You’d think that during this Communist Lock-Down, I’d have lots of time to write blog posts. Alas, if it were only so! As it is, I find it very difficult to actually sit down at the computer and remain undisturbed for even 2 minutes to write.
Just now, typing that above paragraph, I had three different girls wanting my attention. “Mom, can we have crackers for our Dolly Picnic?” And, “Mom, it’s wet outside.” And finally, the third girl just came in and stared at me.
This is why, back in the good old days, I used to pack up my laptop, drive to a coffeeshop, and peck away with a hot cappuccino and no children in sight. (Bless their souls; they are so cute.)
But I digress. Today’s topic is books, and I intend to offer a few lovely ones that we’ve enjoyed lately. My apologies if my descriptions and explanations are a bit brief–please refer back to the beginning of this essay.
The Bantry Bay Series by Hilda van Stockum
Lately I’ve been reading Hilda van Stockum’s Bantry Bay Series as our afternoon read aloud. These books are published through Bethlehem Books.
As I’m only halfway into the second book of three, I suppose I can only speak from what I’ve read, but they’re excellent. They’re set in Ireland around the turn of the 20th century and follow the story of a rural family.
All of our children are enjoying this series. Even our eldest, age 13, leaves her homework and slips into the living room to listen to my terrible Irish accent. (If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly, right?)
I especially appreciate the glorious innocence of the time period.
The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
We listened to this book via Audible during our lunchtime. We also own it, however, so that once we began, the older children clamored for the hard copy.
This book is set around Jerusalem at the time of Christ and follows the life of Daniel bar Jamin. He’s an eighteen-year-old boy caught up in revenge and plotting and spying and truth-seeking. He’s full of anger and impetuous. My boys love him. I enjoy seeing the Gospels in a new light.
My little girls, however, are somewhat lost listening to it. They could care less about a bunch of teenage boys ambushing Romans and all that.
Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
This book is a Masterpiece. It’s my second time reading it, and I’m especially enjoying all those little things I missed before. (And forgot about.)
That is the test of a good novel, by the way. If you’re willing to reread a book, then it must be a good one, and you should own it.
I wish I had more time to write about this novel, but alas, I’ve already spent several minutes writing this, and the clock is ticking. It’s only a matter of time before someone comes crying into this room.
My Heart Lies South: The Story of My Mexican Marriage by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino
Now, if you need lighter fare, this is your book. I’ve got the “Young People’s Edition,” whatever that means. I’m actually reading it to see how suitable it would be for my 13-year-old. I’m not finished with it yet, but I’m enjoying all the quaint references to a world now long gone. It’s set in Monterrey and follows the life of a young journalist in the 1930s who finds herself married to Mexican.
It’s fun, so far.
If you’re looking for a good homily, I can’t recommend my priest enough. He’s a warrior for the faith. Last Saturday he delivered yet another dynamite homily. Click HERE for it and scroll ahead to 30:03.
I was very glad to be present at this private Mass with all the children. (My husband was acting as MC and serving.) It’s important for them to see clearly what’s happening in the Church.
In this particular homily our priest examines Ratzinger’s 1969 prophecy that the Church would become small. I’ll post a couple paragraphs from Ratzinger–later Pope Benedict XVI–below. The whole thing can be purchased in book form from Amazon or Ignatius Press. It’s chilling, it’s true, and we’re living this now.
1969 Prophecy of Fr. Ratzinger
“What will remain is the Church of Jesus Christ, the Church that believes in the God who has become man and promises us life beyond death. The kind of priest who is no more than a social worker can be replaced by the psychotherapist and other specialists; but the priest who is no specialist, who does not stand on the [sidelines], watching the game, giving official advice, but in the name of God places himself at the disposal of man, who is beside them in their sorrows, in their joys, in their hope and in their fear, such a priest will certainly be needed in the future.
Let us go a step farther. From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge — a Church that has lost much. She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes, so it will lose many of her social privileges. In contrast to an earlier age, it will be seen much more as a voluntary society, entered only by free decision. As a small society, it will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members. Undoubtedly it will discover new forms of ministry and will ordain to the priesthood approved Christians who pursue some profession. In many smaller congregations or in self-contained social groups, pastoral care will normally be provided in this fashion. Along-side this, the full-time ministry of the priesthood will be indispensable as formerly. But in all of the changes at which one might guess, the Church will find her essence afresh and with full conviction in that which was always at her center: faith in the triune God, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, in the presence of the Spirit until the end of the world. In faith and prayer she will again recognize the sacraments as the worship of God and not as a subject for liturgical scholarship.
The Church will be a more spiritual Church, not presuming upon a political mandate, flirting as little with the Left as with the Right. It will be hard going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek. The process will be all the more arduous, for sectarian narrow-mindedness as well as pompous self-will will have to be shed. One may predict that all of this will take time. The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain — to the renewal of the nineteenth century…”