Thursday, March 26, 2015

Gifts of Guinness

In college, Carter practiced a friendly "prank" (as he so calls it) on the eve of St. Patrick's day.  This little tradition of leaving a Guinness on strangers' front steps has seeped its way into our marriage, and I'm so glad it did!

This year we made a whole fun night of it!

After reading St. Patrick's Confessions, (a very beautiful work and a quick read) we chose this quote to accompany the beer:

This is how we can repay such blessings, when our lives change and we come to know God, to praise and bear witness to His great wonders before every nation under Heaven.  ~ St. Patrick

Husband's hands. 

Finished product!

Before embarking on our mission we prayed the Office of Readings for St. Patrick's Feast and blessed the beer (!!!) with this blessing!  Our favorite line was "Bless..this creature beer"! 

Carter and I dressed in all black with green sashes and Felicity, the reverse! 

We got all ten beers delivered without getting caught...hopefully it was a nice surprise for those who received them!

Wee little lass. 

St. Patrick, pray for us!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Felicity's First Feast Day

As parents, our greatest hope for our children is that they become great saints!  We named Felicity after the early Church martyr, St. Felicity of Carthage. We pray that she might look up to and stay close to her namesake her whole life.  March 7th was the feast of Saints Felicity and Perpetua, so naturally, we had to celebrate.

In the weeks prior to this special day, I had thought it'd be nice to give Felicity a holy card of her patron.  Little did I know how hard this task would be. I searched Catholic bookstores, scoured the internet, but alas, my efforts fell short! So Carter and I undertook the task of making our own (and now it is family tradition, and no matter how "common" our other children's names are, we must do this on every first feast day!).  Carter was to write the prayer, and I was to find the image and assemble the card.

Carter based the prayer off of the Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity, a fascinating primary text, in which Perpetua gives a first hand account of their martyrdom. (I actually had to read this in college for a women in classical studies class -- see, public education isn't all that bad!)  Since I am challenged when it comes to computers, it took me longer than I'm willing to admit to assemble the holy card. But it turned out pretty nice, if I do say so myself!

The prayer is more than lovely! We can't wait to teach it to our little girl.  As for now, we will just pray it on her behalf: 

St. Felicity –O happy martyr! 
Twice blessed with baptismal grace, 
Offer praises with heavenly psalter 
To the Holy Spirit, Son, and Father, 
And kisses of perpetual peace.

And in the garden of humility
Pray God grants thy spiritual daughter, 
If I suffer for His divinity, 
The fortitude in femininity 
To meet thee at the sacred altar. 

Some small gifts, including animal crackers since St. Felicity was killed by a wild beast!

Roles reversed, as a Felicity devours the wild beast!

St. Felicity, pray for us!!!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Muse of the West

Lately, I've been reading some Willa Cather novels.  I finished My Antonia in January and just recently finished Death Comes for the Archbishop. Here are some random, unorganized raw musings I have regarding both books.

Death Comes for the Archbishop

I'll admit that in reading Death Comes for the ArchbishopI was unsure of the whole point of the book.  I was enjoying the story immensely but I was not grasping it and realizing the greater truth it upholds, that is, until the very last two paragraphs of the book.  And that's when I realized again how lovely Cather is an an author.  She can sum up the meaning of a 300 page book in two simple paragraphs.  I was left with chills, wanting more, but so very satisfied (perhaps even mystified) with the beauty of it all.  And upon reading that ending, I found myself wanting to reread the entire book in light of what was shed in those last few words.


One thing that struck me about this book in particular is how Cather describes the Catholic devotion to our Blessed Mother.  This paragraph in particular had me running to Carter to share it with him:

[They] were not the first to pour out their love in this simple fashion.  Raphael and Titian had made costumes for Her in their time, and the great masters had made music for Her, and the great architects had built cathedrals for Her.  Long before Her years on earth, in the long twilight between the Fall and the Redemption, the pagan sculptors were always trying to achieve the image of a goddess who should yet be a woman.

My Antonia

I first read My Antonia as a freshman in high school.  I remember my favorite teacher, Mr. Sullivan, telling us that every time a person experiences a significant change in his life, he should read it.  His words resonated with me as I found myself as a new wife and mother in a new place.  It is no coincidence that I chose to read this book, I chose it precisely for its Nebraskan plains setting, the same setting I now look out my window and see.

One part of this book really spoke to me, as the main character is studying Virgil in Latin.  He recalls a line from the Georgics that he and his teacher had discussed: "For I shall be the first, if I live, to bring the Muse into my country".  And Cather through the voice of the narrator explains how Virgil was the first to bring the Muse into his country...he brought the Aeneid, the quintessential foundation story of Rome, a pillar of Western civilization.  And that's when it hit me -- that is exactly what Willa Cather is doing with My Antonia.  She is giving Western America its foundation story; she is bringing the Muse into the West.  I'm sure I could develop this idea more, and I'm sure it has been done before, but that is precisely why I am not in school...I am done writing papers!

Auf Widersehen!