Woman at Home Daybook :: Vol. 9

Daybook

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This day in the Liturgical Year . . .

Friday, October 5th, 2018 A.D. It’s the First Friday of the month; feast of St. Placid and Companions, Martyrs; in the New Calendar, feast of St. Faustina (my Confirmation Patron). From Butler: {Placid} had scarcely completed his twenty-first year when he was selected to establish a monastery in Sicily upon some estates which had been given by his father to St. Benedict. He spent four years in building his monastery, and the fifth had not elapsed before an inroad of barbarians burned everything to the ground, and put to a lingering death not only St. Placid and thirty monks who had joined him, but also his two brothers, Eutychius and Victorinus, and his holy sister Flavia, who had come to visit him.”

From St. Faustina: “My Lord and Creator, Your goodness encourages me to converse with You. Your mercy abolishes the chasm which separates the Creator from the creature. To converse with You, O Lord, is the delight of my heart. In You I find everything that my heart could desire. Here Your light illumines my mind, enabling it to know You more and more deeply. Here streams of graces flow down upon my heart. Here my soul draws eternal life. O my Lord and Creator, You alone, beyond all these gifts, give Your own self to me and unite Yourself intimately with Your miserable creature.”

Outside my window . . .

Happy afternoon sunshine: one of my favorite things 🙂

Sounds throughout the house . . .

Things are almost completely quiet right now. Everyone is reading, writing, or doing something restful. (Earlier on, though, Lena and I were gleefully celebrating the release of Burn The Ships . . .)

I am wearing . . .

A navy blue, elbow-length cotton blouse; a white tank underneath; the one and only skirt I’ve sewn, a three-tiered survival of my underdeveloped sewing skills in multiple patterns of yellow. I haven’t worn it in forever but felt spontaneous today!

skirt
Yes, sometimes one side of my hair is curlier than the other . . . a mystery of life.

Attempts in the kitchen . . .

I hear that something called “skillet lasagna” is on the menu . . . we’ve never had it before but it sounds immensely promising . . . As for myself, no new attempts in the kitchen. Well, I steamed rice yesterday without ruining anything. Aren’t I savvy?

A note on projects . . .

Well . . . at the start of the week, I’d made some great progress on that old story from my teens. Since then, I’ve done nothing. Zilch.

I really need to force myself to keep going or else I’ll lose steam altogether. Right after this blog post . . .

I am reading . . .

A random assortment of ponderous things today; articles from Fr. Z and Crisis Magazine, and more of O’Brien’s Potter book.

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A particularly resonant passage from the latter:

“As the Christian churches lose their evangelical strength [my penciled note: evangelical strength = orthodoxy & liturgy], the allurement of preternatural and supernatural phenomena will continue to displace the world of the sacred transcendent. Traditionally, the signs, sacraments and rituals of the Christian world were among the primary means of encountering God, and a way for man to find his place in the hierarchy of creation . . .”

That last statement made me think so much of sacred liturgy, particularly ad orientem worship and the Latin Mass. Ad orientem speaks with immense clarity and strength of that hierarchy of creation.

Contemplating authentic femininity . . .

Last night, The Dash took Lena and I to an on-campus lecture, given by Dr. Rosalind Picard, on the topic of “Artificial Intelligence, Emotion and Humanity.” It was even more interesting and enjoyable than I expected it to be (and I’d already been expecting it to be great!). Lena commented on how her natural femininity enhanced the subject she presented on; she was intelligent and caring, with a wise perspective on AI that I could both appreciate and agree with.

Does authentic femininity include a mandatory love of chocolate? I know it’s subjective, but . . . after walking around the nighttime campus with The Dash post-lecture (it was so much fun to see all his haunts!), the chocolate shakes he bought us from Arby’s were about as heavenly as anything orally consumable is. I think I made enough initial sounds to provoke The Dash’s doubtful question: “Is it really that good?”

On living the Faith . . .

On Sunday the 7th, I’m renewing my yearly Total Consecration. Today, thanks to my Guardian Angel, no doubt, I came across a chain bracelet, specifically made by the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for those who totally consecrate to Our Lady . . . I ordered one and am really looking forward to it coming in. Truly, I need the reminder that everything I am and have is hers. It is so easy for my weak and silly heart to forget.

Also, since tonight we have a Low Mass for First Friday, and I’m endeavoring to begin the devotion in earnest, I listened to Fr. Ripperger’s sermon at Sensus Traditionis (the website has undergone a very nice makeover recently, by the way!) on the Sacred Heart (it’s #5). I highly recommend it for today . . . don’t forget it’s PenanceWare 😉

Prayerfully . . .

Praying for various intentions, most of all for the grace to renew well on Sunday and to do God’s Will in all things ❤

Sig

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Rooted & Grounded in Charity, Vol. 9: Unity of mind

Charity

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Unity of mind: that deeply peaceful place where two people hold the same virtues as necessary, the same principles as foundational for living, the same Faith as the only truth.

It doesn’t mean they agree on absolutely everything (whether the Christian chick flick I watched last week has any value whatsoever; whether film soundtrack tunes can double for exercise music . . .); but they agree on every absolute.

If there were one thing I could pick as being that one thing I hold most highly in our courtship, it would be unity of mind.

Courtship is a journey

In certain sense, courtship is, at first, precisely a journey to discover if you have solid unity of mind with another person. If you can’t find enough of it, then it’s inestimably better that you move on.

You can have everything else: mutual love and attraction, happiness with one another . . . but if you aren’t continually discovering (or able to healthily achieve) a natural unity of mind, then there’s no lasting foundation, and this lack of foundation will only hurt both people later on.

If and once you discover this unity of mind, though, then courtship transforms into a journey of deepening and developing it: filling it with your complementary but usually very different perspectives and experiences, and strengthening it through the willingness to have constructive conversations through disagreement, and, in the words of Jordan Peterson, to “assume the person you’re talking to knows something you don’t.” It’s a challenging but beautiful journey, and so very rewarding!

Answering a few questions . . .

Sometimes I get the question of how The Dash and I hold one another accountable in our courtship, or how we work on differences in communication skills. There are so many miniature answers and all sorts of details we could both expound on. The main answer to both, however, could possibly boil down to We act in our unity of mind, or we seek to strengthen it in some way.

Unity in accountability

Take accountability, for example. If this kind of question is focused on things such as our physical boundaries, I usually have to pause and think… Accountable?

Of course, because of concupiscence, purity and chastity are a struggle for every human being to some extent. So I would never deny that I have my own temptations to struggle against and pray for grace to overcome in relation to our courtship!

However, one of the very first things The Dash and I established together in our courtship were our physical boundaries–so, really, these boundaries are one of our oldest expressions of unity of mind as a courting couple. We set them, not trying to please others, but simply trying to do the right thing. We mentally and heartfeltly agreed that it was so.

Later on, our understanding of what we’d chosen would be buoyed by Fr. Ripperger, but our unity of mind concerning our physical boundaries has been there from the beginning. Our mutual choice for chaperones (who help us to not be too intimately alone together without some kind of accountability) also arose from our unity of mind. But even regardless of our chaperones, more than anything else, that’s what holds us accountable to our boundaries: our belief that they’re right; our unity of mind.

After all, the alternative is just for me to go to The Dash and say, “I’m so tired of this! Why can’t we just go ahead and [hold hands, or something similar]?” (Which, naturally, I don’t plan on doing! 🙂 ) To which he would probably ask something like, “Well, how can that potential change still align with our principle?”

At this point, neither of us can find a good rational and moral reason to alter our physical boundaries; we possess unity of mind in them. Neither of us drags our heels against what we’ve decided to do. The necessity of a stronger presence of accountability measures between us would probably indicate that we weren’t so unified in mind.

Unity in communication

And in terms of working on our ever-present differences in communication skills, what helps is that we have (you guessed it!) unity of mind in that we should listen, be honest, and ensure our communication is always a means to the end of better harmony of mind and of good decision-making. It’s often a challenge, but we both know an imperfect try is far better than no try at all!

Whether one of us is really wanting to have some set-aside time to talk about heavier stuff, or one of us is tired and doesn’t feel equipped to talk a bunch; whether we’re having a day that keeps us laughing, or one/both of us are feeling low and are trying to figure out how to talk about something potentially confrontational or disappointing . . . every day is different, but it is such a help to have unity of mind in that we need to be honest with each other, we need to talk about the hard stuff if it’s there, and we need to pray together and try and find joy in things. That is our mutual expectation with one another in trying to communicate, and I think it helps more than anything.

Why is unity of mind so important in courtship?

Well, courtship is hopeful discernment and early preparation for marriage. Marriage is one of the most beautiful and holy mysteries of unity Our Lord ordained for mankind. To intentionally focus on seeking out and, God-willing, growing in unity of mind as you walk down the path of courtship towards betrothal and marriage–well, it brings peace, order, life and joy to your relationship, and surely prepares you better for marriage than the opposite would!

How do you discover whether or not you have unity of mind? Now, needless to say, this discovery should certainly begin in friendship, before courtship comes into the mix (in other words, you should have some solid reasons to be hopeful about the person you’re wanting to court!!), but courtship, by its very nature, puts a much stronger focus on exploring and developing unity of mind. How to do this? A sanguine’s response: Talk! Talk about the important topics and issues of marriage and family life, and of life in general. Read or listen to related materials; share your honest opinions on them. Be honest and open; listen. Observe one another and see if your spoken beliefs translates into your actions.

A while back, I posted a “topic list” that The Dash and I hit during the first month or two of our courtship . . . it’s in no particular order and isn’t exhaustive, but it was very helpful and laid out an initial path for us to explore where we were unified.

  • Handling finances
  • Openness to life
  • Marriage/healthy family structure/traditional spousal roles
  • Homeschooling styles
  • Healthcare views
  • The spiritual life
  • Liturgy
  • Corporal punishment/raising children
  • Our past experiences of family/relationships
  • Our temperaments and how we react to things
  • What makes us angry
  • What makes us happy
  • Family traditions
  • Our interests
  • Communication skills and weaknesses

Praise God, we had good results 😉

In closing, don’t underestimate the beauty and necessity of an ever-growing unity of mind during courtship . . . it’s the surest way to obtaining unity of heart, and it brings a particular peace, strength and joy that no other aspect of one’s relationship can provide.

Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell in unity. Like the precious ointment on the head, that ran down upon the beard, the beard of Aaron, Which ran down to the skirt of his garment: As the dew of Hermon, which descendeth upon mount Sion. For there the Lord hath commandeth blessing, and life for evermore.

PSALM 132

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Tiredness

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Just a little sleepy 😉

I am an energetic person by nature, a happy person by temperament (and God’s grace!) . . . but sometimes (like today), I am just tired. Tired and grouchy-feeling. How tempting it is to be discouraged by these feelings of tiredness and grouchiness, to be frustrated when I give into them and consequently don’t have that same I’m-so-happy-to-be-around-my-family shine as I usually do.

What am I doing?! I groan inwardly. I just went to Mass this morning!

And I did. In a little chapel with Lena and three friends and a marvelous priest. Everything was soft and still. Hoc est enim Corpus Meum. What a gift. For a little while now, I’ve been praying hard for the eventual gift of daily Latin Mass nearby, that I can attend every morning. But for now, once a week has been amazing!

I drove Lena and myself home through a light drizzle, the two of us chattering happily. I came in and had my fasting breakfast. I went upstairs and took a shower. And . . . I came out tired.

I’m sure it has something to do with being human. With early mornings, less food, family members being gone, teaching a classroom of girls, running up and down our lane until I can’t breathe (i.e., training for a 5K) and, because of my lack of virtue, so often failing to accept these feelings of tiredness and grumpiness as Crosses, and to embrace them with a joy that radiates to where no one can tell that I’m feeling grumpy at all. I’m working on the joy. Do you know how it is when the smallest acts of simple decent human kindness seem almost impossible to achieve? (I know . . . it’s the signal that I need a nap 😉 I think I will lie down shortly . . . )

My youngest sister has a cold. Lemon and melaleuca are being diffused in the living room. I gave her a mini-concert and played on the guitar, singing songs I’d written, for half an hour earlier. Things are gray outside. Lena is leaving on Friday. A whole week without her is a strange prospect; quite possibly a very light foretaste of the future in which she might be in her house at Ephesus and I’m in my house surrounded by a future beautiful brood of children. Does God intend for the majority of our earthly sisterhood, our close earthly companionship that has been particularly close ever since our early teen years, to be spent apart, joined together by letters and prayers, but by only the barest human contact?

Of course, the thought brings both spiritual joy and human tears. Joy for vocation and for becoming saints. This is what Lena and I want more than anything! But tears for the little daily things that will pass away and leave a void capable of being filled only by God; the countless conversations, the little jokes, the giggles, the hugs, the knowing of what the other is thinking and feeling in a way only sisters can, the shared daily prayers and devotions, Mass together, two white mantillas side-by-side. To some degree, it would still pass away even if we were both married . . . but not as radically as this. The little things will pass for a time, but the love will remain. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing. And I am already rejoicing with excitement and gratitude at what God may have in store for my dear sister, and for me, and for our sisterhood.

This Lent has been unlike any other. The fasting is a great challenge; not just the absence of food, but using the absence of food to gain mastery over oneself and grow in virtue. That is the hardest part. It has been exactly two weeks now since Lent began. Three weeks to corrupt a vice, three weeks to instill a virtue. At this rate, I’m 2/3 of the way through corrupting the vice of intemperance . . . and then, after another week or so, I’ll begin to instill the virtue of fasting.

Perseverance!

Fr. Ripperger’s talks at Sensus Traditionis have been one of my mainstays. It is unspeakably consoling to receive truth and guidance in the form of masculine, priestly, fatherly direction. I can’t seem to get enough. I also just finished his “The Spirituality of the Ancient Liturgy” from Latin Mass Magazine, and this paragraph struck me particularly (no wonder, after having just attended Mass!):

The ancient ritual also gives one a taste of heaven, so to speak. Since the altar marks the dividing line between the profane and sacred, between the heavenly and the earthly, and the priest ascends to the altar to offer Sacrifice, the traditional rite leaves one with a sense of being drawn into heaven with the priest. This feature naturally draws us into prayer and gives the sense of the transcendent and supernatural that are key in the spiritual life. The numerous references to the saints foster devotion rather than minimizing it. The Latin provides a sense of mystery. The beauty of the ritual, the surroundings that naturally flow from the ritual itself (such as the churches that are designed for the ritual), the chant – all of these things lead to contemplation, the seeking after that which is above.

Life is beautiful, because God is Supreme Beauty and He provides so many channels of grace for us through the Sacraments, through prayer, through pursuing the virtues. We can all be saints if only we continuously trust and try. Perhaps the tired days are the most beautiful days of all; or they can be, if only I ask for His grace and participate in it with joy 😉 Always and everywhere, Deo Gratias!

P.S. Keep praying for Baby Isaac’s complete healing! https://www.facebook.com/Prayers-for-Baby-Isaac-1977272082313227/

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Fr. Ripperger on Ember and Rogation Days . . . and Poetry

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I meant to mention that, later on today, I’ll be listening to Fr. Ripperger’s talk on Ember and Rogation Days at Sensus Traditionis (scroll down to “Conferences given by Fr. Ripperger in Tulsa“) and I definitely look forward to learning more 🙂

Also, my youngest sister inspired me yesterday by her flawless memorization of John Gillespie Magee’s “High Flight.” We spent some time outside together this morning, trading poetry in the sunshine. What a glorious poem!

High Flight
John Gillespie Magee

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds –
and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of –
wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.
Hovering there I’ve chased the shouting wind along
and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
and, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Impressed as I was by her, suffice it to say that I was similarly motivated this morning to copy down and memorize Robert Herrick’s “His Meditation Upon Death,” which seems so appropriate for this holy season of Lent. (It’s been too long since I’ve memorized a poem . . . needless to say, it’s a challenge!)

His Meditation Upon Death
by Robert Herrick

Be those few hours, which I have yet to spend,
Blest with the meditation of my end :
Though they be few in number, I’m content :
If otherwise, I stand indifferent.
Nor makes it matter Nestor’s years to tell,
If man lives long, and if he live not well.
A multitude of days still heaped on,
Seldom brings order, but confusion.
Might I make choice, long life should be withstood;
Nor would I care how short it were, if good :
Which to effect, let ev’ry passing-bell
Possess my thoughts, “next comes my doleful knell”;

And when the night persuades me to my bed,
I’ll think I’m going to be buried.
So shall the blankets which come over me
Present those turfs which once must cover me :
And with as firm behaviour I will meet
The sheet I sleep in as my winding-sheet.
When sleep shall bathe his body in mine eyes,
I will believe that then my body dies :
And if I chance to wake and rise thereon,
I’ll have in mind my resurrection
Which must produce me to that General Doom,
To which the peasant, so the prince, must come,
To hear the Judge give sentence on the throne,
Without the least hope of affection.
Tears, at that day, shall make but weak defence,
When hell and horror fright the conscience.
Let me, though late, yet at the last, begin
To shun the least temptation to a sin;
Though to be tempted be no sin, until
Man to th’ alluring object gives his will.
Such let my life assure me, when my breath
Goes thieving from me, I am safe in death;
Which is the height of comfort : when I fall,
I rise triumphant in my funeral.

And yes, I had to look up who Nestor was . . .

Sig

A Kind of Spiritual Summer :: Embracing Lent

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A most blessed Ash Wednesday to you all. Truly, I am so grateful that Lent is here at last . . . I plan to be blogging less over these forty days (at this point, once per week), and when I do post here, most likely it will be to share something I have read or heard pertaining to this holy season–which, in fact, I am going to do today 🙂

Repentance

-Butler’s Lives of the Saints

Man, drawn from the dust, must return to it, and all that he does meanwhile, with the exception of what good he may achieve, is but dust and vanity; the good alone survives . . . Nothing is, in fact, more calculated to lead the sinner to enter into himself than the remembrance of his last end. Nothing is better fitted to beat down pride and put a check on futile projects and guilty purposes than the terrible and sad memento, “Remember that thou art but dust!”

-Antiphon from Blessing of the Ashes

Hear us, O Lord, for Thy mercy is kind: look upon us, O Lord, according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies. Save me, O God: for the waters are come in even unto my soul. Glory be to the Father. Hear us, O Lord . . .

-Prayers for the Gift of Tears

      -Collect:

Almighty and most merciful God, Who, to quench the thirst of Thy people, didst draw a fountain of living water out of a rock, draw from our stony hearts tears of compunction, that we may be able to mourn for our sins and win forgiveness for them by Thy mercy.

      -Secret:

O Lord God, in Thy mercy look down on the offerings which we make to Thy divine Majesty for our sins, and draw from our eyes such floods of tears as may quench the burning flames which we deserve.

     -Postcommunion:

Mercifully pour into our hearts, O Lord God, the grace of the Holy Ghost, which, by sighs and tears, may wash away the stains of our sins and obtain for us, by Thy goodness, the forgiveness which we desire.

Fasting

-St. John Chrysostom

(taken from Fish Eaters)

7. …We have this fast too as an ally, and as an assistant in this good intercession. Therefore, as when the winter is over and the summer is appearing, the sailor draws his vessel to the deep; and the soldier burnishes his arms, and makes ready his steed for the battle; and the husbandman sharpens his sickle; and the traveller boldly undertakes a long journey, and the wrestler strips and bares himself for the contest. So too, when the fast makes its appearance, like a kind of spiritual summer, let us as soldiers burnish our weapons; and as husbandmen let us sharpen our sickle; and as sailors let us order our thoughts against the waves of extravagant desires; and as travellers let us set out on the journey towards heaven; and as wrestlers let us strip for the contest. For the believer is at once a husbandman, and a sailor, and a soldier, a wrestler, and a traveller. Hence St. Paul saith, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers. Put on therefore the whole armour of God.” Hast thou observed the wrestler? Hast thou observed the soldier? If thou art a wrestler, it is necessary for thee to engage in the conflict naked. If a soldier, it behoves thee to stand in the battle line armed at all points. How then are both these things possible, to be naked, and yet not naked; to be clothed, and yet not clothed! How? I will tell thee. Divest thyself of worldly business, and thou hast become a wrestler. Put on the spiritual armour, and thou hast become a soldier. Strip thyself of worldly cares, for the season is one of wrestling. Clothe thyself with the spiritual armour, for we have a heavy warfare to wage with demons. Therefore also it is needful we should be naked, so as to offer nothing that the devil may take hold of, while he is wrestling with us; and to be fully armed at all points, so as on no side to receive a deadly blow. Cultivate thy soul. Cut away the thorns. Sow the word of godliness. Propagate and nurse with much care the fair plants of divine wisdom, and thou hast become a husbandman. And Paul will say to thee, “The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.” He too himself practised this art. Therefore writing to the Corinthians, he said, “I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” Sharpen thy sickle, which thou hast blunted through gluttony–sharpen it by fasting. Lay hold of the pathway which leads towards heaven; rugged and narrow as it is, lay hold of it, and journey on. And how mayest thou be able to do these things? By subduing thy body, and bringing it into subjection. For when the way grows narrow, the corpulence that comes of gluttony is a great hindrance. Keep down the waves of inordinate desires. Repel the tempest of evil thoughts. Preserve the bark; display much skill, and thou hast become a pilot. But we shall have the fast for a groundwork and instructor in all these things.

11. I have said these things, not that we may disparage fasting, but that we may honour fasting; for the honour of fasting consists not in abstinence from food, but in withdrawing from sinful practices; since he who limits his fasting only to an abstinence from meats, is one who especially disparages it. Dost thou fast? Give me proof of it by thy works! Is it said by what kind of works? If thou seest a poor man, take pity on him! If thou seest an enemy, be reconciled to him! If thou seest a friend gaining honour, envy him not! If thou seest a handsome woman, pass her by! For let not the mouth only fast, but also the eye, and ear, and the feet, and the hands, and all the members of our bodies. Let the hands fast, by being pure from rapine and avarice. Let the feet fast, but ceasing from running to the unlawful spectacles. Let the eyes fast, being taught never to fix themselves rudely upon handsome countenances, or to busy themselves with strange beauties. For looking is the food of the eyes, but if this be such as is unlawful or forbidden, it mars the fast; and upsets the whole safety of the soul; but if it be lawful and safe, it adorns fasting. For it would be among things the most absurd to abstain from lawful food because of the fast, but with the eyes to touch even what is forbidden. Dost thou not eat flesh? Feed not upon lasciviousness by means of the eyes. Let the ear fast also. The fasting of the ear consists in refusing to receive evil speakings and calumnies. “Thou shalt not receive a false report,” it says.

-Fr. Ripperger

His talk on “Fasting” is found at Sensus Traditionis, under #7. But I highly recommend listening through all of his talks throughout Lent . . . and complying with the requirements of Penanceware 😉 (Today, I listened to “The Sacred Heart,” under #1. )

Love of God

Let us strive to contemplate the Passion of Our Lord with contrition and love, and to grow greatly in love of Him and the desire to please Him for the sake of His Heart.

 

I pray your Lent is richly blessed with many graces to corrupt vice, cultivate virtue, and return to God wholeheartedly. Please, out of your charity, pray for my family and me as we strive to do the same!

Sig