Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"People were always the limiters of happiness except the very few that were
as good as spring itself."

I am looking forward to visiting moja rodzina this weekend. We leave in just a couple days. I've been spending my days enjoying the loveliness of spring - the sun, the rain, the growing things in and out of the house, and life has been so full I forget I'm neglecting my friends. I'm too full of the spring to notice the days going by, until most of May has passed me by - leaving only it beautiful footprint in my memory.

I'm throwing espresso mugs. The first firing of the year has gone wonderfully and I'm reassured. I will not have to buy a new kiln anytime too soon. Today I glaze my little mugs and finish them off.

I was thrilled to discover, yesterday, that our local Whole Foods does not contribute to Planned Parenthood. I celebrated by buying Cardemom-Ginger gelato and fantastic cheese there, promising to do my shopping there more often, the store itself is so appealing.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Beauty will save the world"
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

This week I have re-immersed myself in Pope John Paul II letter to Artists. I've been disturbed to discover that many of our friends are dismissing art and beauty - keeping it out on the fringes of life instead of at the heart. It's frustrating, and sad, and a very new experience for me because I've always unintentionally surrounded myself with people who love beauty. But this new experience is bring discipline to my reading and writing again, as I try to work out my defense of beauty in a way the will, I hope, speak to them.

The more I read of the Pope's letter, the more I understand the Church's esteem for art, and for the artist. I'm thrilled to discover that even reading only the Polish pope and our new pope, I have ample proof of the Church's passion for beauty. It's a comforting reminder that I am on the right path, at least in this area.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

“When I go toward you
it is with my whole life.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

We have been treated to exceptionally good homilies these past couple weeks, directing our attention to our particular responsibilities as individual Christians and as a community. The failings of our own parish tend toward two mistaken attitudes to community, though perhaps the same could be said of most parishes, we American Catholics have a natural tendency to Protestantize our faith, especially in our sense of community, or else to react so strongly against the typically Protestant individualism that we forget we are, in fact individuals called to a personal relationship with a personal God. The first failing, the ever-present, American individualism that separates the parishioner from his parish, declaring that man’s relationship with God is personal, individual, and private; allowing him to compartmentalize his faith, hold it aside for the proper time and place. In this failing, we forget that we are all the body of Christ, that my sins hurt the whole body; the Church worships as one body, and that community is essential in our relationship with Christ. But the second failing takes this essential community too far, forgetting that we must have an individual, person-to-person relationship to God if we are to be able to enter into the community of the Church. Without our personal, individual relationship to Christ, our community worship is only a failed attempt to be lost in the crowd, to hide our individual lack of faith in the faith of others. This failing has a tendency to commandeer the time and activities of the individual, considering as it’s rightful property our evenings, weekends, and talents; which are not theirs, but God’s gift to us, to be used according to our own individual vocations.

At our parish we have both failings, and we often forget when arguing against the one, that we can’t go so far as to defend the other.

Yesterday I got a surprise call from moja siostra to say she was reading a book I didn’t exactly suggest, but mentioned recently: Holy Feast and Holy Fast – the religious significance of food to medieval women. The book is full excellent selections of writing on fasting, feasting, and the Eucharist, written by fascinating medieval women. But the book itself, when the author herself is speaking, is less than thrilling. I’m reading Kierkegaard again, with the firm intention of moving on to a collection of Pablo Neruda’s poems this evening.