On Giants' Shoulders

Monday, October 15, 2007

Deep In Old English

Well, not exactly since I don't actually read old English. However, I have been deep in Old English lit crit. What is amazing is that the book I've been reading on women heroes in Old English literature has some amazing stuff about Old English literature dealing with the Blessed Mother. Lest anyone perpetuate the idea that devotion to her came in with the later middle ages, she apparently was a favorite topic of writers in English even earlier. The author I'm reading isn't even Catholic, but she is very fair in her treatment (at least thus far). Ironically, I heard her speak at a conference a few years back and didn't like her presentation at all. It just goes to show that sometimes an author can surprise you, I guess. I just know that she's opened up a lot of interesting rabbit trails for me to get lured down. Here I was just trying to figure out what the current thought on Grendel's mother was...

Now if I can just read Matthew Dickerson's The Finnsburgh Encounter before Weds. morning....

Friday, October 05, 2007

Time For a Road Trip

This afternoon my daughter, my "lit girls," and I are headed out for Rochester, New York. We're going to a one day conference sponsored by the Rochester Chesterton Society. The topic is conversion of heart and the speakers will be dealing with several conversions: St. Paul, St. Augustine, John Henry Cardinal Newman, G.K. Chesterton, and Joseph Pearce (who will tell his own conversion story). I'm looking forward to the conference, but I'm also looking forward to the trip. What a fantastic opportunity to spend many hours with these people I enjoy so very much. Will we talk more about Beowulf and Tolkien? Possibly. Will we spend the drive home talking about Chesterton, Newman and Augustine? Quite likely. Will we spend time talking about how all of this enriches our lives as Catholics? Almost certainly! Are you envious of me? Well, if you know what it's like to spend hours with kindred spirits you are. I just wish that we had the space for even more kindred spirits to come along with us.

Monday, October 01, 2007

St. Therese of Lisieux

Today when I came downstairs I passed my little statue of St. Therese and said a heartfelt "thank you" for her prayers lately. Then I opened my breviary and discovered that today is her feast day. So I thought I'd say a great big "THANK YOU ST.THERESE" on her special day.

Who is the Lazarus?

Yesterday Father Mayo talked about the ways in which Lazarus in the story of Lazarus and the rich man is still with us. He talked about the homeless, the poor, the mentally ill, etc. However, as he was speaking I got to thinking that it could be expanded a whole lot further than just a social justice issue. I began wondering who the Lazarus's are in my life. Who are the people who sit outside the door of my heart, outside the door of my time, outside the door of my own self-centeredness.? Are there people out there whom I am not giving the gifts of love, time, actions, even affection that their hearts need and crave. Are there people who I am not giving the word of truth to because I've gotten so discouraged at ears that don't seem to hear, hearts that don't seem to be open.

It's easy in this day and age to believe (as someone said on other website the other day) that poor people don't have to be poor because there's all kinds of help at there. It's also easy to believe that people who want more from me know how to get it, all they have to do is ask, right? I'm sure that the rich man made lots of excuses as to why he didn't help Lazarus when he was begging at his door. I'm sure that, self-made man that he was, he felt that if Lazarus would just "exert himself" he wouldn't have to be poor. I'm sure that often I have been guilty of making a similar judgment about people in my lives, not necessarily about their poverty of income, but about their poverty of spirit, their poverty of health, their poverty of friendship, their poverty of choices.

It's not always easy to see ourselves in the role of the rich man. Yet, if we have friends and someone else is friendless, we are in that role. If we've been blessed with the riches of the faith and someone else is suffering from a real poverty in that area, we are in that role. If we have been blessed with health and someone else is struggling with physical issues we are in that role. And on and on it goes. There may not literally be a beggar sitting at our door, but are there people there who'd like a bit of our focused attention, a bit of our physical affection (even a hug or a touch on the hand), a bit of service, a gift that says I care, affirming words (to list the love languages that Gary Chapman talks about)? Are there people sitting at the door who have no idea that there is a Father who loves them and who's left a Church for them to be mothered by? Are there those sorts of beggars at our door?

I'm not saying this in anyway to dismiss the concern that we should have for all the categories of people whom Father Mayo was talking about. It was merely a thought on my part that perhaps there were Lazarus's in my life whom I've been blithely stepping over as well. I want to make sure that's not the case.