The persuasion of feminine gentleness

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+JMJ+

Happy Thursday in the Octave of Easter, and the feast of St. Vincent Ferrar! Alleluia!

This lovely April afternoon, I find myself mulling over the topic of feminine gentleness . . . and, by the way, the above picture (taken at Easter) is meant to eloquently convey how an adorable Godson never fails to draw doting gentleness out of his Godmother 😉 Babies are the best!

Just now, I’d been casually investigating if there were any articles on the main principles of Catholic courtship. There were several excellent ones! While not necessarily endorsing the sites (since I’m mostly ignorant of them), I thought I would still link to the articles for anyone who was interested:

Courtship: The Chaste Preparation for Holy Matrimony

About Courtship

The Difference Between Courtship and Dating

What’s the Difference Between Dating and Courtship?

However, the main reason I wanted to post here is that I’m still pondering a long rant I stumbled across in my article search. Written by a Catholic young woman (who will remain nameless, out of fairness to her), the article seemed intent on excoriating, at length, an article written by another Catholic woman, who was asserting her own, detailed, guidelinesfor Catholic courtship.

While I think this original article about courtship (which was being excoriated) could be a little better grounded in prudent pliancy in regards to its minute details (although the author’s context may have intended this), and some of the author’s other articles are written in a forceful style that might not be ideal . . . the former woman’s reaction to this article was incredibly strident, to the point of being totally mesmerizing to me (out of shock and disappointment).

This article/rant (from at least a nominally Catholic site) was replete with cutting sarcasm: sarcastic words, sarcastic memes, sarcastic GIFs, even references to profanity. It all was written in a passionate defense of Catholics who date, and of Catholic dating in general (which, by the way, courtship does not attack, but rather presents improvement upon): but this woman’s methods of defense were, largely, unkindness and a staggering (though probably unconscious) lack of feminine gentleness.

It isn’t intended as an offense to men when I say that, at first, I honestly thought a man had written the piece. Men have God-given capabilities for physical and verbal battle that are quite necessary (though virtue should always guide their usage 😉 ). Rather, this roughness and outrage that the author displayed at the assertion that Catholic courtship was superior, in form and function, to dating: it carried a distinctly masculine force behind it. It was painful to slowly realize that the author was a woman.

And yet it made sense, too, because the piece was, quite femininely, emotional: it was choked with inordinate emotional smoke, to where it barely had any reason in it. I would have been much more willing to consider her concerns about the potential flaws of courtship, or her perceived slights against Catholics who dated, if she had expressed them sincerely and soberly, gently, instead of with cutting roughness and a bent of sarcastically belittling the author against whom she was writing. It was really sad. Gentleness and reason would have been much more persuasive.

The arguments of the articles themselves don’t matter very much, since this particular post isn’t about courtship. The only reason these articles are being mentioned is that, from my reading of them, both authors revealed a lack of feminine gentleness. One lacked it much more so than the other, obviously, and yet both women were most likely unconscious of the absence of gentleness in their pieces . . . and ignorant of how much better off their articles would have been if they had exercised their innate gift of feminine gentleness more. We know that our culture is not concerned with forming gentle women. If these two writers are lacking in this area, much of it isn’t their fault. But still, the lack is tragic.

We are all imperfect and must all strive towards the attainment of all the virtues, that is, sanctified perfection. We must pray for grace to grow in holiness, and not be discouraged! However, the women and mothers I am closest to, the ones I admire the most, are the ones who exhibit authentic feminine gentleness. They are intelligent and wise; they are firm and steadfast in their convictions; they are not doormats and they are not afraid to confront evil, especially when it comes to helping their husbands protect their homes and children from pernicious influences. And yet they are gentle. They are ladies.

Gentleness is truly a precious feminine virtue, in constant need of cultivating. Depending on her temperament, a woman can find it easier or more difficult to be gentle. And yet, authentic gentleness of spirit, which doesn’t negate the need for a sober kind of strength (particularly moral strength) and a hard work ethic, is such a hallmark of true femininity. Gentleness is something I pray I will grow in daily for the rest of my life!

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When considering the feminine manner, pay attention to the differences between femininity and masculinity. Think of lightness, softness, delicateness and the associated actions that go with these terms.

Your conversation should reflect gentleness and kindness. You should show tenderness and sympathy when speaking of someone in unfortunate circumstances. If you think an unkind remark, keep it to yourself. Avoid talking about people in a bad way. Think of something nice to say. Don’t get sucked into heated arguments. Be quick to show tenderness and love, especially to children. Make kind remarks the rule rather than the exception.

-Helen Andelin, “Fascinating Womanhood” (a book I haven’t read but which seems lovely in many ways!)

Sig

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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

 

7 Rambling Monday Takes, Vol. 10 :: Back to Work

MondayTakes

Explore previous rambling installments here 🙂

1.

Another Monday, already here! Happy feast of Ss. Vincent and Anastasius, Martyrs!

I am typing to some cheery Frank Sinatra at the moment 🙂 But to elaborate on the post title: I termed this a “back to work” edition because I’m, well, getting back to work (or trying to). Back to the heroic minute, back to a pretty rigorous schedule in which I am committing to not wasting my time and to reclaiming a diligence and perseverance of spirit.

Tutoring is only a small sliver of this “work,” actually. Tomorrow’s class is all prepared for 🙂 Really, what I’m referring to is a lot of writing I could be doing (more off Benedic than on it), that I’ve been shying away from for months . . . but yesterday I took the time to examine my current state of life and found more areas for work than I’d been conscious of.

Employing my time, submitting myself to a schedule, endeavoring to exercise a talent, to create things reflective of truth and beauty, especially when I don’t feel it (the plague of all artists, I suppose)–that concretely builds virtues of diligence, industry and perseverance, and pleases God. And anything else is possibly wasteful, with where I am in life.

So yesterday, after Mass and potluck, I came home, did a huge load of dishes (that will be explained in a moment), then went out onto the back deck (finally, there were temperatures not so oppressively freezing!), and wrote both a journal entry and a reasonable daily schedule. Every day from 6am -3:30pm now has constructive slots of work, study and prayer. Tuesdays are my only “off” day, in general, due to tutoring. The Dash is back to classes today and Our Lord mercifully used that to galvanize my soul towards more concrete work, as well, at home 😉

Today, so far, has been a blessing!

2.

Lena wrote about today far more eloquently than I could. So I’m simply going the Prayer of St. Augustine I prayed this morning, one that seemed all too appropriate in contemplating the tragedy of abortion:

Lord, before Thine eyes we bring our sins, and with them we compare the stripes which we have received.
When we think of the evil we have done, little is that which we suffer, great that which we deserve.
Heaviest are our offences, lightest our burden.
We are afflicted by the punishment of our sin, yet we avoid not the obstinate desire of sinning.
The weakness of our flesh faints under Thy scourges, yet is not our iniquity changed.
The sick soul is sore tormented, yet is not the neck bent.
In pain our life sighs heavily; yet are its deeds in no wise amended.
If Thou waitest for us, we are not corrected; if Thou takest vengeance, we bear it not.
When we are corrected, we confess our shortcomings; after Thou hast visited us, we forget that which we bewailed.
If Thou stretchest forth Thy hand, we promise what we will do; if Thou delayest to draw Thy sword, we perform not our promises.
If Thou strikest us, we cry unto Thee to spare; if Thou sparest, we provoke Thee again to strike.
Lord, hear the confession of Thy guilty people; for we know well that unless Thou shouldest pardon, Thou dost righteously consume us.
Almighty Father, grant us that which though we pray we do not deserve to obtain; Thou who didst create men of nothing, that they might pray to Thee. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

   Amen.

3.

Oh, yes! The huge load of dishes. Due to a damaged pipe, we were without water over the weekend, but fortunately all was restored yesterday afternoon. Needless to say, we couldn’t wash dishes, couldn’t wash clothes . . . I sighed very deep sighs of satisfaction yesterday afternoon as I helped the kitchen regain its former shine. But hey, it wasn’t all bad. Paper plates, water bottles, and we had jugs of water to help the toilets flush. Lena even managed to back molasses cookies on Saturday evening, and white bean turkey chili (for Sunday potluck), when we had The Dash over and watched the VHS of my parents’ wedding day!

For us kids, it was the first time and to say we enjoyed it is the understatement of the century 😉 They were adorable and many moments of the day were equally touching and hilarious!

4.

Lately, I’ve been reading and contemplating the topic of modesty and feminine dress over at The Catholic Lady. An enjoyable and thought-provoking collection of posts and photos! I love the idea of photo-documenting modest outfits you wear . . . I’m going to try and do it on an irregular basis . . .

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My Sunday outfit . . . picture courtesy of my brother 😉

5.

For a bit of news, I’ve just put up the beginnings to my “Daily Dedications” section, and posted several prayers and devotions for Monday, to the Holy Ghost! I hope to build up the rest over the next few days . . . for now, check it out here.

6.

Sushi! I tried my first-ever sushi last Friday. California rolls, and also salmon. Amazing. 21.5 years of waiting, and it did not disappoint. Worthy of documentation . . . The Dash’s lovely sister got it on video, but as I stuffed the slightly over-large roll in my mouth all in one bite (using chopsticks, I proudly add), I’m not sure how pretty it looked, especially as I tried to chew the enormous amount of food and began dying with laughter, along with everyone else.

7.

I was blessed with several hours’ worth of Eucharistic Adoration over the past week and a half. Much of it was with The Dash. During one such Holy Hour last Monday, I had given him my little book about St. Raphael to read, and towards the end of our time there, he (silently) led me in the Litany of St. Raphael, guiding me with his finger.

To have daily prayed the “Angel of Happy Meetings” prayer for what seemed like such a long time last year . . .

Dear St. Raphael, Angel of Happy Meetings, lead me by the hand towards those I am waiting for, and those who are waiting for me. May all my movements, all their movements be guided by thy light and transfigured by thy joy. Angel guide of Tobias, lay the request I now address to thee at the feet of Him on Whose unveiled Face thou art privileged to gaze. (Mention your request.) Lonely and weary, deeply grieved by the separation and sorrows of earth, I feel the need of calling out to thee and of pleading for the protection of thy wings so that we may not be as strangers in the province of joy.

Remember the weak, thou who art strong, whose home lies beyond the region of thunder, in a land that is always peaceful, always serene and bright with the resplendent glory of God. Amen.

. . . and to then be praying in front of the Eucharist, and watch The Dash’s hand underline the words, “St. Raphael, Angel of Happy Meetings, pray for us,” was a moment beyond words–a moment for me to be overawed at the goodness of God as showered upon me through the intercession of this holy Archangel.

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!

-Offertory from the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

God bless you! 🙂

Sig

 

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

 

 

 

A few Saturday ramblings

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The snow is slowly starting to disperse under bright blue skies today, but here’s another gratuitous shot of the white loveliness from yesterday . . .

And now, a few ramblings for today!

One, my little Living Virtuously collection now has 20 documents available for download, with two quotes per document. It’s been such a lot of fun to add to this collection piece by piece, and especially to search out inspirational quotes on striving after virtue! This morning, I alphabetized the list since . . . well . . . it just wasn’t looking as beautifully organized as I wanted it to. Now it’s much better 🙂

CompanySecondly, on my sidebar there’s now a link to a second talk on traditional Catholic courtship, this time from Veritas Caritas, which I came across thanks to Finer Femininity. Fr. Ripperger’s talk was around 40 minutes . . . this one (given by an anonymous, traditional priest), on “Company Keeping,” was an hour and ten minutes! And how I loved it.

I feel so blessed by Our Lord to have been given the opportunity to practice traditional Catholic courtship, and not only this, but also to have been given someone who strongly believes in these principles of self-denial, prudence and virtuous conduct in courtship. The Dash and I have been courting for three months now, and they have been three most beautiful months!

I’m not an expert on courtship; I can’t argue eloquently, but can only speak from my own small stock of experience. That which our modern culture would call senseless sacrifice or prudishness for a courting couple to submit themselves to . . . chaperoning, moderated emotions, self-control and self-denial . . . I reflect on these past three months and embrace these things as having been so very worth it already, and so very right. If the couple is virtuous (or striving after virtue, anyway 😉 ), these acts of sacrifice and denial become an incredibly rich soil in which Christ-centered love and mutual respect can grow, slowly, healthily and without hindrance.

Perhaps what resonated with me most strongly from both these talks on Catholic courtship was the realization of the justice of courtship. Truly, I had never considered justice in the context of courtship. However, when you protect one another from occasions of sin and do what you can to safeguard one another’s honor and good name through chaperoning; when you honor one another’s bodies and your lack of rights to them through the denial of physical signs of affection; when you desire holiness for the other person and circumscribe your courtship with Godliness and prayer . . . you are simply fulfilling the dictates of justice. This was a huge source of clarity for me.

In the sense that it is very counter-cultural, courtship is hard. But it brings so much joy. If someone were to confront us and say, “Good grief, why don’t you guys just relax and have a little fun?” I think The Dash and I would look and one another start howling with laughter, because it seems as though all we’re doing is having fun, even with the Crosses, sickness, tiredness, and hard work every person must undergo in this life for their own sanctification. Because our consciences are being kept clean and pure in how we are treating one another, Christ is lavishly pouring His joy upon us and drawing us closer together with His Pierced Hands.

Some might point out that our society has changed so much as to render traditional courtship no longer feasible . . . but, no matter societal changes, fallen human nature remains the same. The dictates of justice remain the same. The sacredness of marriage and the finality of eternity remain the same. Man and woman remain the same. So . . . why can’t traditional courtship? The word, admittedly, has too many definitions, but these talks eloquently sum up the scope of and purpose behind Catholic courtship!

And thirdly, I recently came across a book provided by the ever-helpful Fish Eaters, called The Christian Home: A Guide to Happiness in the Home that caught my eye and intrigued me delightfully. I’ll be trying to read it as and when I can 🙂

And now I’m off (metaphorically) to Fribourg! Have a blessed Saturday!

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