer up a decade of the Rosary, or (3) perform some form of penance for the intentions of Fr. Ripperger (for each individual media file downloaded). The same rule applies if you copy and distribute to friends. External links, e.g. the videos from Keep the Faith, etc. are not Penanceware. MEDIA TYPE: AUDIO | VIDEO

Have a blessed rest of your day, and a happy Commemoration of St. Sabbas the Abbot! 🙂

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On the Eve of All Saints

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Hello there! 🙂 Since I, once again, missed my opportunity to write another installment of “7 Rambling Monday Takes” yesterday, I will be indulging in a rambling blog post comprised of all different sorts of topics . . .

It’s a glorious end to October over here, blue-skied and cool, and all the trees outside my window are reddening beautifully; I’m fittingly garbed in a sweatshirt, jeans and tennis shoes in celebration of this fine weather, and I’m glowing with the accomplished feeling of satisfaction a girl gets when she writes a long diary entry by hand. I have been woefully sporadic (although my attempts have been numerous and I have several full diaries) in this practice over the years, but once again I am going to try and be faithful to keeping a diary. I have a really nice one, in fact, that’s made by Eccolo, and I got it two Christmases ago (I believe) from my grandmother; it’s got an elegant green leather cover with some gold gilding and an embossed image of a tree on the front, with a “refillable” lined paper book you can tuck in on the inside. I hadn’t written in it since November of last year. Sigh.

I know, a blog sort of counts (since all I seem to do here is ramble ceaselessly about my life and my thoughts), but there is something irreplaceable about a true diary. Maybe it’s the handwriting (mine grows in flair in proportion to my level of excitement) and the lack of the Backspace key. Either way, I keep telling myself, “For posterity!” since I’m just the type of person who loves to think about her future great-granddaughter discovering an old diary of Great-Grandmother Mary’s in a musty attic somewhere. It sounds just like a Hallmark movie.

But to move on from that . . .

Renewing Baptismal Vows

The past weekend was a lovely one; on Friday, my aforementioned Baptism anniversary, we lit my Baptismal candle after dinner and I renewed my vows. True to my (only slightly) scattered nature, this meant I was flipping through my missal at the very last minute, attempting to decide which portions of the Old Rite of Baptism I wanted Dad to read aloud. All the while, I was getting ideas (which was not helpful in terms of keeping me focused on the then-current task) for how my future family could celebrate our future Baptism anniversaries.

Perhaps my ideas have been gilded slightly by the medieval feeling of Men of Iron (my brother and I are now on Chapter 28 of 34!), but I was thinking how I’d love for the family member in question (if they were old enough) to kneel before the family images of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts while holding their burning Baptismal candle, and answer the Baptismal questioning (posed by the father of the family) in that posture. Maybe they could wear white, too, and have their white linen cloth! (Ideas abounding here . . .) And if the person in question was too small to do all this this, well, then, the Godparents (who would already, hopefully, be celebrating with us) could either hold or kneel with the child and answer for him/her, just as they would have done at the Baptism itself. I don’t know . . . It’s all about strengthening our dispositions to live a holy life, and it just seems to me that this could witness in an even more powerful fashion to the beauty and obligation of living out one’s Baptismal vows!

But, to return to the point (perhaps I should have named my blog But, to Return to the Point), here’s the traditional questioning Dad posed to me Friday night, along with my responses (taken from the Missal, pgs. 1831, 1838-1840). I would love to incorporate a few more applicable sections from the Rite next time (and maybe offer my responses in Latin, since my replies are unfailingly simple), but it was still very moving:

V. Mary, what do you ask of the Church of God?
R. Faith. (Fidem)
V. What does faith offer you?
R. Eternal life. (Vitam aeternam)
V. If, then, you wish to enter into life (perhaps “enter into eternal life” could be said, since we’re now commemorating Baptism), keep the commandments: thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and thy neighbor as thyself.

V. Mary, do you renounce Satan?
R. I do renounce him. (Abrenuntio)
V. And all his works?
R. I do renounce them. (Abrenuntio)
V. And all his pomps?
R. I do renounce them. (Abrenuntio)
V. Mary, do you believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth?
R. I do believe. (Credo)
V. Do you believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Who was born into this world and Who suffered?
R. I do believe. (Credo)
V. Do you believe also in the Holy Ghost, the holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?
R. I do believe. (Credo)

V. Receive this burning light, and keep the grace of your Baptism throughout a blameless life. Observe the commandments of God. Then, when the Lord comes to His heavenly wedding feast, you will be able to meet Him with all the Saints in the halls of heaven, and live for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

The Feast of Christ the King

Sunday was High Mass for the Feast of Christ the King. A very cold morning that dipped into the 30’s, at long last! However, our parish’s interior heating was working merrily well, and those of us who had dressed to compensate for the cold were shedding layers in the choir loft and turning on the fans while jokingly murmuring about offering it up as Purgatory (in the way that Catholics always seem to do) 😉

Over the past few years, it’s started to become a bittersweet feast for me interiorly: a feast of joy and love and adoration for Christ the King, of course . . . but as I knelt in the choir loft this Sunday, overlooking the solemn regalia of High Mass, the Propers (particularly the Gospel) stabbed me with a sense of grief that “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not,” . . . a sense of swimming within this blackness of confusion, deceit and dissolution that is our time, and that is permeating everything, down to the foundations . . . like smoke that prowls, billows and stifles, leaving behind its stains and its smell. Pope Paul VI termed it the “smoke of Satan.”

What does it mean to be living now, in these dark times? Where does it fit into time and history? To be kneeling in the choir loft on the Feast of Christ the King, overlooking the splendor of the liturgy, while being surrounded by all of this turmoil and, truly, desolation? A poignant sense of sorrow, of being overwhelmed? Difficult to find words for this . . . and yet, we have this Feast.

The rejection, contempt and agony Our Lord endured throughout His earthly Passion included His suffering, at least interiorly, all the rejection and hatred He is receiving now at the hands of those who have deemed evil, good and good, evil.

But He is the King Who has told us, “Take courage, for I have conquered the world.” He is the King Who commands us to hope, and to be faithful!

The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power and divinity and wisdom and strength and honor; to Him be glory and empire for ever and ever. Give to the King, O God, Thy justice, and to the King’s Son Thy judgment. (Introit)

He shall rule from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. And all kings shall adore Him, all nations shall serve Him. (Gradual)

 Pilate therefore said to Him: Art Thou a king then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a King. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world, that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth My voice. (from the Gospel)

Our Lord has seen fit to plant within my soul the vocation of marriage and family life, and in that same seed He has also gently allowed me to find, and lovingly helped me to nurture, the virtue of hope and the fruit of joy. And in the midst of all these rather sober reflections of mine, the Feast of Christ the King was filled with wonderful hope and joy; I was blessed to enjoy the company of very dear friends (while we celebrated an early Thanksgiving together), to spend time with the amazing man I’m courting, to hold and coo over my sweet Godson, and to cuddle some of my other favorite kids, all of which serves to create a perfect day for yours truly 🙂 I am so grateful for all of the blessings Our Lord has showered me with!

We have received the food of immortality and beg, Lord that we who are proud to fight under the banner of Christ our King, may reign with Him for ever in His realm above. (Postcommunion)

The Heroic Minute . . . and wrapping up . . .

Yes . . . now we come to this: trying once again to pick myself up instantly from bed, and (naturally) failing two days in a row. Such is my life. Granted, things have been busy and we’re almost managing to kick out the last of a month-long cold that’s been circulating through our family, which means schedules have been off . . . but still, it is so humbling to realize how hard it is to deny myself simply for the sake of denying myself, first thing. Hopefully, writing about it here (for all the world to see) will help . . . although, I think my Guardian Angel just whispered in my ear that I should probably be praying a little more for the grace to do it.

Yesterday I underwent a personal organizational project which involved taking one of my brother’s giant dry-erase boards from his room (with permission), cleaning it (a task) and making a monthly calendar out of it (also a task). I changed my mind two or three times about the color-coding process, but overall it went fairly well. I just needed to see the things I needed to do and the projects I needed to keep up with, if you take my meaning. Currently, it’s on the wall next to my desk, making me feel structured and efficient . . . ha 🙂

Mom and I were discussing the idea of having all our Christmas gift shopping/creating done by the beginning of Advent, in imitation of a friend’s practice and in order to leave that holy season free of a lot of that “rush”. We do have a lot to plan for this year, it feels, notwithstanding the fact that we draw names for our own family’s gift-giving . . . I would love to hand-make more things this year than I usually do, and I have some ideas, but of course we’ll see how it all pans out! Good intentions and a dash of optimism are all you need to get a job done, right? (Riiight 🙂 )

And as a final note, I have changed my blog signature to Latin! Going off what I had before, I’m confident it’s still fairly decipherable . . . Have a lovely rest of your day!

Latinsig2

7 Rambling Monday Takes :: Vol. 5 (Anniversary Edition)

MondayTakes

1.

In the words of Bilbo, I wish to make An Announcement . . . Today, October 23rd, marks one year since I started this blog! That’s quite hard to believe . . . and what a year it’s been!

In the beginning, my most central motivation in starting Benedic was to create a place where I gathered links to my off-site articles, such as at Seton Magazine and, eventually, 1P5. In fact, that was how I pitched the whole “Hey! What if . . .” to my parents, way back when 🙂 But I think Our Lord had even more exciting expectations for this than I did, because this little place of mine has come to be a delight to write on, an opportunity to share a part of myself with others, and it’s My Precious now 😉

It turned out to be the place where I would eventually write about certain blessings, some of which were so unexpected as to be termed incredible: having the privilege of being published in new places; attending special Latin Masses; traveling on a beautiful family vacation (and beginning my devotion to St. Raphael); receiving graces for my vocational discernment; turning twenty-one; entering into a wonderful courtship (a gift straight from St. Raphael!) with an amazing man; most recently, becoming a godmother; and, really, that’s only the beginning! Our Lord has blessed me so very greatly this past year, not only with all of these wonderful things, but also with the opportunity to capture them (imperfectly!) in words here.

Reflecting on all of this, it’s also fun (sort of) to go back and glance over my earliest posts. Sigh. I still groan in an embarrassed fashion because of how seriously I took myself early on. Ay yi yi. I was so formal. However, I eventually learned how to relax a bit more, poke fun at myself, and start making all the jokes in blog-post-format that I would crack without hesitation in real life . . . while still penning down my passions and hopes and ramblings about the things that are most important. So yes, it’s fun to see how and where I’ve traveled as an amateur writer.

This blog has also seen the sprouts of my equally amateur photography, which has been tantalizing to delve into! Although at the moment, my even-more-passionate-than-I younger brother has (with permission) confiscated my camera and is taking pictures (some of them astonishingly good) by the hundreds. He helped chronicle my godson’s baptism on Saturday with truly professional flair. (Oh, yes, and by the way, the baptism was on Saturday . . . I posted about it yesterday on Sunday evening, the 22nd . . . but WordPress incorrectly announced to everyone that I was posting on Monday, 23rd . . . which made all my “yesterdays” incorrectly refer to Sunday . . . not that it matters . . . but my perfectionism demands a clarification. Sigh.)

And truly, I’m rather shocked that I’ve completed a year of consistent blogging! That is simply and solely God’s grace working to improve my flighty temperament, which finds it so hard to stick to personal projects. As I jubilantly announced a few weeks ago, I was mysteriously able to hold off for what felt like a very long time before finally designing my own header, just to make sure I could force myself to be faithful to posting instead of merely tweaking the eye-candy around here.

So yes . . . gratitude. I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to begin this blog; that Our Lord has mercifully arranged things to where Benedic became a tool for not only expressing my thoughts, but also for growing in simple knowledge of myself and in a determination to form a cohesion between what I write about and how I live. It is easy to be passionate, less easy to be humbly passionate. When you put your thoughts and passions down, particularly in public (even with the comments turned off!), I’ve learned that you commit yourself to living up to your words, or to amending your heart and your mindset when you discover that your words could better reflect that which is true and good.

And I feel quite excited because Benedic feels so home-y to me that I can easily envision it remaining my “writing place” indefinitely, especially as my life continues to unfold towards and, one day, within my vocation! That’s a blessing in itself!

2.

Today is a gray, wettish, windy autumn Monday; laundry day, general recovery and get-back-to-business day (isn’t every Monday?). It’s the day in which I step inside a bathroom I cleaned on Friday and think, I just cleaned this on Friday!!! (It’s no one’s fault . . . it’s merely life!) It’s the day on which I always determine to eat more healthily during the week than I did on the weekend ;-P

I just realized today’s the day I need to sweep out and dust our dear little laundry room. Have I told you about our laundry room, right off the kitchen? It has a big window to let the daylight in, patterned wallpaper on a cornflower-blue background, wood cabinets, and a faithful washer and drier. It’s a really sweet place. Just . . . dusty at the moment.

You know, it might be fun to actually give the washer and drier names. Hmm. Merry and Pippin? Perpetua and Felicity? Fictional or saintly? How symbolic should I get here?

I think I’m thinking too hard . . .

3.

Tomorrow! Tomorrow is the feast of St. Raphael and while I have no idea what I’m doing yet, I do know it’s going to be wonderful and special! And it will merit its own blog post, never you fear. I am so excited.

4.

Around the house, we’ve been listening to a lot of Michael Buble recently. We enjoy him and he perks up the homeschool atmosphere 😉 “Everything” is currently the most oft-repeated favorite!

Now, delightfully smooth as he is, he can’t top Frank Sinatra, and his only Sinatra covers that I enjoy equally to the originals are “The Way You Look Tonight” (because they altered the rhythm from foxtrot to a relaxed cha-cha, which is always fun, and also because the song’s become something of our bedtime routine; all the girls get in pajamas, wash off makeup, let down our hair, and croon, “There is nothing for me but to looooooove you, and the way you look tonight!”) and “You Make Me Feel so Young.” My other Sinatra favorites are not to be touched, however, and I cringe to hear covers of any kind.

My youngest sister and I have a particular favorite from Voces8; and it all started with a 40’s WWII album we got a while ago. Do you know the old tune, “A Nightengale Sang in Berkeley Square“? Well, lo and behold, I discovered recently that Voces8 had done a version of this very same tune in honor of William and Kate’s marriage back when it was all abuzz . . . and it is brilliant. My youngest sister and I lip-sing it to one another while getting chills from their impeccably tight harmonies. Ahhh . . .

But now, of course, it’s “Are We Dancing?” The Happiest Millionaire will never be gone from our household . . .

5.

Although I haven’t had time to read it over the past few days, I nevertheless have been enjoying the first few chapters of War and Peace. Although the translators are surely deserving of a lot of credit, Tolstoy’s style of description is very engaging; he has some brilliant phrases and very unique concepts of how he wants his people to appear. Now, I may have to re-request it from the library a few times before I can actually finish it, but the start is promising and amusing. Nothing like a drawing room party, full of the world!

Just then a new person entered the drawing room. This new person was the young Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, the little princess’s husband. Prince Bolkonsky was of medium height, a rather handsome young man with well-defined and dry features. Everything in his figure, from his weary, bored gaze to his quiet, measured gait, presented the sharpest contrast with his small, lively wife. Obviously, he not only knew everyone in the drawing room, but was also so sick of them that it was very boring for him to look at them and listen to them. Of all the faces he found so boring, the face of his pretty wife seemed to be the one he was most sick of. With a grimace that spoiled his handsome face, he turned away from her.

6.

Today is the feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop and Confessor. This morning was a slightly sleepy one and we couldn’t make Sarasota, so I’m hoping to catch Fribourg’s Mass here in a little while, and to ask for his intercession for all sorts of special intentions!

From the Missal:

Anthony Mary Claret founded the Missionary Sons of the Heart of Mary, the Teaching Sisters of Mary Immaculate, and other communities of nuns. For many years he labored in Catalonia, for six years in Cuba as Archbishop of Santiago, and finally in Madrid. He died in exile in France in 1870.

The Collect:

O God, with the virtues of an apostle Thou didst exalt blessed Anthony Mary, and through him build in Thy Church new religious congregations of men and women: grant, we pray, that led by his counsels and helped by his prayers, we may unremittingly work for the salvation of souls.

7.

A random thought (because random thoughts are all I have left, and I need to switch laundry), but it’s very hard to believe we’re nearing the end of October and that tomorrow is two months from Christmas Eve, with this Sunday already being the Old Calendar Feast of Christ the King! Our parish will be having a High Mass and Lena and I have been privileged to learn some beautiful music for it, along with brushing up on Mass IV . . . our favorite Mass setting from the Kyriale! Life is good 😉

Have a blessed and beautiful day!

Sig2