Wednesday, December 11, 2013


These words from Pope Francis' first encyclical Lumen Fidei (Light of Faith):

Once man has lost the fundamental orientation which unifies his existence, he breaks down into the multiplicity of his desires; in refusing to await the time of promise, his life-story disintegrates into a myriad of unconnected instants.  Idolatry, then, is always polytheism, an aimless passing from one lord to another.  Idolatry does not offer a journey but rather a plethora of paths leading nowhere and forming a vast labyrinth.  Those who choose not to put their trust in God must hear the din of countless idols crying out: "Put your trust in me!"  Faith, tied as it is to conversion, is the opposite of idolatry; it breaks with idols to turn to the living God in a personal encounter.  Believing means entrusting oneself to a merciful love which always accepts and pardons, which sustains and directs our lives, and which shows its power by its ability to make straight the crooked lines of our history.  Faith consists in the willingness to let ourselves be constantly transformed and renewed by God's call.  Herein lies the paradox: by constantly turning towards the Lord, we discover a sure path which liberates us from the dissolution imposed upon us by idols.

The thing that struck me most upon reading these words this morning is how I turn to idols to replace genuine trust in God.  The idol I turn to most is that of knowledge, that of self-help.  I am constantly seeking out the newest (new to me, however they are usually old) books and information which promises to direct me in the right way.  So often in navigating our culture, and trying to do things another way, I feel lost and so I turn to books to direct me.*  Don't get me wrong, I think books are great, knowledge (especially of self) is a path towards God.  But so often I find that instead of settling down and gleaning what wisdom I can from the sources I have, I jump to the next thing.  And then the next.  Until I am so overwhelmed with thought that I have no room for what God actually wants me to know.  For where He wants to direct me.

And so this Advent, I have decided to simplify my prayer life and reading.  I am reading Lumen Fidei and if I finish I will start Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel).  However I am not pressuring myself to read them for the sole purpose of having read them.  There is so much to ponder and I want to leave room for God to speak to me.  I am trying to make room for the Baby Jesus and His Mother in my heart.  And as it seems that so much of what Pope Francis speaks of is simplicity, and truly, for me, there is a need to simplify my heart so my Lord can order it for me.  I don't need self-help.  I need God's help.

*Please don't read me the wrong way here.  I am speaking of my tendency to acquire knowledge for its own sake.  I love to read.  And as so much has been lost in what Auntie Leila calls the collective memory, often the only place to recover some of that is through books, especially old ones.  Because I feel so far behind, though, I tend towards overdoing it, and so not much of it is able to penetrate my hard outer shell.  My own reading list will probably always be a long one, however I am wanting to slow down and allow God to direct me to the sources He wants me to read instead being lost in a "labyrinth" of ideas.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


My kids, like all good Catholic children, have had at least some exposure to Latin.  We also live in the Southwest and so they have had exposure to Spanish as well.  That doesn't mean they know how to speak those languages though.  Not by a long shot.

Overheard from the back of the van yesterday (on my home from the grocery store.  I know.  I AM awesome to be able to take four children grocery shopping.  My dear husband is out of town.  I had no choice. To be fair though, they were angels.)

Ladybug: Mom, I think you say hungry in Spanish like this: hungo.  And you say thirsty like this: thirsto.

Fritter: No, you say hungry in Spanish hanish.  And thirsty is thanish.

Ladybug: Well then, how do you say hungry and thirsty in Latin?

Fritter: You say hungry like this: hatin.  And thirsty like this: thatin.

Ladybug: Fatten?

Fritter: No not fatten.  Thatin.  Not f, t-h.  Thatin.

Sunflower: Mama?  I hungwy.

I'm telling you, my kids are brilliant.  This homeschooling thing?  Totally working out.  :)