A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis

I read A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis on the car ride home from our vacation. Felt like a journey or a walk with Lewis himself. Written after the death of his wife, a Grief Observed began as his journal to work things out, but he thought it might help others cope with their own loss so he published it. As he says, it is the story of him first, his wife, and God. In that order.

Thomas Merton: The Seven Storey Mountain

Finished it over the weekend. It was so good! I could have done without part one, but I guess it was useful to see how far he came from not giving any thought to the existence of God to becoming a Trappist monk. Wish I were still reading it. Merton is an excellent teacher, I feel like I finished a long journey with a dear friend. If any of you out there are in a discernment period to possibly go to seminary school, which is something I wrestle with often, you should definitely read this!💕

The book of Ecclesiastes

The absence of God leads to a life of vanity & vexation. This is the main theme of Ecclesiastes. What are we filled with when God is absent from our souls? Ego, pride, vanity—the ‘self’. When we are consumed with ‘self’ all we produce and put into the world is filled with ‘self’ and therefore false. Without God we are empty vessels with no foundation, empty because anything we put in our vessel falls right through the bottom and we spend our lives hastily trying to fill it up again with no success. I have watched people spend their lives this way, and any mention of God makes them laugh. God hasn’t yet touched them, and they have not yet touched God. It is a mutual reaching out. I like to think of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel when I picture this union.

Ecclesiastes is a special book to me because it began my deeper journey with God. It was the moment God reached out for me, woke me up and unlocked the door on which Christ was perpetually knocking my whole life. You see, it all began because I had a dream. A woman came to me and told me to read the Bible, Ecclesiastes specifically. It was a profound dream and it changed my life, because I listened to the woman, I read Ecclesiastes the next morning and the rest of the Bible too. And now I write these posts for the public as evidence of His calling. Christ is always knocking, waiting, calling. It is the person who listens for His voice that gets called. Those who volunteer themselves for His work and pray: ‘I am listening. What is it you’re calling me to do? Use me as you wish for good in the world.’ Then listen carefully with the ears of your soul and watch carefully with the eyes of your soul. Then make use of time to discern what you are hearing & seeing is truth, denies ‘self’ and promotes love. If it does all of these then act on that nagging notion, because God is calling

A Balzac Translation

Funny thing… both these books are the same but they have completely different translations for their endings. Makes me wish I would have read the top one instead. What do you think?

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Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

I’m excited to read this. I read Chronicles of Narnia when I was little, but I don’t remember getting through it all. Even though this story deals with Greek Mythology, I am interested in studying Lewis’ technique of applying theology to his fiction. I too have tried to do this, but the more spiritual and nonfiction writing I create the harder it is to go back to writing fiction, even though I love it. I’m in a rut, and can’t seem to do it anymore. So I thought Lewis would help inspire me and get me back into what I loved. Fingers crossed I learn something.

Of Whales and Men by R. B. Robertson

Of Whales and Men by Dr. R. B. Robertson is a creative nonfiction piece written in the 1950s about the whaling industry and the “psychopaths” that work on the factory ship for 8 months out of the year–every year. Dr. Robertson dubbed all the whalers psychopaths because they chose a life away from civilization, to the furthest ends of the southern seas, to the Antarctic and the South Georgia Islands to catch whales—a very smelly occupation. “You won’t get to know us, doctor, in the short time you’ll be with us,” he cautioned me, “and, when you come to write about us, it will be very easy to make us out to be a mob of half-crazy malcontents whose only aim in life is to see the bottom of every whisky bottle. But try to give a fair report on us, even when you come to tell about our boozing. After all, though the kirk and the owners and the folks at home say we drink too much, we bring the wales back to them.” –Old Burnett: Whaler (Of Whales and Men by R. B. Robertson; 1954)

I really enjoyed this, apart from the killing of whales—that was hard to stomach—but the men on the ship were an interesting lot. Thanks Dr. Robertson for giving us such rare glimpse of a (thankfully) deceased era. Below is my review on #goodreads … I don’t understand why the other reviews are just so-so?! Maybe I’m strange? I absolutely loved this creative nonfiction piece! …To the point that I didn’t want to put it down, especially toward the end. I found myself excited to get back to the sea with these whalers as they all became like beloved characters in a classic fiction novel. I would highly recommend. The content is interesting and mysterious since so man on earth, hopefully, will ever experience adventures in legal whaling again.

I found this copy tucked away in a damp, moldy basement during a local estate sale. I love seafaring stories and since this was TRUE, I had to read it. I’m so glad I did!!

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The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II & St. Teresa of Avila

The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila is more of a workbook than I would have liked. I have read it over and have prayed the Glorious Mysteries using it as my guide today. Though I was hoping for more a reflective experience from these two Saints on praying the rosary, I think this book is helpful. However, I began my own reflections on it. Today I journaled my experience and let me tell you, when I reflected after each decade the impact of it as almost meditation on both my mind and body, I realized many things. Maybe I’ll type it all out for those of you interested. I was really surprised at the beauty of the experience because praying the rosary can sometimes be like a chore, and I never think I’m going to get anything out of it…until today when I used this book. So maybe it is a useful book after all.

The book of Deuteronomy

I have no authority to teach you about the books in the Bible. You might disagree with me and that’s OK. 👇👇👇

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“Observe therefore all the commands I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land that you are crossing the Jordon to posses.” -Deuteronomy 11:8

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In Deuteronomy we hear from Moses himself about the journey into the promise land. But if we take this from a symbolic viewpoint, we see that he is telling that the journey is hard even for the ‘chosen’. Hardships and sacrifices will surely come when we decide to truly follow a holy path—not perfect, but living in the Holy Spirit, recognizing God’s presence in our own being. People will try to make ‘war’ against you when you live this way, because naturally you will become a more gentle and tender person. They might not think you’re fun anymore. They may try to make you feel like you’re lame or boring because you won’t join in with the gossip or masochistic recreation (whatever that may be; little acts of hate can damage the soul). We might have to kill many relationships that are damaging in order to truly follow a new clean path and live in the Spirit—“the land that we are trying to possess”. We may have to cut ties with relationships that may be unheathly and fight against what we’re trying to obtain in a clean mind, body, and spirit. We may have to cut ties with those who fight against a new ‘us’ even if it means cutting ties with parts of ourselves.

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Lamiel by Stendhal

Lamiel, which means devil’s daughter, was the unfinished last novel of Stendhal or Henri Beyle. Because it was unfinished I think Stendhal, if he would have lived, would have made it very different had he the time to edit it. Because it was so sparse regarding detail it is called his best work. I don’t know about that. Lamiel, the protagonist, is on a ‘journey’ to find out what love is. However she is what I would call someone without feeling(a sociopath?)she wants instead violence, she’s frustrated by men if they’re too gaga for her, she plays games with them for her own gain. She’s a hateful character. I really didn’t enjoy the book, plus it’s unfinished, the last half is quickly summarized in one chapter. Critics at the time it was published said it is very true to life, which it isn’t at all. But Stendhal was known for putting a microscope on the psychology of human characters, so as far as that is concerned the work is superb. .

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It’s a cute little copy: 1953. It is rare and in good condition. .

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