I haven't posted here much over the last six months or so. There were a few posts regarding our family's big move to Europe from the States and then a renewed attempt to begin writing again with the assumption it would coincide with my thesis work. Well, it turned out that my thesis topic was rejected, along with my second and third attempts. I now await approval of a fourth topic proposal, this one having nothing to do with the universal call to holiness as applied to the life of a stay-at-home dad. This is just as well, honestly. It turns out I'm really not all that interested in that topic. I guess living it everyday has a way of stripping the idealism off the surface and exposing the reality underneath. To continue to think and write about the theology behind holiness and being a good husband and father in the home would be about as meaningful to me as tackling the same with regard to brushing one's teeth. In the end, you just gotta do it. When you do it well, it feels right. When you don't, it stinks. That about sums it up. Not much of a paper there. Not anything that'll keep the posts coming here. So what now?
There are a lot of things swirling in my mind right now. I have many things I'd like to read and I'm trying to read as much as I can as I await the green light on my thesis work. Once that comes, all reading for pleasure will be set aside until I'm done. Then, I'll be free to read what I like and probably muse about it here. In the meantime, here are a few things that have been on my mind:
1. "I believe in God." That was a penance I was given a few weeks ago. To simply pray those words. It turned out to be one of the most profound prayers I can recall. It deserves its own post one day.
2. Living in the Divine Will. The message given by Jesus in private revelations to Luisa Piccaretta, Servant of God, around the same time as St. Faustina was receiving the message of Divine Mercy. This will certainly get some attention down the road, and it's intimately connected to my thoughts about my penance above.
3. Mary. I am renewing my total consecration to Mary right now, as is my wife (her first time). She also is the hopeful topic of my thesis now, as I plan to write about her roles as mediatrix, coredemptrix, and advocate. It turns out she has a lot to do with living in the Divine Will too.
4. The time for greater simplicity is coming. If we don't begin to choose the simple life now and learn self-sustenance, it will be chosen for us down the road. I don't know when, but I know it in my gut. Along with this, I am beginning to think that faithful Christians will have to live much closer together than we have in centuries. Families will need to do this just in order to survive as Christians in an ever more fallen world. We will need to teach one another, serve one another with complementary skills and knowledge... gifts... and basically live in community - perhaps with a loose "rule of life." It sounds radical, I know, but the Latin meaning of that word has to do with roots. Our roots are found in the early Church, and this is how they lived in the face of Roman persecution. This idea of living closely in community with other members of the faithful comes up more and more in conversations with those we are meeting from several different countries with various cultural backdrops, and it comes up more frequently in what I am reading. It seems inescapable, but I feel like God is using this time to prepare us for big changes.
5. Great books. As I read through St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion to Mary for the third or fourth time, I continue to be astounded by it. It made me think about the books that I have read and would consider irreplaceable and essential for my life as a Christian. It goes without saying that the Bible is a given. It can be read and re-read, prayed, quoted, and applied to any and every situation. The Catechism is next. It may seem academic, but it's actually written in a very accessible way and organized in a coherent manner that makes it much more than a reference book. Beyond these, there are five or six books I'd want on my bookshelf if I couldn't have anything else. The Imitation of Christ (Kempis)... True Devotion to Mary (De Montfort)... Introduction to the Devout Life (De Sales), The Confessions of St. Augustine... and a more modern work - The Deceiver (Fanzaga). One work of fiction might make the cut as well... Lord of the World (Benson). Close, but not quite, for me, would be Spiritual Combat (Scupoli), Jesus of Nazareth, Vol. I (Pope Benedict XVI), Spirit of the Liturgy (Ratzinger), and the Divine Comedy (Allegheri). I have to admit I have not yet read the last of these, but by all accounts, it's one of the greatest works of all time, so I might yet add it to the must-haves. The Pursuit of Happiness (Pinckaers) is also in the second rung. It's possible I overlooked something, but I'm working basically off the top of my head here, and that's really the point. These are also the ones that impacted me most... while others may have different opinions. I do think, however, that these are pretty universal in their impact, otherwise they wouldn't be classics (the bulk of them are).
And that's it for now.