Saturday, March 31, 2018

is God asleep?

"There is a scene in the Gospel that anticipates the silence of Holy Saturday in a stimulating way and thus also appears as a portrait of our historical hour. Christ is sleeping in a boat about to sink for being battered by the sea. The prophet Elijah had once mocked the priests of Baal who were screaming loudly and futilely to their god to supply fire for the sacrifice by saying that their god was probably sleeping; they might have to call more loudly in order to wake him.. But is God not really sleeping? Does the jibe of the prophet not finally find its mark in the believers of the God of Israel who are traveling with him in a sinking boat? God sleeps while his affairs are about to sink - is that not the experience of our own lives? Do the Church and the faith not appear like a little sinking ship that uselessly struggles against wind and waves while God is absent?

The Apostles in utter despair shake the Lord and cry out to waken him, but he appears surprised and scolds them for their lack of faith. Is it any different for us?

When the storm has passed, we will recognize how foolish our faint-hearted faith was. And yet, Lord, we cannot do otherwise than shake you, the silent, sleeping God, crying out to you: Wake up - don't you see that we are sinking? Wake up, don't let the darkness of Holy Saturday last forever, let a gleam of Easter fall in our day too. Go with us when we walk despondently to Emmaus so that our hearts may be enkindled by your nearness. You who, in hiddenness, guided Israel's path, until finally you were a man among men, don't leave us in darkness; don't let your Word be drowned in the prattle of these days. Lord help us, for without you we would perish. Amen."

                                                          -  Pope Benedict XVIfrom Magnificat, March 2018

Christ Asleep in His Boat, by Jules Joseph Meynier

Friday, March 30, 2018

"these things the Lord has done"

Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
You are far from my plea and the cry of my distress.
O my God, I call by day and you give no reply;
I call by night and I find no peace.

Yet you, O God, are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers put their trust;
they trusted and you set them free.
When they cried to you, they escaped.
In you they trusted and never in vain.

But I am a worm and no man,
the butt of men, laughing-stock of the people,
all who see me deride me.
They curl their lips, they toss their heads.
"He trusted in the Lord, let him save him;
let him release him if this is his friend."

Yes, it was you who took me from the womb,
entrusted me to my mother's breast.
To you I was committed from my birth,
from my mother's womb you have been my God.
Do not leave me alone in my distress;
come close, there is none else to help.

Like water I am poured out,
disjointed are all my bones.
My heart has become like wax,
it is melted within my breast.

Parched as burnt clay is my throat,
my tongue cleaves to my jaws.

Many dogs have surrounded me,
a band of the wicked beset me.
They tear holes in my hands and my feet
and lay me in the dust of death.

I can count every one of my bones.
These people stare at me and gloat;
they divide my clothing among them.
They cast lots for my robe.

O Lord, do not leave me alone,
my strength, make haste to help me!
Rescue my soul from the sword,
my life from the grip of these dogs.
Save my life from the jaws of these lions,
my poor soul from the horns of these oxen.

I will tell of your name to my brethren
and praise you where they are assembled.
"You who fear the Lord give him praise;
all sons of Jacob, give him glory.
Revere him, Israel's sons.

For he has never despised
nor scorned the poverty of the poor.
From him he has not hidden his face,
but he heard the poor man when he cried."

And my soul shall live for him, my children serve him.
They shall tell of the Lord to generations yet to come,
declare his faithfulness to peoples yet unborn,
"These things the Lord has done."

The Raising of the Cross - Peter Paul Rubens

Thursday, March 29, 2018

the best we can

At the supermarket today I ran into a man from church. He said, "I am doing the very best I can. Are you doing the very best you can?" I said, "yes!" He said, "That's all God expects of us. So, we're in good hands, and the hands aren't Allstate!" * 

My brother later told me he says this to everyone who asks how he's doing; but it stayed with me, especially struggling over an Easter week menu and trying not to leave out anything as I made out the shopping list. I was truly doing the best I could, and I his silly little remark helped me to feel more settled afterward.

And then I bought some pretty jonquils.

* A well-known insurance company in the U.S, whose slogan is "You're in good hands with Allstate."

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

like bunny rabbits

I told myself at the beginning of Lent that I should work on the mending pile, and I have been!

But it increases when I'm not looking.

Monday, March 26, 2018

"the thought of God"

"... the happiness of the soul consists in the exercise of the affections; ... As hunger and thirst, as taste, sound, and smell, are the channels through which this bodily frame receives pleasure, so the affections are the instruments by which the soul has pleasure. When they are exercised duly, it is happy; when they are undeveloped, restrained, or thwarted, it is not happy. This is our real and true bliss, ... to love, to hope, to joy, to admire, to revere, to adore. Our real and true bliss lies in the possession of those objects on which our hearts may rest and be satisfied...  the thought of God, and nothing short of it, is the happiness of man; for though there is much besides to serve as subject of knowledge, or motive for action, or means of excitement, yet the affections require a something more vast and more enduring than anything created. .. He alone is sufficient for the heart."

                                                     -  A Mind at Peace

Sunday, March 25, 2018

taking worship seriously

"Worship is not merely a therapeutic practice. In fact, worship has a therapeutic effect only on the soul of a person who takes seriously its claims of truth."

                    -  A Mind at Peace: Reclaiming an Ordered Soul in the Age of Distraction,
                                                  by Christopher O. Blum and Joshua P. Hochschild

Saturday, March 24, 2018

return of the tabby

After a good three months at home, the library kitty suddenly appeared this week.

He was extremely glad to see us and made himself at home, in the way of cats.

I have missed him, but I would be happier if they'd keep him inside their house.

Friday, March 23, 2018

heart to heart

"Only Jesus is holy, the only one pleasing to his Father. Only by allowing him to communicate his holiness to us can we be pleasing to God....It is only by entering into Jesus' relationship with God that we can be in his heart. The only begotten is in the bosom of the Father, nearest to his heart; the beloved disciple is on the bosom of Jesus and drawn by him into the Father's heart, with him, where he is."

                                                        -  Sister Ruth Burrows

Saturday, March 17, 2018

afternoon glow

On sunny days after a fresh snowfall, there comes a time in the afternoon when the sun shines so beautifully on everything. Previously I've been unable to capture it, but this time I think I have. So please, humor me.

It makes kind of a glow

see what I mean?

visible even through a foggy glass.

It doesn't look like this anymore - a lot of our snow is gone - amazingly and there are large patches of green here and there.  But not to worry - we may get another nor'easter on Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

March in New England

Last Wednesday we had a big snowfall, ten inches.

Even though I am wanting spring to come, a snowfall is far prettier than mud. And it's been melting down steadily, considering we had a lot of rain the two weeks before and the ground is saturated. There was some green grass beginning to show on the edges.

But today we had another all-day snow.

By now, you've seen this view almost as much as I have, but -

there is something about a snow day - nobody went anywhere today - that makes time seem almost to stand still. On snow days I never get the urge to try and do a million things. I did just what I had to,  then finished up an old knitting project and planned a new sewing one.

In between tea and cocoa.

Still -  I hope it's gone by Easter.

Monday, March 12, 2018

life is a struggle

You would think that the two biggest creatures in the house could handle the smallest person in the house, wouldn't you?

It was time to change the flea collars on Henry and Sweetie (Dolly had a reaction to hers, so she doesn't get one). Sweetie is a Very Cautious Person, and we barely got the thing on her. The next day the old one was removed. A day or two later we were able to tighten it. A week later, it's still got a long piece hanging there which needs to be trimmed (can you see it?). 

Of course, we could manhandle her, considering our size compared to hers, but we hardly want to do that. It is funny though, how resistant she is to any fussing around with her person. We're used to Dolly, being so compliant and trusting of us. Henry is sort of in-between. Anyway, thank goodness for collars that last eight months!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

nobility in small things

I finished my ankle warmers the other day by just joining the edges to make a tube. I thought they'd be too narrow, so I planned to knit inserts in them with extra solid colored yarn, like a stripe on each. But as I fussed over them I realized they would easily fit without stretching too much without bothering to knit any stripes. So. They are made with Adriafil Bi-Use, a most unromantic name for yarn, especially an Italian one, don't you think?

So hard to get a good picture, but I can still join Ginny's yarnalong.

I've been reading A Mind at Peace: Reclaiming an Ordered Soul in the Age of Distraction, by Christopher O. Blum and Joshua P. Hochschild.

The challenge of Christian life is to find nobility even in small things. We should not need trumpets sounding, red carpets under our feet, or laurels on our heads to remember our dignity and the higher purpose we are called to serve. ..In this sense, even one of the lowliest station can live a noble life.

                                      -   from  A Mind at Peace

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

meal planning this Lent

During Lent, I'm always so glad if I can arrange the meals so I don't have to be overly occupied with food.

This year it's casseroles on Sundays, something with ground beef Mondays (it'll be chili next time) and soup and sandwiches on Thursdays - all the other days are leftovers. It's working out very well, so far.

I found these multicolored baby carrots last week, and served them Sunday with butter and scallions, salt and pepper, along with steamed broccoli, mac and cheese with ham and blueberry pie for dessert. (we had company)

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

scent free

I like my flannel nightgowns in winter. I have two, but one is wearing thin.

The really quality ones, like L.L. Bean's, go for sixty dollars or more - Lanz of Salzburg's is around seventy. Then I found a used one on ebay for twenty five dollars, shipping included! But that blasted scented detergent people use - I washed it four times and it still smelled, even with soaking it with some vinegar and baking soda.

Well, I finally did what I should have done at the beginning: I soaked it in warm water with LOTS of baking soda. Of course, the smell disappeared right away. I did know that, but guess I forgot.

Monday, March 5, 2018

on our Lenten journey

"It is all right there in front of our eyes. We do not need to see new things. We need to see the same old things with new eyes. We do not need to hear a different voice. We need to hear the same old voice with different ears. We do not need to escape the circumstances of our life. We need simply to be more fully present to those circumstances. When this happens life is no longer lived on the surface. These are transfigured moments when the picture of our life becomes a window into a new world, and we come face to face with the glory of God. Then by God's grace, his touching us inwardly, we experience as sheer gift the world transfigured and creation filled with divine light. Circumstances haven't changed. We have changed, and that seems to change everything."

                                                           - lifted from here

Saturday, March 3, 2018

in like a lion?

We say about March, that if it comes in like a lion it will go out like a lamb, or it's the other way around.

We had a nor'easter yesterday, with lots of rain and very strong winds, and we, who are the ones who don't lose power when everyone else seems to, actually were in the dark for a few hours overnight. So, I suppose that counts for "coming in like a lion". Except that the day before, which was the first,  it was very mild and pleasant.

So, did March come in like a lamb, or a lion?  Which day counts? I don't know.

Jo's work again. This one makes me think of sprinkles on a  doughnut; it was over near the coffee machine.

Friday, March 2, 2018

for those who need

Many are the needs of those around us; few are our resources; 
great is the generosity of God, and so we pray:

For those who go to bed hungry -
    that they may be fed by those who have more food than they need.

For those who suffer the diseases of poverty -
    that they may find help from those who suffer the diseases of affluence.

For those who are neglected -
    that they may find care from those who are loved.

                                                       -          from Magnificat, March 2018

Thursday, March 1, 2018

little things

What the rich man was looking for in fine garments and sumptuous dining he was meant to find in the beggar on his doorstep. For every person whom God puts on our path becomes the way to the fulfillment we seek. 

                                                              - Magnificat, March 2018


Why do you travel so far for what is so near? The smallest coin in your purse buys what is most dear.

                                                            - Charles Causley