I’m Writing about Reed of God at Living Differently

I’m Writing about Reed of God at Living Differently

As you’ve perhaps already heard, Pope Benedict has announced a Year of Faith, which begins on October 11, 2012, the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican II and the tenth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Here is a brief excerpt from his Apostolic Letter:

“Caritas Christi urget nos” (2 Cor 5:14): it is the love of Christ that fills our hearts and impels us to evangelize. Today as in the past, he sends us through the highways of the world to proclaim his Gospel to all the peoples of the earth (cf. Mt 28:19). Through his love, Jesus Christ attracts to himself the people of every generation: in every age he convokes the Church, entrusting her with the proclamation of the Gospel by a mandate that is ever new. Today too, there is a need for stronger ecclesial commitment to new evangelization in order to rediscover the joy of believing and the enthusiasm for communicating the faith. In rediscovering his love day by day, the missionary commitment of believers attains force and vigour that can never fade away. Faith grows when it is lived as an experience of love received and when it is communicated as an experience of grace and joy. It makes us fruitful, because it expands our hearts in hope and enables us to bear life-giving witness: indeed, it opens the hearts and minds of those who listen to respond to the Lord’s invitation to adhere to his word and become his disciples. Believers, so Saint Augustine tells us, “strengthen themselves by believing”.[12] The saintly Bishop of Hippo had good reason to express himself in this way. As we know, his life was a continual search for the beauty of the faith until such time as his heart would find rest in God.[13] His extensive writings, in which he explains the importance of believing and the truth of the faith, continue even now to form a heritage of incomparable riches, and they still help many people in search of God to find the right path towards the “door of faith”.

To try to live out the Holy Father’s evangelical call,  I have embarked on two different blogging projects, one here at The Wine Dark Sea and one at a new group blog, Living Differently. Both my vocation and my introvert inclinations lead me to live quite a retiring life, holed up with my family and not a part of the social whirlwind, yet I also find myself roaming the virtual highways of the blogging world. And while generally I am content that my faith be present on this blog as much through who I am and how I live, I do feel that Pope Benedict’s words are calling me to something more, a proclamation of the Gospel in a more active way, albeit still as very contemplative activity.

About the project that I will host here, I will be writing more very soon. The second project , Living Differently, has already launched and today I have published my first post, a reflection on the beginning of Caryl Houselander’s The Reed of God, one of four books that we will be reading together as a group. I invite you to join me and the other bloggers at Living Differently. I do not anticipate that I will be blogging very heavily over there. I intend to take the reading slowly and to blog thoughtfully. Since this coming year is going to bring with it the advent of our fifth child, I expect it will not be without its share of adversities and there will probably be periods of more or less quiet as we adjust to the newest member of our family. Still, all the more reason to try to ground myself in study and reflection as best as I am able. I hope that this kind of slow, thoughtful reading will bear much fruit both in my own life and in the lives of my fellow bloggers and the community we hope will gather to read with us. Won’t you please join me?



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  • I read The Language of Flowers earlier this year and simply loved it. A wonderful book.

    I read The Year of Learning Dangerously last month and … definitely didn’t have a positive response to her ‘humor’ and writing style. Well, I wrote about it at my own blog, but basically, I felt that her ‘humor’ has deep, cutting edges to it: I understand that it was *supposed* to be funny. But layering unkind, judgmental comments with humor, doesn’t actually make a statement (or book) funny.

    Also, do you read the homeschooling blog, Seven Little Australians? I didn’t know it was a book …

  • Ellie,

    I was uncomfortable at times with the undercurrent in the book; but I think I’m perhaps a bit too prone myself to biting and sarcastic humor so it didn’t bother me as much as it did you. I do see where you’re coming from, however. I guess I sort of held the book at arm’s length from the get-go, her whole point of view and lifestyle are so alien from mine, so secular. I treated it like I treat most things from the secular world: I don’t expect them to have the same standards of behavior and worldview and so am not surprised or disappointed when they fail to measure up to Christian standards of charity. Had the same sort of tone and attitude come from someone who claimed to be a believer, I’d have reacted much more strongly.

    In fact, I think I first heard of the book, Seven Little Australians from the blog. I don’t read it regularly; but do pop in from time to time. Mainly for her great book lists. I do highly recommend the book. It’s very much consciously in the tradition of Louis May Alcott, and reminded me very much of Little Women up to the naming of the oldest sister “Meg” and several incidents which were clearly inspired by the escapades of the March sisters.

    I think I’m about to go on a big Australia rabbit trail. I’ve ordered a bunch of books both from the library and from various used book sellers. I want to learn more about the history and the culture. I’m hoping to drag Bella along for the ride just a bit.

  • Interesting, Melanie … I’ve been pondering your response and (again) my reaction to the book, trying to think it through further …. For me, it doesn’t matter what a person’s faith is, or to what depth they live it: it is not given to me to know their hearts. That is between themselves and God.

    When, in a book or in a conversation or in a movie or on a talkshow or in a sermon, the speaker is demonstrating a concerted and consistently judgmental lack of regard and compassion for others and for how they raise their children and for how they live their lives—that is bullying. And when they use humor to mask those judgements, that is still bullying. Regrdless of whether or not humor is used, it is bullying.

    For me, the book lacked thoughtful consideration, and constructive analysis or criticism. It was like listening to a stand-up comedian in a nightclub … It just wasn’t funny. I guess I feel that it’s harmful when people talk and write that way about eachother. I feel that it’s perfectly be possible to be humorous, without being offensive and verbally abusive. And I don’t think she managed that. I tend to have a sarcastic, biting sense of humour myself. And whether it’s myself or another person, I don’t think it’s okay when that humour dengrates others. And that’s what she does in her book.

  • Melanie, Thanks for this great list! I’ve already added some to my Amazon wish list. Now if I could just finish the stack that’s waiting to be read! God bless!

  • I also really liked The Time Traveler’s Wife and felt let down by Her Fearful Symmetry. It was a much darker and creepier book, and I couldn’t get as interested in its heroines as I did in Claire and Henry. I read that her husband or partner, to whom she (augh, sleep deprived brain has suddenly let me down! Lost the term!) devoted/inscribed… DEDICATED, that’s it, The Time Traveler’s Wife, left her before she wrote Symmetry, and that accounts for some of the tone.