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This day in the Liturgical Year . . .
The Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, and the beginning of the St. Andrew Christmas Novena!
Hail, precious cross, receive the disciple of Him Who hung upon thee, even my Master Christ. * The blessed Andrew prayed saying: O Lord, King of eternal glory, receive me hanging on this gibbet. * Andrew was the servant of Christ, a worthy Apostle of God, the brother of Peter, and likened to him in his martyrdom. * Christ’s dear handmaid, Maximilla, took away the body of the Apostle, and buried it with spices in an honorable place.
–Antiphons at Vespers
Outside my window . . .
A late-November downpour: a misty, gray wetness clinging to the nearly-bare trees; red leaves shivering under the rain. For over a week, the weather here has been almost unfailingly bright and beautiful. This sudden change has a stark beauty in its own right, though, and also reminds me of what Strider and the hobbits might have traveled through after leaving Bree; cloaked and sodden, trudging quietly on with their heads tucked down against the miserable weather.
Sounds throughout the house . . .
Rainfall on the roof; Lena giving our younger brother and sister a lesson in Bible History downstairs. Accompanying chatter. Pippin (the washing machine . . .) chugging away from the laundry room, full of my youngest sister’s clothes, as it’s her washing day. The printer clicking and whirring in the study.
I am wearing . . .
Yet another football shirt (strangely, I always seem to be wearing these on Daybook day, which provides an embarrassing lack of variety . . . I do wear other things, you know), casual, gray drawstring pants with a yellow and white stripe running down either side, tennis shoes, Miraculous Medal, hair in a loose bun against my neck.
Attempts in the kitchen . . .
An innocent parody of Mother Teresa seems appropriate here: Thanksgiving is gone; Christmas has not yet come; we have only today; let us begin dieting! Finally, the all the lovely delectations are out of the house and my digestive tract is beginning to awaken and thank me for no longer dumping Thanksgiving-sized amounts of sugar and starch into it.
Last night, the guys were gone yet again, which provided yet another opportunity for culinary experimentation. Mom came up with a delicious ground-turkey, onion, green bell pepper, chili powder, parsley, salt, pepper olive oil, garlic, russet and sweet potato hash, all done in a cast-iron skillet. Ahh, it was amazing. This Irish girl could live solely off potatoes. And I kid you not as to the euphoria I experience when I remember I’m having it for lunch in a few hours 😉
A note on projects . . .
Yesterday, after about a week of slow consideration, list-making, budgeting and brainstorming, I balanced my checkbook and accomplished some early online Christmas shopping. I haven’t done everything, but it’s a pleasant feeling to at least have finished Round One 🙂
But ah, yes; it’s time for a miniature reveal. I have hinted at an ongoing project here–one for my mother’s birthday–numerous times without offering any details. However, as I can safely talk about it now, here goes!
It’s a daily planner, centered around the liturgical year and based upon the Old (Extraordinary Form) Calendar/1962 Missal. It begins in Advent of this year and ends on the Last Week after Pentecost in November 2018. I had the idea around half a year ago, spent weeks designing it, but my creative wheels ceased to turn as I grew unsure of what to actually do with it. However, a few weeks ago my mother asked for one for her birthday, so I picked up the reins I’d dropped and put it through a re-design.
She has her copy in now and, like the best of mothers, has both loved it and offered helpful critique, so I’ve been busy making tweaks here and there in my editable documents. I’m not sure what the future holds in terms of designing more planners, but I can say I thoroughly enjoyed it (even with the eye strain) and would love to share a peek with any interested readers! So I compiled my monthly “at-a-glance” pages, which are included in the planner, into one document and uploaded it to the blog for free download and printing. If you’d like, check it out here 🙂 Below is a snapshot:
I am reading . . .
Continuing to read, as and when I can, Raise Happy Children . . . Teach Them Virtues! I have not picked up War and Peace for a little while, but not for lack of interest . . . probably just lack of time. I remember precisely where I am, though. Pierre’s father is in the last stages of his illness, and Pierre (bewildered as ever) is being ushered into the house (through the back way) by the quite capable (to put it mildly) Anna, even as within the house others are plotting to keep the inheritance away from him.
For a prayer group, Lena and I are both reading A Map of Life (and for me, it’s a re-read), and once again I am in awe of the contents of this book. Every paragraph contains enough truth, clarity, and profoundly simple insight to, physically, give me chill bumps. We’ve been reading it aloud to one another, which in my opinion is the best way to share an excellent book 🙂 Especially an excellent book I only had to pay 99 cents for . . .
Freedom is usually defined as the power to do what one likes. Accepting the definition, one sees instantly that the power to do what one likes may be the goal, but doing what one likes is not necessarily the road to the goal. In the bodily order, eating what one likes, for instance, may very well be the very solidest hindrance to doing what one likes, and a certain prelude to suffering what one very much dislikes. It is only by doing as one ought, that one attains a condition in which one has true physical freedom, the uttermost freedom possible to the body. And the same truth applies exactly to the soul. Freedom, then, is not to be attained by doing what we like unless by chance we like what we ought: which brings us back to the true purpose of our being and the laws by which our being may progress towards it. Apart from that is only loss.
F. J. Sheed. A Map Of Life (Kindle Locations 201-207). Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Contemplating authentic femininity . . .
I just now came across this old quote I’d saved, years ago . . .
“Our old analogy of the fire remains the most workable one. The fire need not blaze like electricity, nor boil like boiling water; its point is that it blazes more than water and warms more than light. The wife is like the fire—or to put things in their proper proportion, the fire is like the wife. Like the fire, the woman is expected to cook, not to excel in cooking, but to cook; to cook better than her husband who is earning the cook by lecturing on botany or breaking stones. Like the fire, the woman is expected to tell tales to the children, not original and artistic tales, but tales, better tales than would probably be told by a first-class cook . . .”
-G. K. Chesterton, The Emancipation of Domesticity
Yesterday afternoon, my parents and I fell into conversation about my father’s workplace that day, and about the stress a woman was going through due to her daughter having broken her arm at school. The scenario reminded me strongly of how motherhood is, truly, a full-time job. I can’t begin to imagine the stress of trying to sustain two full-time jobs; something, surely, has to give. To me, in the futuristic sense, nothing would ever be worth bartering away my place at home with my children . . . that sacred place, full of hours unnoticed by the world, in which I can be content to be a fire that blazes more than water and warms more than light.
On living the Faith . . .
Preparing for Advent . . . which means, I suppose, preparing for preparation 😉
Prayerfully . . .
It’s the last day of the Month of the Holy Souls! Let’s all make special offerings of prayers and sacrifices for their relief and release today. Be mindful, O Lord, of those Thou hast redeemed by the shedding of Thy Most Precious Blood.
Collect of St. Andrew:
We humbly entreat Thy majesty, O Lord: that as the blessed Apostle Andrew was once a teacher and ruler of Thy Church: so he may be a constant advocate for us before Thee.
Antiphon at the Magnificat for Vespers:
When the blessed Andrew had come to the place where the cross was prepared, he cried out and said: O good Cross, so long desired, and now made ready for my longing soul! I come unto thee with confidence and joy; do thou also joyfully receive me, the disciple of Him Who hung upon thee.
Let’s also pray to have this heroic courage and fidelity of St. Andrew!