Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Miscellania on Mardi Gras. 2012.

I'm thrilled (that's the best word I can find) that it's the Eve of Lent. After all the noise--internal and external and online (whatever online is)--I'm ready to keep some serious silence. After thinking it over seriously, though, I have decided to actually try to write more here at the Philosopher Mom. Writing is not chatter for me--it breeds silence and recollection. It's a Lenten discipline.

Good-bye Facebook. (But these posts will still show up automatically!)

I'm trying to empty my head of all the loose threads: hence, the Mardi Gras Miscellania post.

1. As I was kneading some bread (you have to have good bread for Ash Wednesday), I listened to a fabulous interview on Ancient Faith Radio with Warren Farha, the owner and founder of Eighth Day Books. He had some interesting things to say about the advent of the electronic book. "Knowing" him as I do through his lists and lists of books, I don't think he's just being self-interested: He suggests there are serious theological reasons to resist throwing out the hardcovers and converting to Kindle. "We are incarnate. Our liturgy is a bodily experience." He's saying that, as human beings, we don't just encounter ideas or words in our minds or "spirits," but we encounter them in our flesh. There's something very physical about my memories of books in my life--certain covers, pages that smelled a certain way, spending an afternoon browsing along my parents' bookshelves. Some of the most forceful lines I ever read--the most formative lines--I encountered because I picked up a book and thumbed through it. I think he's on to something.

2. Getting ready for Lent. Every year, I think of at least 26 sacrifices that would be so good for me to make. Every year I end up violating even the three or four I choose to keep. Am I ready for failure again? Yes! Bring it on. Because: Did you get a load of St. James this morning? Holy Lenten failures, Batman!

3. I found this wicked cool schedule of readings in the Church Fathers. There's even a Church Fathers Readings LITE for moms like me. Check it out!

4. Does anyone know where I can get a good dose of Irenaus of Lyons? A dear friend (the same guy who told me to read Cassian) assigned him next, and it turns out that Irenaus is just not that accessible.

5. Homeschooling has been a blessing this year. Far from isolating us, it has given us a sort of home and community ready-made for us here in CT. I'm hoping to have some time to organize my thoughts on Ages of Grace and other various curricula I've been working with. Suffice it to say: do not let anyone tell you that homeschoolers are alone or without support. Sometimes you have more options and more company than is actually good for the children! When strangers ask me if I'm going to "keep doing this," I can only reply, "I hope so, with all my heart."

Time to slice strawberries and defrost that fabulous Red Velvet Cake.

Have a blessed Mardi Gras and a glorious beginning to the Great Fast. Here's Thomas Merton's poem of the Christ Child going into the desert to start you on your way.

The Flight into Egypt - 1944

Through every precinct of the wintry city
Squadroned iron resounds upon the streets;
Herod's police
Make shudder the dark steps of the tenements
At the business about to be done.

Neither look back upon Thy starry country,
Nor hear what rumors crowd across the dark
Where blood runs down those holy walls,
Nor frame a childish blessing with Thy hand
Towards that fiery spiral of exulting souls!

Go, Child of God, upon the singing desert,
Where, with eyes of flame,
The roaming lion keeps thy road from harm.


lissla lissar said...

Is that a Michael O'Brien painting?

Have a blessed Lent, and a happy Easter.

Erika Ahern said...

It is an O'Brien! I like his painting...