Thursday, December 31, 2009

Checking Systems for New Year

This may well be a very rambly post! As the New Year approaches I want to try to check all my systems and update them. That would be (trying to organize my mind first):

  1. Devotion/walk with God
  2. Family -- my involvement in their wellbeing -- husband, children, parents and other relatives.
  3. Personal Health
  4. Household Management
  5. Homeschool (related to #2 but uses up enough of my day to need its own category)
  6. Other community/volunteer Acts of Mercy type activities.

Obviously these all overlap quite a bit. Here's a visual -- since they stick in my head better than just a list:

During Advent I read something by Msr Ronald Knox about St Ignatius Loyola -- he made a point that stuck with me particularly because it seemed so appropriate to meditating on the Nativity and Our Lord's early days of life.

Before they (the Maccabeans) could muster their forces, and dispute with the heathen the mastery of their native soil, it was necessary for them to take refuge in the hill country.... Mathathias cried with a loud voice, "Everyone that hath zeal for the law and maintaineth the testament, let him follow me," and he and his sons fled into the mountains, and left all that they had in the city. It was in those same mountains that David had taken refuge, when he fled from the persecution of King Saul; and he has sung of those outlaw strongholds of his in words that still echo through the sanctuaries of Christendom; "I will lift up mine eyes to the hills, whence cometh my help, "the Lord hath brought me out, and set me upon a rock of stone" -- the Maccabees took him for their model and retired to the hill fastnesses till that had gathered the strength needed for their effort.

Before we can do any good in the world or to the world, we must go up to the mountains and learn to separate ourselves from the world; for us..... the preface to any victory must be a retreat. .... roughly speaking, you may say there was only one piece of advice he (St Ignatius) ever gave to anybody, and that was, "Go into retreat."

This brings to my mind how the Holy Family fled to Egypt; how many years Jesus spent hidden in the heart of His home before His ministry began; how Mary, as it said in the readings from the last mass:

kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
Pope Paul VI wrote that:

Jesus' home in Nazareth is a school, teaching us the value of silence, family life, and the redeeming law of human work
That "work, family, silence" theme echoes one in All You Who Labor -- Cardinal Wyczynsky says:

"Laws that link the interior with the active life point to the existence of a joyous interdependence between them, betweeen, as it were, the "Martha" and "Mary" in us. .... In what does this joyous helpfulness consisten? One might express it in these words: the interior life supplies the active life with virtues and skills, and the active, working life tests these values in the fire of work...

The interior life is the school of all the virtues and therefore also of the social "working virtues" -- those virtues that share in the process of human work in a special manner. And which of them does not share in this process?

and later on in the book

Every great work and every great sanctification is born in silence and recollection. ... "the great silence" ought to be accomplished not only around us, but above all, within us. ... quiet is born, not so mmuch around us, as within ourselves. To be quiet and concentrated does not mean that one has to be in a peaceful, cloisterlike, deserted place, far from all tumult... To be quiet means to have quiet in one's soul.
Some things I am trying to remember for this year.

There's a very good discussion on Simplicity going on over at Real Learning. Over there I wrote something I wanted to bring over here to remind myself, since I go through this cycle every year:

I hope we can discuss at some point how to tell the difference between striving for simplicity for God's will, vs doing it for different reasons. Seems important to me, because I struggle with it all the time. I make some good change -- and feel like I'm actually growing away from God instead of towards Him -- because I'm making that new thing my new standard, and so to some extent substituting it for Him.

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