Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bookish Catholics

Reading Woman by Poul Friis Nybo

We have a happy new little thing around here.

A book a month. Great women to discuss them with. Can it get any better?  A book club.

A Catholic Book Club. Inspired by such as Betty Duffy, her reading group Reading for Believers and Leila at Like Mother Like Daughter.

I think this satisfies a long held dream. To be a literature professor at a small Catholic college and sit around discussing classics in the light of life and faith.

So, I have found a way to grant this little longing of mine without abandoning my husband and children. That would not be good.

Bookish Catholics is the happy place.

Because, other than my husband and children, there is really nothing that has ever made me more happy that reading a good book. From when I was 7, reading The Boxcar Children to 3 years ago when I read my first Tolstoy.

This sums it all up quite nicely:

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours” - Alan Bennett

So, feel free to read along, join our bloggy discussions and be happy with me!

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

a Holy Thursday that feels like any other day.

I suffer from the torment of high expectations.

I woke up this morning, Holy Thursday morning, knowing that it is my favorite feast. Knowing that it is filled with stunning memories of my conversion, of special friends, of wafts of overwhelming incense, of priests laying themselves on the carpet before the altar, of walking through the dark in procession singing ancient hymns, of hours kneeling on a linoleum floor praying late into the night in front of the Real Presence with tears running down my face.

And I rolled over and put 15 more minutes on my alarm. Just didn't want to do it today. I alternated through breakfast with my four children, "It's Holy Thursday, the day Jesus created the Mass!" with "If you don't like Cinnamon Life cereal then you just aren't a very thankful kid. Maybe you can make breakfast next week for everyone!"

Such loveliness coming out of me.

on this day.

that I love so much.

I took my older kids to school and came home and sat in the red chair in the living room and watched my 4 year old peruse a picture book Can You Find Jesus? A holy derivation of Where's Waldo.

And I thought that was pretty amusing.

I looked at her young face, her smooth round cheeks and the curl of her blond hair under her chin. The way her eyes searched the page, so blue and big. Her almost red eyelashes. Such beauty. And I was filled with this overpowering love. I so want to do right by her. Please, Lord.

So what is wrong with me, where my memories and aspirations have to scale this colossal wall of my stubbornness? I cannot get there. To that place where I can sit back and sigh with joy that I'm finally "doing it right". I feel the disadvantage of being a convert, of not having these traditions ingrained in me. Of my laziness, maybe.  I feel completely inadequate. What does He think He's doing, giving these four kids to me?

Then, I wonder, were those days I remember really that stunning in real time? Or, was it only later that I recall their significance? Can I really create or fabricate that, or is just all a gift?

Am I just coming up with excuses?

Can Jesus overcome me today, undo my mistakes, and make His impact. Is it enough for me to rely on the Church to do this job? It has for so many generations. The Church did it for me. The Church alone. I had no one hovering over me, pointing me, reminding me, redirecting me. I had the Church, the priests, the Mass, the Triduum.

I pray for my children. Maybe that is all I can do today. I do not feel inspiring. I do not have any touching crafts up my sleeve. I do not have a homemade Seder meal ready in the fridge. Maybe next year. There's always next year, right?

This year I will just love. I will pray. I will take them to live with the Church these three Holy Days. And, I hope, someday when they look back, they will have found Jesus, right here in the midst of all my sloppiness.

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