7QT: Witness. Also, more on Puff the Magic Dragon.

These quick takes are not about the film with Amish Harrison Ford, but hopefully they’ll do for Kelly’s linkup.

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I’m still reading Edith Stein’s Self-Portrait in Letters and it’s bearing a lot of fruit. I’m to the point in her life after she has entered Carmel and her mother has just died. Some of my thoughts this week were inspired by this part of one of her letters.

edith-steinA Benedictine sister wrote to Teresa Benedicta to ask for a quotation from Teresa of Avila “in which she literally directs one to read Holy Scripture.” A footnote says that this quotation, though Teresa loved Scripture, would certainly not exist because vernacular copies of the Bible were not permitted. This still really bothers me, that the Church would withhold the Scripture from the laity and I think it should bother me, even though I’m part of the Church now. But then I read TB’s explanation that the two nuns’ (St Therese of Lisieux and St. Teresa Margaret Redi) lives testify to the whole of Scripture and thought how much more important to have lives attesting to the truth than only words on a page. She writes:

“You can see the fruits in the quotations we copied out for you from [the writings of] the two saintly Carmelite nuns. These two alone would give rich material for your essay, for their entire life in the Order was a translation of Sacred Scripture into life.” (pp 218-9; letter 212)

As incarnational people, we worship a person and it is other people who will truly testify to Christ. Faith comes by hearing and hearing from the word of God, yes, but the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. We are to become like him, co-heirs to eternal life. How can I attest to the truth of the Scriptures with my life so that those who have no interaction with the Bible can know the truth about Jesus? Both with my words, but even more with my life.

The two priests on the Catholic Stuff You Should Know podcast explored some of these theme this week. When we say we have faith, we don’t mean we have knowledge, but that we believe in someone. Look at the Creed: “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty.” It’s not “I believe there is one God” but that we believe in Him, a person. How is the faith transmitted? Through people. We see this in Romans 10:13-15:

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

It makes me think of a recent post on LMLD about living Lent with your children instead of doing Lenten activities. Just make faithfulness the tone of life – that is what the liturgical year is for: to live into the rhythms of the church and the rhythms of a faithful walk with the Lord. Hopefully our lives will show more of Christ and less of us, so our children – and the world! – can see what it means to believe in a Person.

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Speaking of witness, Chris and I watched A Man for All Seasons last Friday (Catholic achievement unlocked) and we loved it. St. Thomas More’s witness is the embodiment of Christ’s exhortation to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” His decision to rely on what he knew of the law in order not to rush headlong into martyrdom was an unexpected choice. I didn’t know anything about him really, except what he wrote in Utopia, so it was almost shocking to see how the story unfolded. It also inspired me to attempt Wolf Hall, the novel about the other Thomas, Mr. Cromwell, since I thought the Tudor kick would carry me through but I’m not feelin’ it. I need a novel.

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Good reads this week:

  • Baby Food by Jill Lepore in The New Yorker // This article is 6 years old, but I thought her insights about the medicalization of breastfeeding were very insightful. It reminded me of this LMLD blog post, “Every woman can nurse her baby.” Nursing isn’t about getting breastmilk into your child like it’s a magic solution, but about mothering. Every woman, even those women who can’t or don’t breastfeed, can nurse her baby.
  • “Let Us Keep the Fast?” What to do about Sundays during Lent. by Daniel Stewart // So helpful for Lenten logistics.
  • Confessions of a Comma Queen at The New Yorker // Grammar nerds, unite.
  • What we lose when we sugarcoat NFP at Mama Needs Coffee  // This is how I feel about postpartum NFP right now, so amen to all of this. It’s beautiful and the best but it’s also really, really, really hard sometimes.

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I took Christopher to Toddler Tunes, a baby/toddler sing-along, on Wednesday morning. He basically just stared intently at the guitarist and then clapped intermittently, but I think he’ll get the hang of it if we go more often. I mentioned my antipathy to Puff the Magic Dragon in the last post, but I need to talk about it more and of course, you need to read about it. Let’s revisit the lyrics here:

A dragon lives forever, but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant’s rings make way for other toys
One gray night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And Puff, that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane
Without his lifelong friend, Puff could not be brave
So Puff, that mighty dragon, sadly slipped into his cave

Once I got over how gutwrenchingly sad this is, I started imagining Mrs. Paper, Jackie Paper’s mom, who probably spent a lot of money on Puff the Magic Dragon, the latest toy that promised imagination development and sealing wax collection, and how, putting Puff away for the gazilionth time, she thought “Boy, that was a lot of money for a toy with scales that flimsy.”

5

Clearly I jinxed us when I said in my Christopher 10 month update post that he had been sleeping and napping really well. That changed the minute I published that post. I should know by now not to celebrate these things. I’m not superstitious but I am a little stitious. He’s currently grumbling in his crib and trying to play with the old phone masquerading as a white noise machine despite falling asleep nursing 20 minutes ago. Babies, man.

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A blurry photo demonstrating the latest in kitchen distraction technology:

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If I could only get him to clean some dishes while he’s inspecting it.

7

It’s so cold, blah, blah, blah, Hoth, Antarctica, frozen tundra, etc. I realized this morning (yes, only this morning) that I should probably just offer up my frozen fingertips instead of complaining about them endlessly. It’s just so satisfying to dislike something so much with so many other people and to feel schadenfreude when the snow melts. This will probably only be interesting to people who also find snow to be as exotic as I think it is, but yesterday a bulldozer with a “SnoGo” attachment and a parade of trucks came down our block to remove the wall of ice that was making our busy street into one lane. It was actually super cool and I took a picture since I’m actually a 2 year old boy:

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These were not quick takes, so thanks for sticking it out if you got through to the end! You have won a prize!

….

My respect.

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