Friday, February 23, 2018

Well Said: Listening as a gift of self

The silence of listening is a form of attention, a gift of self to the other, and a mark of moral generosity. It should manifest an awareness of our humility so as to agree to receive from another person a gift that God is giving us. For the other person is always a treasure and a precious gift that God offers to help us grow in humility, humanity, and nobility.

I think that the most defective human relationship is precisely one in which the silence of attention is absent.
Cardinal Sarah, The Power of Silence
I struggle with this. It is so hard to not be thinking of what one wants to say in response instead of simply listening and giving the person one's full attention. And yet when I do, it is rewarding.

Worth a Thousand Words: Ghiberti

Lorenzo Ghiberti on the Paradise Gate ot the Baptisterio (Florence) self portrait

Litany of the Sacred Heart

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.

Response: have mercy on us

Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father,
Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mother,
Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God,
Heart of Jesus, of Infinite Majesty,
Heart of Jesus, Sacred Temple of God,
Heart of Jesus, Tabernacle of the Most High,
Heart of Jesus, House of God and Gate of Heaven,
Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity,
Heart of Jesus, abode of justice and love,
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love,
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise,
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts,
Heart of Jesus, in Whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,
Heart of Jesus, in Whom dwells the fullness of divinity,
Heart of Jesus, in Whom the Father was well pleased,
Heart of Jesus, of Whose fullness we have all received,
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills,
Heart of Jesus, patient and most merciful,
Heart of Jesus, enriching all who invoke you,
Heart of Jesus, fountain of life and holiness,
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins,
Heart of Jesus, loaded down with opprobrium,
Heart of Jesus, obedient to death,
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance,
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation,
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection,
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation,
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins,
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who trust in you,
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in you,
Heart of Jesus, delight of all the Saints,

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

V. Jesus, meek and humble of heart.
R. Make our hearts like to yours.

Let us pray:

Almighty and eternal God, look upon the Heart of Your most beloved Son and upon the praises and satisfaction which He offers You in the name of sinners; and to those who implore Your mercy, in Your great goodness, grant forgiveness in the name of the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You forever and ever.

You may read more about the sacred heart of Jesus here.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Worth a Thousand Words: The Cutest Dog in the World

This is Rose's dog Zoe and though she is a bit grayer now than when this was taken, she is just as cute.

Well Said: Joining a Resistance Movement

Mankind must join a sort of resistance movement. What will become of our world if it does not look for intervals of silence? Interior rest and harmony can flow only from silence. Without it, life does not exist. The greatest mysteries of the world are born and unfold in silence. How does nature develop? In the greatest silence. A tree grows in silence, and springs of water flow at first in the silence of the ground. The sun that rises over the earth in its splendor and grandeur warms us in silence. What is extraordinary is always silent.

In his mother's womb, an infant grows in silence. When a newborn is sleeping in his crib, his parents love to gaze at him in silence, so as not to awaken him; this spectacle can be contemplated only in silence, in wonder at the mystery of man in his original purity.
Cardinal Sarah, The Power of Silence

Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans

When Noel Bostock—aged ten, no family—is evacuated from London to escape the Nazi bombardment, he lands in a suburb northwest of the city with Vee—a thirty-six-year old widow drowning in debts and dependents. Always desperate for money, she’s unscrupulous about how she gets it.

Wise beyond his years and raised with a disdain for authority, Noel has little in common with the impulsive Vee, who hurtles from one self-made crisis to the next. The war’s provided unprecedented opportunities for making money, but what Vee needs—and what she’s never had—is a cool head and the ability to make a plan.

On her own, she’s a disaster. With Noel, she’s a team.

Together, they cook up a scheme. But there are plenty of other people making money out of the war—and some of them are dangerous. ...
I really enjoyed this book, having come across it after watching Their Finest which was based on a book also written by Lissa Evans. The teaming of Noel and Vee has been compared by more than one reviewer as having a Paper Moon vibe and that's fair.

I really enjoyed the way the author could set a sense of place and time, seemingly effortlessly. It was a different take on wartime England during the Blitz and yet absolutely recognizable.

I was thoroughly invested in Noel's and Vee's separate dilemmas and enjoyed the way the plot set me up for various predictable events and then took completely unexpected turns. It has serious issues but they're handled with a light enough hand that I never felt dragged down. In that way it reminded me of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand.

If you're looking for a light but absorbing story, this is one to try.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Worth a Thousand Words: Redpolls

Redpolls, Remo Savisaar

Well Said: What the desert teaches us

Great things begin in the desert, in silence, in poverty, in abandonment. Look at Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, and Jesus himself. The desert is where God leads us in order to speak to us in a heart-to-heart conversation (cd. Hos 2:16-23). But the desert is not only the place where men can experience the physical test of hunger, thirst, and total destitution. It is also the land of temptation, where Satan's power is manifested. The devil often leads us there to hold out to us the prospect of all the world's splendors and to persuade us that we would be wrong to give them up. By going into the desert, Jesus exposed himself to Satan's seductive power and firmly opposed it, thus prolonging the event of his baptism and his Incarnation. he is not content to descend into the deep waters of the Jordan. christ descends also to the very depths of human misery, to the regions of broken hearts and ruined relationships, to the most depraved carnal dictatorships and the desolate places of a world marred by sin. The desert teaches us to fight against evil and all our evil inclinations so as to regain our dignity as children of God. It is impossible to enter into the mystery of God without entering into the solitude and silence of our interior desert.
Cardinal Sarah, The Power of Silence

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Worth a Thousand Words: John Singer Sargent's Theodore Roosevelt

John Singer Sargent, Theodore Roosevelt, 1903
I really love the story that goes with this. It completes the painting for me.
The famous expatriate artist arrived in America in January 1903 and soon received a letter from Roosevelt inviting him to live in the White House during the month of February to work on the portrait....

Together [Sargent and Roosevelt] toured the White House while Sargent looked for proper light and a good pose.... As Roosevelt led the way upstairs, so the story goes, he said, "The trouble with you Sargent, is that you don't know what you want." "No," replied the artist, "the trouble, Mr. President, is that you don't know what a pose means." Roosevelt turned sharply back, grasped the newel-post and snapped, "Don't I!" "Don't move an inch. You've got it now," responded Sargent.
Notes from Kloss, William, et al.
Art in the White House: A Nation's Pride.

Lagniappe: Texts from Don Quixote

dragons everywhere

where are the dragons?
where are you?

I am beset by dragons my love!
There has been perfidy
in this strange land of iron islands
and wraiths that drape themselves in steam

are you in the kitchen?

no kitchen could produce a bellow so terrifying
nor a stench so foul
as that of these steel dragons

I think you are in the kitchen

they perch upon nests of flame

you are absolutely in the kitchen
that is the tea kettle


please do not stab my tea kettle

ah, dear one
your concern for my safety does you credit
but a man must be brave
where is my steed
where is Rocinante
Mallory Ortberg, Texts From Jane Eyre:
And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters
This is such a fun frippery of a book. It didn't always hit the mark, but when it did I couldn't help laughing. Out loud, of course!

Scott invited Julie to the open house for his new House of Usher.

She thought the bleak tarn wasn't bleak or tarn-y enough. And she rearranged the furniture. Scott walled her into the basement to rethink her decisions.

Episode 176 of A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast: Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Well Said: Embracing the Future

To have a child is to embrace a future you can't control.
Radio Lab, Tom French, 23 Weeks 6 Days episode
We tend to think of what we can't control in terms of dread, of the worst that could happen. But what if we turn it around and think of the times joy or happiness has surprised us? That is something we can't control either. And a child brings those in measures overflowing, in unpredictable ways.

Worth a Thousand Words: Bouquet of Flowers

Henri Rousseau, Bouquet of Flowers, 1909-1910
via Arts Everyday Living

Thank you for the prayers

The Beyond Cana retreat went really well, with five couples refreshed and renewed in their marriages. As well, we always experience many blessings while we are helping put the retreat on and this time was no exception.

Our thanks to everyone who supported us in prayer!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

3rd Sunday of St. Joseph

Lorenzo Lotto. Madonna and Child with St. Jerome, St. Joseph and St. Anne.

Joseph, Husband of Mary

Painters have traditionally depicted Joseph as an elderly man in order to emphasize the perpetual virginity of Mary. Yet it is more likely that Joseph was not much older than Mary. You don't have to wait to be old or lifeless to practice the virtue of chastity. Purity comes from love; and the strength and joy of youth are no obstacle to a noble love. Joseph had a young heart and a young body when he married Mary, when he learned of the mystery of her divine motherhood, when he lived in her company, respecting the integrity God wished to give the world as one more sign that he had come to share the life of his creatures. (St. Escriva, Christ is passing by)

Let us ask the Holy Patriarch to teach us how to live this kind of love in the circumstances to which God has called us. We want this love that lights up the heart (St. Thomas, On Charity) so that we may perform our ordinary work with joy.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Litany for Lent 1

Years ago I regularly posted a Friday litany during Lent. And I'm in the mood to do it again. Here we go with one of the shortest I've ever seen ... from a spot that has many good litanies to offer.
Litany for Lent
Lord Jesus, you have come to save us from our sins.
Lord, have mercy.

You fasted to encourage us to do penance.
Lord, have mercy.

You suffered temptation to give us strength.
Lord, have mercy.

You were transfigured to give us hope.
Lord, have mercy.

You suffered insults to bring us salvation.
Lord, have mercy.

You accepted death to bring us life with you.
Lord, have mercy.

Gone Retreatin'

As regular readers know, Tom and I have been part of the Beyond Cana retreat team for about 12 years. Ever since it has begun at our parish, actually.
The Beyond Cana® marriage retreat offers the time and tools to restore and strengthen marriages - with God and His direction for us at the center.

It's a 2½ day retreat designed to enrich the marriages of couples who want to focus on the communication, respect, love, and intimacy that are so integral to a good marriage.
It is presented twice a year and it's that time again! Please keep the team and the attending couples in your prayers. I'll be back on Monday!