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Archive for the ‘7 Quick Takes’ Category

— 1 —

Again with the  Daily Homeschool Report thing – and the short Thursday report.

  • Another class at the Cathedral for homeschoolers – his grade does drama one hour and then history of science the next. Today, the science focus was on Anton van Leeuwenhoek and his very early microscope.
  • Back home noonish – lunch.
  • We did some Beast Academy  – learning about like terms and combining terms. (5th grade, remember).
  • Then there was something else. What was it?
  • Typing this well after midnight after a 3-hour “book group.” Fill in the blanks.
  • Ummmm….
  • Nope. I actually think that was it.
  • Piano practice.
  • Off to piano lesson.

— 2 —

“Mr. R. did something really cool in my lesson today.”

“What?”

“He took the ‘A’ section of the Joplin and played it like a Chopin nocturne……

(pause)

……I want to be able to do that…”

*thank you*

 

– 3—

Movie report from last weekend:

  • The Ladykillers. What a fantastic film. We continue the Alec Guinness trend – partly because he was great and partly because his presence makes an old movie a more acceptable choice. And all the more intriguing because in every film of his we’ve recently watched, he plays such varied parts – I mean, compare him in Great Expectations, Bridge over the River Kwai and The Ladykillers. Fascinating.
  • (I have never seen the Coen brothers remake)
  • Here’s what is odd. See if you can work this out with me. We live in times in which popular culture is odd and inhumane, superficial and ready to expose and exploit whatever.
  • But does anyone think that this film – as an original – could be made today?
  • Yes, there was the Coen brothers remake which stayed faithful to the body count, but it was a *remake.*
  • It wouldn’t happen. There’s a kind of post-war awareness and acceptance of darkness and the quiet, persistent force of good that can knock it out – and does – that wouldn’t find its way to film today.

— 4 —

Guess what, I said. It’s the feast of St. Blaise, I said. We’ll go to Mass and have our throats blessed with candles, I said.

Okay!

So yes we did go to Mass. And the priest announced he’d be doing a communal blessing of St. Blaise at the end of it.  No sacramentals for you, suckers!

— 5 —

It looks like I’m going to be at NCEA in San Diego in March – for just a day – so if you are one of those teacher types, see if you can find me, and say hey.

— 6

My Goodreads widget over there says I am currently reading Trollope, but it has started to bore me just a bit – and I have started J. B. Priestley’s Good Companions. The first chapter was full up with dialect, which was a bit rough but necessary I suppose. The second gives me a break on that score, and I just might be able to stick with it. We’ll see.

Look for posting of a review of that Bouyer memoir later today (Friday).

— 7 —

Reminder – if you’re teaching First Communion prep…maybe consider this book?

Also, my bookstore is open – I don’t have everything in stock, but I do have lots of the picture books. If you are an administrator or pastor or otherwise generous person and are interested in some sort of bulk deal, let me know at amywelborn60 – at – gmail.

In less than two weeks…Lent.

Time to order your parish/school materials – even if you want to order some for a group of friends or a class…here you go!

A Stations of the Cross for teens:

"amy welborn"

Biblical Way of the Cross for everyone:

For Ave Maria press, we wrote John Paul II’s Biblical Way of the Cross. The current edition is illustrated with paintings by Michael O’Brien.

"amy welborn"

There’s also a digital edition in app form.

Reconciled to God – a daily devotional. Also available in an e-book format. Only .99.

amy-welborn-3

Looking for a book study for a group? How about Matthew 26-28: Jesus’ Life-Giving Death from Loyola. 

"amy welborn"

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!

Read Full Post »

— 1 —

You know, I’ve been doing this Daily Homeschool Report thing – our Thursdays tend to be shorter, so I’ll throw the Thursday report here. 

  • On Thursday mornings we head downtown where he participates in a couple of classes for homeschoolers – his grade does drama one hour and then history of science the next. Today, they rehearsed a play they’ll be performing and then learned about Galileo – he was full of fun facts afterwards.
  • Then home, where we did one page of math review (reviewing fractions now) and the next-to-last page of the Beast Academy workbook page on negative and positive integers.
  • Then I said….read, draw or play outside or whatever. Just no screens and no Legos. So he went off and read a bit and is now drawing. He wanders in every now and then to tell me things: why he likes Tolkein’s description of Smaug and (I thought this was interesting) his idea that in school, Show and Tell shouldn’t end with little kids.  Older kids should have a chance to bring in and talk about what they create and treasure, too.
  • In an hour it will be time to practice piano and then off to the weekly lesson. After that, pick up brother and then this one is going off to watch a basketball game at another school with a friend.
  • That’s why Thursdays are short.

— 2 —

Watch this video! It’s a beautiful video about St. Bernard’s Abbey, located north of here in Cullman. It’s good not just because of what it says about monasticism, but also, if you think about it, about Christian discipleship, period.

Argh, I wish they would open a Birmingham satellite of the school…..

 

– 3—

Movie report from last weekend:

  • Got in Bridge over the River Kwai. It’s long, but they endured and were about 80% engaged through most of it – the Alec Guiness factor helps. What struck me this time (which might as well have been a first time, considering it’s probably been thirty years since I saw it last) was the ending. The author of the original novel and one of the screenplay authors was Pierre Boulle, a French writer who also wrote the novel Planet of the Apes was based on.  Everyone knows the ending to that film, and the end of Bridge is strikingly similar – the doctor, the sole voice of morality and reason throughout all the insanity, sees the destruction and death in front of him and declares, “Madness! Madness!”
  • Boulle, who had been a POW in Southeast Asia during the war and had seen the worst that human beings can do to each other and to their world, obviously had a them going.
  • We then tried some Harold Lloyd – they’ve seen Chaplin (Gold Rush and a couple others) and Buster Keaton (The General  – at our local glam-movie house a while back), so it was time for Lloyd. We watched The Freshman which was amusing but did not exactly make them converts, I don’t think.  The most interesting element to me occurred at one point when, at a college mixer, the tailor who has come along to fix Harold’s barely-basted-together suit in secret has a dizzy spell which he says can only be alleviated by having a drink. So Lloyd dances in the crowd, flipping up coattails, searching for a flask – of course, because it’s Prohibition!
  • Don’t be super impressed with our Film Culture ways. Over the past couple of weeks, they also watched both Bill and Ted movies- but hey, I made them watch the chess season from The Seventh Seal before Bogus Journey so they’d get the reference. Does that count for something?

— 4 —

Speaking of Alabama Catholic stuff, the youngish rector of our Cathedral is heading to Rome to work in the Congregation for the Clergy. Under his leadership, amazing things have happened at the Cathedral – the renovation and the magnificent music program being just two. The parish, which is downtown and not in a residential area, is growing, not least by increasing numbers of younger families drawn to straight-up, solid, beautiful Catholic liturgy with no fear of cringy lameness. If you are ever in town, come visit.

Anyway, here’s an article from the local paper about the move:

“The Lord was preparing me to be moved,” Bazzel said. “It’s been a tremendous grace for me to be here at St. Paul’s. The parish is an incredible, growing, giving family. It’s hard to have a downtown parish. People here are really engaged. It’s something I will miss tremendously, having been here the last nine years.”

— 5 —

There were many great stories to come out of the March for Life – we all read about the Mass by the side of the road with the snow altar. Here’s another one – from St. John Cantius in ChicagoSt. John Cantius in Chicago. The group of young people and their chaperones was a wonderful witness to life and discipleship during the three days they were stranded in Pennsylania: 

That evening at Mass, Fr. Nathan Caswell, SJC preached a sermon that hit home. “We all want to go home, but heaven is our real home. And this is something that we can only do together.” Suddenly homesickness became a spiritual longing. That was it. In that moment, everything was offered.

Robert White, a young student from Rockford, reflected on this lesson, “When I was stuck in Pennsylvania, all my thoughts were on home until that last sermon on Sunday. It did something to me; it awakened some other part of me I have never seen before, the realization that we are all in this fight together, the fight for life. If we try to look after ourselves, we will never find life, we will only find death. To find life you have to go out of yourself.”

Kate Brown wrote “It was nice to see how people offered it up when they remembered the whole reason for the trip. If it takes being stranded in Pennsylvania to raise awareness for the pro-life movement, then it will all have been worth it.”

Angelica Kowara wrote, “It was hard being optimistic the whole time, and to be honest, I wasn’t. I doubted God’s plan. I was mad. I wanted to go home. But I realized, heaven is the real home I am trying to reach and being with the Crusaders for so long brought me one step closer.”

— 6

Recent reads:

  • Scandal by Shusaku Endo. (I’m trying to read what I can of Endo before the film Silence is released – I’m guessing this fall maybe. )
  • Pierre et Jean by Guy de Maupassant.  I was just poking around, looking for a short novel that I could knock off in an hour or so, and this was one someone’s list. Somewhere.  I can’t say a whole lot about the plot, for there’s an element on which the whole thing hinges that you really shouldn’t know going in, although you will probably see what’s coming fairly quickly. Although I tire of 19th century earnestness and verbiage and the absence of bite in the prose, the ironic force of the story is still strong: the shallowness of the bourgeoisie and the ill-effect of inherited wealth.

An hour well spent – better than an hour on Facebook!

  • Read about half of The Memoirs of Louis Bouyer this evening, which is far more than I had intended. (It’s not long, so don’t be impressed). His account of his childhood in and around Paris is quite evocative and charming, and although what follows is more head-oriented and a great deal of “I was influenced by X, and then influenced by Y,” it’s still interesting.

— 7 —

Reminder – if you’re teaching First Communion prep…maybe consider this book?

Also, my bookstore is open – I don’t have everything in stock, but I do have lots of the picture books. If you are an administrator or pastor or otherwise generous person and are interested in some sort of bulk deal, let me know at amywelborn60 – at – gmail.

In less than two weeks…Lent.

Time to order your parish/school materials – even if you want to order some for a group of friends or a class…here you go!

A Stations of the Cross for teens:

"amy welborn"

Biblical Way of the Cross for everyone:

For Ave Maria press, we wrote John Paul II’s Biblical Way of the Cross. The current edition is illustrated with paintings by Michael O’Brien.

"amy welborn"

There’s also a digital edition in app form.

Reconciled to God – a daily devotional. Also available in an e-book format. Only .99.

amy-welborn-3

Looking for a book study for a group? How about Matthew 26-28: Jesus’ Life-Giving Death from Loyola. 

"amy welborn"

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!

Read Full Post »

(This is a reprint of a post I did last year – but the issue is naturally coming up again since the pre-Lent season, of which this will be the final Sunday  should  begin tomorrow  – and is, if you celebrate Extraordinary Form or Ordinariate! , so here it is..again.

It also points to the potential, always present, of liturgical-directive-by-fiat-and-directive being totally wrong-headed. )

 

"amy welborn"

This is one of those (many, perhaps) aspects of the post-Vatican II liturgical changes that really, really makes you go, “Huh?”

It’s bizarre for many reasons having to do with the normal reasons of upending tradition via committee work, but also because it’s such an unecumenical move, and, on paper at least, Vatican II was, we hear, informed by ecumenical concerns.

Backtrack:

To those of you involved in the Extraordinary Form as well as the Anglican Use, this is not news, but today (February 1) on the older calendar has a special name.  It’s called Septuagisima Sunday. It’s the beginning of a little mini-liturgical season.   From Fr. Kirby:

 In three weeks our heads will be marked with the ashes of penitence. A special time of preparation for Lent emerged in the liturgy of the 6th and 7th centuries. The three Sundays preceding Ash Wednesday were called Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima, meaning respectively, the seventieth, sixtieth, and fiftieth days before Pascha. The First Sunday of Lent is, of course, Quadragesima, the beginning of the Lenten fast of forty days.

Here is an excellent, thorough article in Dappled Things:

In the chapter titled “The History of Septuagesima,” Dom Guéranger added, “The Church, therefore, has instituted a preparation for the holy time of Lent. She gives us the three weeks of Septuagesima, during which she withdraws us, as much as may be, from the noisy distractions of the world, in order that our hearts may be the more readily impressed by the solemn warning she is to give us, at the commencement of Lent, by marking our foreheads with ashes.”

Septuagesima Sunday is the ninth Sunday before Lent, and it is the day on which the Septuagesima season of preparation for Lent has begun for more than 1,000 years in the traditional calendar. The Septuagesima season is made up of three Sundays: Septuagesima (which means seventieth), Sexagesima (which means sixtieth), and Quinquagesima (which means fiftieth), and it extends until Ash Wednesday.

Quadragesima is the name given in most languages to the season of Lent that starts on Ash Wednesday. For a few examples, in Spanish the name is cuaresma, in Portuguese quaresma, in French carême, and in Italian quaresima. In English, in contrast, the word for spring, lent, was used, which derives from the German word for long, because at this time of year the days get longer.

******

How the Church Keeps Septuagesima

Beginning with Compline (Night Prayer) on the Saturday before Septuagesima Sunday the Alleluia, Gloria, and Te Deum are not said any more until Easter. Two extra Alleluias are said at Vespers on that Saturday. In some places charming ceremonies have been practiced in which an Alleluia is put in a little coffin and buried, to be resurrected again only on Easter Sunday. Throughout Septuagesima, violet vestments are worn, except on feasts observed during weekday.

MORE

Septuagesima and the following days are observed in Anglicanism and in some Lutheran groups. The Eastern Catholics and Orthodox of course observe pre-Lent, described very well here at the Aquinas and More Bookstore site. 

(Hence my comment above about ecumenism. If the Anglicans could keep it…wouldn’t it have been  ecumenical of us to give it a chance to live as well?)

The point being…Lent calls for preparation.  And while it’s all well and good to look at the calendar, wonder, “Hey, when is Ash Wednesday this year?” And then say, “Yikes…that’s soon!  Okay. Start thinking. What am I going to give up?” …well, what these traditional preparation-for-the-preparatory seasons do is to set the fact of that realization and need to prepare into a deep context that is wise, rooted in the richness of tradition , and helpful.

So, from a 7th grade religion textbook published in 1947, part of the The Christ Life Series in Religion: 

(Click on the images to get readable version)

"amy welborn""amy welborn"

"amy welborn"

What I particularly like is the long paragraph on p. 146.  I’ll type some of it out here:

Thousands and thousands of people upon the stage of lief are adjusting themselves to their roles in this drama — this drama which is real life.  Old men are there and old women, youths and maidens, and even little children.  From all parts of the world they come and from all walks of life — kings and queens, merchants and laborers, teachers and students, bankers and beggars, religious of all orders, cardinals, bishops and parish priests, and leading them all the Vicar of Christ on earth.  All are quietly taking their laces, for all re actors in the sublime mystery drama of our redemption.

We, too, have our own parts to play in this living drama.  And there is no rehearsal.  We begin now, on Septuagesima, following as faithfully as we can the guidance of the Holy Spirit, which comes to us particularly in the Mass and the sacraments.

It would be very clear, wouldn’t it, to the twelve-year old reading this, that he or she is not waiting to be a real, active Christian – the time is now, and the Spirit is active in the lives of all the baptized.  Rather stirring, isn’t it? You’re young, yes, but you’re not an extra in this – you are all in. 

So…..what happened?

As usual, it was determined that all this was too hard for us.

A good summary is offered by Dr. Lauren Pristas here (it’s a pdf file)

In short, the committees appointed to reform everything about the liturgical life of the Church after the Council decided to ditch it.  I’ll quote a bit here, but do check out the rest – it’s not long, although her specifics regarding the Collect prayers (her specialization) may not be of as much interest to you.  The options developed by the committee were:

  1. Either the names of the Sundays or the prayers are preserved, but the penetential aspect abolished
  2. Or the season itself is abolished, but the prayers used at another place in the Church year
  3. Or the season is abolished and the prayers used in the last three Sundays before Lent.

As Pristas points out, the two options that are not there are either making no change at all or abolishing everything, names, prayers, season – which is, of course,  what happened.

Van Doren’s answer to the question about Septuagesima appears first. He added
a solution, (d), according to which Septuagesima would be retained as a period of
austerity. He called Septuagesima ‘the doorway of Lent’ and voted that nothing
be changed. In the event his solution (d) would not prevail, Van Doren preferred
solution (c): that the name and penitential elements be removed but the formularies
retained.

None of the other members voted for Van Doren’s solution (d). Martimort called
for the suppression of Septuagesima. He did not comment on the formularies except
to say that these were the responsibility of other coetus.(committee)
Jounel also voted for suppression of the season, but wanted its

formularies used at another time. Amore
voted for suppression but divided the question of the formularies. He proposed that
the breviary lessons be moved to Advent, and the Mass lessons be retained in place.
Schmidt preferred that everything but the penitential elements remain the same, but
wanted the formularies retained even if the season were suppressed.Dirks voted
that the season with its penitential elements be suppressed but the formularies
retained. Nocent said that Septuagesima should be abolished for pastoral reasons:
so that the faithful may see the progress of the liturgical year clearly and not be
confused by diverse ‘anticipations’. He does not mention the formularies, but
summarises: ‘The names and penitential character ought to be abolished: the Gloria
and Alleluia said, the color green used, etc.’

The Birth of the Liturgy Committee, right there.  Crazy.

****

The records of Coetus 1 tell us that
Septuagesima was suppressed for the sake of the faithful: ‘the penitential character of
the time of Septuagesima or pre-Lent is difficult for the faithful to understand without
many explanations’. Further, Adrian Nocent said suppression of Septuagesima was
necessary if the faithful were to see the progress of the liturgical year clearly and not
be confused by diverse ‘anticipations’. But Callewaert’s historical study shows us
that the period of pre-Lenten penitence arose in the first place as an expression of the
devotion of the faithful.
This is key. Lent is a time of obligatory fasting and penance. Septuagesima, on the
other hand, is a short season through which the devotion of the faithful impels them
to prepare mentally, physically and spiritually for Lent. The Church has, since the
sixth century, encouraged and assisted the faithful in this preparation by appointing
special Masses and Offices for this season and using numeric nomenclature that
marks off the time remaining until both Lent (in Latin, Quadragesima or forty) and
the Pasch.

Look. Church Things come about for all kinds of reasons and out of all kinds of circumstances: good intentions, misguided intentions, evil, persecution and even accidents. The mystery of this dynamic intersection of divine and human ways is one of my abiding interests. In addition, liturgy develops, and while “organic development” is practically impossible to define, it’s also obvious that a handful of scholars from a particular place and time sorting through options for transforming a thousand year-old set of traditions in a way that will profoundly impact hundreds of millions of Catholics, present and future…ain’t it.

And perhaps… this example might also remind us – in case we’d forgotten – that there’s no need to view decision-making within Church institutions with piously folded hands that move only to place a finger to the lips while whispering Hush! Holy Spirit at work! All is well!

Read Full Post »

— 1 —

Today is always such a sad day, even more so as the years go on – I read things I wrote over twenty years ago on life issues and, well, I could have written them today.

 

— 2 —

A couple of examples from the archives – forgive the simple formatting – they are from my original website, and very basic in appearance.

Teach your children well

We can send a man to the moon….

– 3—

As it happens, I penned today’s Living Faith entry. It’s here. 

At the end of Mass, the celebrant felt moved to add a word of thanks. The choir, normally very good anyway, had risen to particularly stunning heights. So he thanked the musicians for their nottheenemydedication. “And,” he added cheerfully, “thanks to our baby choir too!”

That morning, as usual, the baby and toddler voices had echoed through the cathedral as well. I don’t think anyone minded, and if they did, the celebrant’s words of gratitude undoubtedly gave them food for thought.

More

— 4 —

Well, I suppose I will throw in my Thursday Homeschool Daily Report here, since it’s late and it’s short.

The informal homeschool classes that are held at the Cathedral started up again today – drama and history of science – so that was the morning’s activity (for him…me? To a coffeeshop with pad and paper…the only one there not on a laptop…). Then lunch, then just a couple more things – math review sheets and some Writing and Rhetoric – chapter 2, doing more on narratives and copiousness – replacing dull, ordinary adjectives and nouns with exciting, vibrant and enticing words. By that point it was time to do a bit of practice then head out to piano lesson.

Finis. 

— 5 —

Random Lent Prep link: Some Lenten sermons of St. Francis de Sales. 

Maybe if you read them, you can have your best. Lent. ever! 

— 6

Oh, this was good – from Brave Writer. Countering the argument (such as it is) that the best way to make writers out of kids is to put pencils in their hands at the age of 4 and push technical grammar awareness in first grade, with five-paragraph essays mastered by 3rd.

Imagine if you tried to teach your young speaker to talk by correcting every sentence/phrase, by parsing the grammar and commenting on the organization? What if you determined the topics for speaking and deemed certain topics “off limits”? What if speaking were limited to one portion of the day?

Am I taking this analogy too far?

I don’t think so. Speaking is seen as a necessity because it is modeled around us all the time by everyone. We assume that all kids will learn to speak and that every topic is relevant because speaking is about communicating…

Hmmmm. Are you starting to see what we’ve done to writing?

 

— 7 —

Reminder – if you’re teaching First Communion prep…maybe consider this book?

Also, my bookstore is open – I don’t have everything in stock, but I do have lots of the picture books. If you are an administrator or pastor or otherwise generous person and are interested in some sort of bulk deal, let me know at amywelborn60 – at – gmail.

Hey…Lent begins in less than a month….

Time to order your parish/school materials – even if you want to order some for a group of friends or a class…here you go!

A Stations of the Cross for teens:

"amy welborn"

Biblical Way of the Cross for everyone:

For Ave Maria press, we wrote John Paul II’s Biblical Way of the Cross. The current edition is illustrated with paintings by Michael O’Brien.

"amy welborn"

There’s also a digital edition in app form.

Reconciled to God – a daily devotional. Also available in an e-book format. Only .99.

amy-welborn-3

Looking for a book study for a group? How about Matthew 26-28: Jesus’ Life-Giving Death from Loyola. 

"amy welborn"

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!

Read Full Post »

— 1 —

It’s that time of year. Between basketball games, piano recitals (M’s program does far more than the winter-and-spring-routine. It’s all for the good, but still), and Scout activities, there are no free weekends, and I am in a constant state of low-level seething.

All we need now is a Project to really set me off and send me to Kayak, VRBO or researching international and online schools.

 

— 2 —

In case you have missed it, I’ve started a (for the moment) daily homeschool report. I do it not because I think what we do is so great (it isn’t), but to just put an account of what a sort-of-normal homeschool life is like out there for people who might be looking into it. It’s not “normal” because there is no such thing in the homeschooling world – everyone is different. We don’t do an across-the-board curriculum, we don’t have a particular philosophy, we do no online classes and there’s only one kid doing this at the moment – but what we do is what we do, and dissatisfaction with the brick-n-mortar school is growing at such a pace, I just wanted to put this out there so that people can see it can be done, it’s interesting, and if your only options are schools that don’t meet your child’s needs, and you have the opportunity, your child will not miss anything by homeschooling, and will gain a great deal.

 

– 3—

Last weekend, we watched two older movies, one good and one, so sad.  I had seen The Mouse that Roared ages ago- as kid myself, on TV, and remembered it being funny and screwball and crazy. It’s not. (As I ponder this, I actually think I might have read the book, and that left a positive impression. Maybe?) Peter Sellers is his usual brilliant self, but the movie as a whole is that usual late 50’s/early 60’s awkward comedic lameness.  And good lord, Jean Seberg is the worst. At least it was short.

 

— 4 —

The next night, however, we had better luck with Great Expectations.  My memories held up on that one.

The thing is, with your Star Wars fans, no matter how young they are, Obi-Wan gives you an in with older films, even for the reluctant. Chances are they will be very interested to see Alec Guiness in anything, particularly in a younger incarnation. They watched The Lavender Hill Mob and Kind Hearts and Coronets with that enticement, and so with this one – especially since it was his first film and he is SO YOUNG.

Depending on how everyone feels, we will probably try to get Bridge over the River Kwai in sometime this weekend – that takes a commitment.

— 5 —

This Sunday’s Gospel reading is the Wedding at Cana. To get a head start, consider this, from B16 in 2006

If we take this as our starting-point, we can now also understand the second part of Jesus’ answer: “My hour has not yet come”. Jesus never acts completely alone, and never for the sake of pleasing others. The Father is always the starting-point of his actions, and this is what unites him to Mary, because she wished to make her request in this same unity of will with the Father. And so, surprisingly, after hearing Jesus’ answer, which apparently refuses her request, she can simply say to the servants: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5). Jesus is not a wonder-worker, he does not play games with his power in what is, after all, a private affair. No, he gives a sign, in which he proclaims his hour, the hour of the wedding-feast, the hour of union between God and man. He does not merely “make” wine, but transforms the human wedding-feast into an image of the divine wedding-feast, to which the Father invites us through the Son and in which he gives us every good thing, represented by the abundance of wine. The wedding-feast becomes an image of that moment when Jesus pushed love to the utmost, let his body be rent and thus gave himself to us for ever, having become completely one with us – a marriage between God and man. The hour of the Cross, the hour which is the source of the Sacrament, in which he gives himself really to us in flesh and blood, puts his Body into our hands and our hearts, this is the hour of the wedding feast. Thus a momentary need is resolved in a truly divine manner and the initial request is superabundantly granted. Jesus’ hour has not yet arrived, but in the sign of the water changed into wine, in the sign of the festive gift, he even now anticipates that hour.

Jesus’ “hour” is the Cross; his definitive hour will be his return at the end of time. He continually anticipates also this definitive hour in the Eucharist, in which, even now, he always comes to us. And he does this ever anew through the intercession of his Mother, through the intercession of the Church, which cries out to him in the Eucharistic prayers: “Come, Lord Jesus!”. In the Canon of the Mass, the Church constantly prays for this “hour” to be anticipated, asking that he may come even now and be given to us. And so we want to let ourselves be guided by Mary, by the Mother of Graces of Altötting, by the Mother of all the faithful, towards the “hour” of Jesus. Let us ask him for the gift of a deeper knowledge and understanding of him. And may our reception of him not be reduced to the moment of communion alone. Jesus remains present in the sacred Host and he awaits us constantly. Here in Altötting, the adoration of the Lord in the Eucharist has found a new location in the old treasury. Mary and Jesus go together. Through Mary we want to continue our converse with the Lord and to learn how to receive him better. Holy Mother of God, pray for us, just as at Cana you prayed for the bride and the bridegroom! Guide us towards Jesus – ever anew! Amen!

 

 

 

— 6

Solitaire!

As I mentioned on Instagram, I was shocked and ashamed to discover a few days ago that my younger sons did not know how to play Solitaire.  I’m not sure how this passed them by. They do play actual real games with physical objects – not only video games – but perhaps, considering they don’t spend a lot of time on actual computers, where they might encounter that version of it – it makes some sense.

Anyway,  taught them, and it’s good. It probably won’t last, but it’s been a thing this week for them to feel a bit of boredom, spy their cards, and  just start playing.

"amy welborn"

— 7 —

Hey…Lent begins in less than a month….

Time to order your parish/school materials – even if you want to order some for a group of friends or a class…here you go!

A Stations of the Cross for teens:

"amy welborn"

Biblical Way of the Cross for everyone:

For Ave Maria press, we wrote John Paul II’s Biblical Way of the Cross. The current edition is illustrated with paintings by Michael O’Brien.

"amy welborn"

There’s also a digital edition in app form.

Reconciled to God – a daily devotional. Also available in an e-book format. Only .99.

amy-welborn-3

Looking for a book study for a group? How about Matthew 26-28: Jesus’ Life-Giving Death from Loyola. 

"amy welborn"

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!

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— 1 —

Well, how about some shots and brief thoughts from doings over the past few weeks?

Maybe starting with the water pipe table at a Stuckey’s in the middle of Georgia?

"amy welborn"

Who needs a pecan roll anyway!

— 2 —

Jump back to Our Lady of Guadalupe, almost a month ago, at a local parish.

– 3—

Then after Christmas, a trip to South Carolina.

 

— 4 —

After a day there, I ran the boys down to Florida. On the way back up to SC, I stopped in Savannah. I had been there years ago when they were just starting to work on the Flannery O’Connor childhood home, and had high hopes of being able to actually tour it this time.  But of course, it was closed. Alas!

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— 5 —

But across the square was hopping – the Cathedral. Tour buses spilling out dozens and a constant rate, not just to tour the building for its own sake, but for the large-ish (by American standards) nativity inside.  I sat in there for a while watching folks.

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“Savannah Cotton, of course,” remarked the docent.

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— 6

Over the next few days, I finished up work, baby-watched and got to know the Charleston area a bit better.

There was the day I took the baby downtown and to my great amazement found a parking place on the street right away!  A car was pulling out, and what luck for us! Victory! I’m practically a local now!

I parked, got the baby out, got the stroller out, packed up the baby, then turned to put the money in the meter…..which had a 30 minute limit.

Well, I wasn’t going to waste that stroller-wrangling time, so we made the best of it and just headed down the block, and, as it turns out, into a spot I’d never been to before, that was quite interesting.

The graveyard at the Unitarian Church. 

What makes it interesting, in addition to the normal interest that an historic  graveyard holds, is that most of it is overgrown.  The sight initially seems disrespectful, but upon reflection, I can see that a total overhaul and landscaping effort would disturb the crowded gravesites and probably upend and uproot things to a disturbing degree. The effect is, I imagine purposeful: this is life and death, effortlessly intertwined.   I’ll go back sometime, definitely.

— 7 —

 

Also…Lent!  A month from Sunday!

Time to order your parish/school materials – even if you want to order some for a group of friends or a class…here you go!

A Stations of the Cross for teens:

"amy welborn"

Biblical Way of the Cross for everyone:

For Ave Maria press, we wrote John Paul II’s Biblical Way of the Cross. The current edition is illustrated with paintings by Michael O’Brien.

"amy welborn"

There’s also a digital edition in app form.

Reconciled to God – a daily devotional. Also available in an e-book format. Only .99.

amy-welborn-3

Looking for a book study for a group? How about Matthew 26-28: Jesus’ Life-Giving Death from Loyola. 

"amy welborn"

 

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!

 

Read Full Post »

— 1 —

Wait, what? Fourth Sunday of Advent?

I was thinking today how weird it is that Advent seems to just speed by and Lent is so. freaking. long.  I suppose it makes sense since

a) Lent is, as a matter of fact, actually longer than Advent

and

b) Lent involves penances and giving up things like Diet Coke and alcohol and internet time, and without those things, life just drags, right?

Also there’s the point that Advent is generally a lot busier that Lent, and we have waiting for us at the end of Advent an event that requires a lot more preparation for most of us than Easter, and who is ever ready and who doesn’t wish she had more time?

 

— 2 —

Not that I do much to get ready, anyway.  A few weeks ago I was discussing the question of when the boys would go for their usual Christmas-New Year’s visit to their Florida relatives, and I remarked that since Christmas was on a Friday, they could probably, if they wanted to, go for part of that week instead of the normal time between Christmas and New Year’s.

“But,” I concluded, “that would mean you wouldn’t be here to get ready for Christmas, and I wouldn’t want that.”

“Yeah,” said my son, “and since we don’t do anything to get ready for Christmas until the week before, that would mean we’d miss it all!

Okay, son. Advent. It’s a thing. Heard of it?

 

 – 3—

To tell the truth, though, my last-minute Christmas prep is less spiritual than just laziness and resistance to the inevitable hassle.  After being a single parent for most of my parenting years, I am just tired of doing it all myself. With more help now, of course, since they are older, but still.  It’s basically all on me and I’m ready to spend Christmas in Mallorca or something, thanks.

And no, we don’t have a tree yet.  I am a little cocky this year, which will probably backfire on me.  Last year I waited until the weekend before Christmas to get the tree, and…couldn’t find one.  Overnight, it seemed, all the lots had disappeared, and none of the stores had any. I thought we were going to have to go artificial until we wandered into Home Depot and found loads of trees. I’m thinking the same thing will happen this year, so it probably won’t.  We’ll see tomorrow. Or Saturday. At the latest,  I promise.

— 4 —

Speaking of preparation you still have time to order a great 365-day devotional for a Catholic woman friend or relation:

amy_welborn

 

— 5 —

I’ll finish up with a bunch of photos.  Given that I have one in (high) school now, our opportunities for jaunts have diminished a bit, but with the weather being so gorgeous lately, I was determined not to stay inside. So we didn’t.

"amy welborn"

"amy welborn"

One day we did a bit of local history study. We learned about the (very) nearby park, Avondale Park, which in the early part of the 20th century was quite the destination. A spring and pond attracted many visitors, a collection of wild animals was the beginning of the Birmingham Zoo, and for a time there was a model chicken farm.  There was a less-than-minor, ambiguous Civil War skirmish on the hill. The resident elephant, Miss Fancy – who has a surprisingly long article about her on the BirmghamWiki site, was also known to escape at times, wandering the neighborhood, including, we gathered from the reports, near where our house is.

(Miss Fancy is the symbol for one of our local breweries, just down Spring Street from the park – Avondale Brewing Company)

So even though we live nearby and knew bits and pieces of the history, on that afternoon we did some more organized study and then took to the hills – Michael is over there all the time anyway, but it was a good thing to walk about, look for relics of past times and talk about what it must have been like.

And as with any history, we find good times and bad. For it is no surprise to learn that African-Americans were not allowed in this lovely spot. Not permitted to set foot in it. In 1914, a group from the 16th Street Baptist Church  succeeded in convincing the powers-that-be to allow one day on which African-Americans would be allowed. One day.  It was all set and agreed upon. Until the local civic association protested, and the day was cancelled.

Yes, the good old days.

— 6 —

Another day we took a quick trip up to Hanceville and Cullman, not to go to the Shrine or Ave Maria Grotto this time, but to two small museums. The first is an art museum on the campus of a community college – it exists mostly to hold the collection of the benefactor, but they do hold special exhibits, and I wanted to catch this one before it ended – an exhibit of Japanese woodblock prints.  Some familiar images, but lovely to see in person – the colors were gorgeous, although horribly reproduced here. Sorry.

"amy welborn"

To learn more about 36 Views of Mount Fuji go here.  I am particularly taken with Red Fuji  – the image on the lower left – and can see why it and similar images was such an influence on early 20th century artists.  The colors and the flat affect are actually mesmerizing.

Then we dashed up to Cullman where we took a, er, quick tour through the small Cullman County Museum, which had a lot of artifacts which were, in and of themselves, well-presented, but did not present the history of the area in any sort of coherent manner and neglected to tell the story in which I was most interested, which is the German founding of the place- which is doubly weird since the museum is housed in a replica of the German founder’s house.

Located just outside the museum is a brass statue of Col. Cullmann, who is credited with recruiting more than 10,000 German immigrants to come to this country.

Born in the Bavarian region of Germany, Cullmann traveled to America in the late 1860s to escape the revolutions sweeping across Europe. He first settled in the Philadelphia area and then moved to Cincinnati with the goal of one day setting up his own German colony in America, which he eventually did in Cullman. On his travels, he met former Alabama Gov. Robert Patton who suggested that he settle in North Alabama. Cullmann was convinced the location was right for his colony, finding that the geography of the Tennessee Valley reminded him of his native Rhine Valley.

“After traveling around the country and arriving in North Alabama the impression was made upon my mind that if this country was filled up with good farmers, it would be the garden spot of America. I found here all that I had been looking for, all that I regarded as necessary to make good homes: there was here combined these things to an extent not equaled by any other place I had seen.” – Col. John G. Cullmann, 1877

In April of 1872, Cullmann and five German families, 10 people in all, left Cincinnati to make the trip to Alabama. By the next year he had recruited 125 families to join the fledgling colony. Land sold for only $1.25 an acre, so each family could afford a small farm of their own. Homes and businesses soon sprang up in the new town center. Cullmann built his own house on a half-block lot at the corner of First Avenue and Third Street Southeast. A hotel was built next to his house at First Avenue and Fourth Street Southeast. Together the two structures made for a very impressive first view of the town when visitors arrived at the nearby train depot.

Nor is there any special mention of St. Bernard Abbey, which has been there – a Catholic monastery in the Deep-ish South –  since the 19th century nor of Ave Maria Grotto, which is undoubtedly the county’s biggest tourist draw.

Weird.

But no weirder than the fact that Cullman County is still a dry county and although the city is wet, that is only a recent development, and so up until a very few years ago, Cullman’s Oktoberfest was actually dry. No beer. 

Oh, and then another day, we returned to Red Mountan Park, which also has a lot of interesting history. It’s a new park, and a wonderful achievement – developed (and still being developed) on a mountain that was a prime source of iron ore up until the last mine closed in 1962. 

You can see why it’s called Red Mountain.

 

This time we went to see goats.

They’ve been brought in to cull vegetation, particularly kudzu and privet, I’m guessing.

— 7 —

 

Tracking back a week to December 8..we couldn’t make our usual noon Mass at the cathedral, so I wanted to go to a morning Mass that wasn’t at the crack of dawn and wasn’t a school Mass either. Not fond of school Masses echoing with the sounds of labored yet totally awesome praise songs not being sung by bored kids. So we went Maronite. 

Which is always nice.

 

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!

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