For some reason, here it is midnight, and I have a loaf of some kind of chocolate bread thing in the oven, and some bread dough rising on the counter.
Well, the chocolate bread thing is from a high-end mix that was a Christmas gift. I had completely forgotten about it until I was digging in the the cupboards looking for peanut butter (no luck, and darn if I neglected to get some tonight on my milk run to the grocery store), so I decided to make it. And the bread dough is just the artisan bread in five minutes that’s supposed to provide enough dough for a week’s worth of loaves. Hahaha.
It’s cold, but you know what? It’s winter. A headline to the effect of “no letup in winter weather” crossed my screen earlier. All I could think was that: It’s winter. January. This is not. News.
We do have disappointment in these parts, however, that there’s been no serious snow yet. We still have a couple of weeks. The first year we were here, there was considerable (an inch or two) snow on, I think the first weekend of February. So they might get their satisfaction yet.
Some bloggers have already mentioned it, but it bears repeating: Go check out the work of Daniel Mitsui. He is a terrifically talented and (I believe) important artist whose family has experienced great difficulties this year. We own his wonderful St. Michael print, one of many he has done in a classical Japanese style. For more on the situation and how to purchase any one of his wonderful pieces, go here.
His blog, The Lion and the Cardinal has understandably not been updated much of late, but if you have never visited, do. It’s a treasure trove of fascinating information about all manner of Catholic art and culture.
A rather busy week. A visit to the Civil Rights Institute, a tour of an interesting medical facility, one science center class, one zoo class, four basketball practices, a scout meeting.
One of the things the boys do is to teach the rest of us whatever they learned at their special class. Here’s someone preparing his lesson on molecules and polymers.
This was supposed to be a session exploring color theory, but this was really all that happened.
I randomly pulled up a short Frost poem for reading, discussion and copywork today. This one.
After they read it, I asked them what it was about. Their immediate response was: “The bird shook snow on him and so it ruined his day.”
The way a crowShook down on meThe dust of snowFrom a hemlock treeHas given my heartA change of moodAnd saved some partOf a day I had rued.
Um no…let’s try that again.
For religion, we tend to go mostly with what the liturgical year is teaching us through the feasts and seasons and daily Mass readings and Liturgy of the Hours. The First Readings of Daily Mass have been 1 Samuel of late, which makes me glad because 1 Samuel is probably my favorite Old Testament book. I have always thought that anyone who is really convinced that this stuff is just all fabricated should take a gander at 1 Samuel. A nation that would make up stories of its foundational monarchy that featured madness, jealousy, religious infidelity, deep moral flaws and ambiguities…would not have done a very good job.
It’s the feast of St. Francis de Sales.
I say that devotion must be practised in different ways by the nobleman and by the working man, by the servant and by the prince, by the widow, by the unmarried girl and by the married woman. But even this distinction is not sufficient; for the practice of devotion must be adapted to the strength, to the occupation and to the duties of each one in particular.Tell me, please, my Philothea, whether it is proper for a bishop to want to lead a solitary life like a Carthusian; or for married people to be no more concerned than a Capuchin about increasing their income; or for a working man to spend his whole day in church like a religious; or on the other hand for a religious to be constantly exposed like a bishop to all the events and circumstances that bear on the needs of our neighbour. Is not this sort of devotion ridiculous, unorganised and intolerable? Yet this absurd error occurs very frequently, but in no way does true devotion, my Philothea, destroy anything at all. On the contrary, it perfects and fulfils all things. In fact if it ever works against, or is inimical to, anyone’s legitimate station and calling, then it is very definitely false devotion….Therefore, in whatever situations we happen to be, we can and we must aspire to the life of perfection.
The life of St Francis de Sales was a relatively short life but was lived with great intensity. The figure of this Saint radiates an impression of rare fullness, demonstrated in the serenity of his intellectual research, but also in the riches of his affection and the “sweetness” of his teachings, which had an important influence on the Christian conscience.
He embodied the different meanings of the word “humanity” which this term can assume today, as it could in the past: culture and courtesy, freedom and tenderness, nobility and solidarity. His appearance reflected something of the majesty of the landscape in which he lived and preserved its simplicity and naturalness. Moreover the words of the past and the images he used resonate unexpectedly in the ears of men and women today, as a native and familiar language.
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