Our Lady

In the realm of the spiritual we can never be motherless.

Blessed Virgin 1One meets the Blessed Virgin inevitably when one attains a certain intensity of spiritual aspiration, when this aspiration is authentic and pure.  The very fact of having attained a spiritual sphere which comprises a certain degree of intensity and purity of intention puts you in the presence of the Blessed Virgin.  This meeting belongs to a certain “sphere” – i.e. to a certain degree of intensity and purity of spiritual aspiration – of spiritual experience, just as the experience of having a mother belongs naturally to human family life on earth.  It is therefore as “natural” for the spiritual domain as the fact of having a mother is natural in the domain of one’s terrestrial family.  The difference is that on earth one can certainly be motherless, whilst in the realm of the spiritual this can never happen.

Meditations on the Tarot
Letter XI Force

Depth

Knock, and it will be opened to you.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”  (Mat 7:7-8, ESV)

There is a difference between what the brain (intelligence/mind/reasoning) knows and what the spirit (heart/soul/gut) knows, and only the former can be satisfied with theories and facts alone.  The brain does not need experience in order to know, only exposure.  But the brain does not digest.

The spirit, however, is the one who asks, seeks, knocks.  This activity prepares us to receive, to experience, and to digest.  What the spirit knows is given, a gift, a blessing, a grace.  It is not there for the taking.

door

Depth is more than just knowing facts or espousing theories.  Therefore the above Scripture passage does not teach answers, findings, what is behind the door.  It invites us to experience what will be given when we ask, seek, knock.  Depth comes from, and with, experience of that which is real and true.

If someone asked me what people lack most these days, my answer would be “Depth”.  See ye here room for improvement.

 

Meat Loaf with Potato Crust and Peach Cobbler

Everyone raved.

Dinner today was a meat loaf with mashed potato crust, carrots and onions on the side and some salad from the garden, while our oldest made a peach cobbler for dessert.  It took a smidge of planning to figure out what goes into the oven when and at what temperature, and we had to figure out if the cobbler and the meat loaf will fit into the oven at the same time.  Planned the work, worked the plan, see the result!  The peach cobbler went into the oven around the same time the mashed potatoes went on the meat loaf.  Everyone raved.  Oldest daughter was about as proud of her creation as her parents are of her.
Recipes below.

cobbler and meat loaf3

Meat Loaf with Mashed Potato Crust

Ingredients
2 1/2 lbs ground beef
2 lbs ground pork
2 eggs,slightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
bit of mustard to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
Combine the beef, pork, egg, milk and mustard in a large bowl.  Season to taste.  Form into a loaf and place in a baking dish.

Cut carrots and onions and place around the meatloaf, and put in the oven.  Bake for about 2 hours before adding the potato crust.

For the crust, boil potatoes and mash them as usual or use leftover mashed potatoes.  Cover the meatloaf with mashed potatoes and bake for another hour or so.

The meatloaf should bake for a minimum of 3 hour altogether at 350°F (175°C), until the meat thermometer shows 160°F or more.

Peach Cobbler

Ingredients
For the batter:
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
1 egg, slightly beaten

For the filling:
1 big (28 ounce) can of sliced peaches, drained and rinsed
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions
Melt butter in a 9 x 13 inch pan.  In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients for the batter.  Then stir in milk and egg.  Pour evenly over melted butter.

Combine peaches, sugar and spices.  Spread over batter, do not stir.

Bake 35-45 minutes at 350°F until batter comes to the top and is golden brown, and serve warm with ice cream.

Avoid the Chair of Pestilence

In other words: Stop gossiping!

Marcus Aurelius gossip quoteArguing about what a good man should be more often than not develops along the lines of good – or more likely, bad – examples.  We look at other people’s behavior and classify it.  If it stopped there, all would be fine.  Why not learn from the successes and mistakes of others?

But that is not what Marcus Aurelius is addressing here.  The target of his pithy statement is gossip which has a significant social function, namely to unite those who gossip among themselves against the one who is the subject of the gossip.  Try opting out of a round of gossip, and your fellow gossipers will treat you like a traitor.  And indeed, a potential traitor you have become because by refusing to participate, you make a judgment about their propensity for gossiping and become a danger:  Since you are not guilty of the same “crime”, you might go and tell the subject of the gossip what the others have been saying!

Scripture calls these people “scoffers”, “mockers”, “the scornful”, those who sit “in the chair of pestilence”.

Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the chair of pestilence.

(Ps 1:1, Douay-Reims Bible)

Incidentally, this harkens back to the Stoic dichotomy of control:  Since you do not have complete control over other people’s behavior, stop talking about them and concentrate on what you have control over, i.e. yourself and what you do, think and say.

 

 

Have Time, Make Time

What do you make time for?

You have time.  We all have time.  The same amount, in fact:  24 hours, 7 days a week, until the moment when time as we know it doesn’t matter anymore.   The difference that makes a difference, however, lies here:
What do we make time for?

red rose in June 3

What we make time for reflects our values.  We make time for the people and things we value the most.  Or do we?

Actions speak louder than words.  Reflect on, and possibly re-evaluate, your values.

June with Edith

A dripping June keeps all in tune.

Edith Holden June

Why will your mind forever go
To meads in sunny Greece?
Our songbirds have a fine a flow,
Our sheep as fair a fleece;
Among our hills the honey-bee,
And int he leaning pear –
I tell you there is Arcady
In leafy Warwickshire.

~ Norman Gale

In other words:  The grass only looks greener on the other side of the fence.  While we are not in the Bard’s own -shire, we are in our own little Shire here in NE Ohio, and with June come all the beauties of early summer.  The Dog Roses and Yellow Iris are about done blossoming already because the winter was very mild, but our hedge has just started.  It’s little white blossoms have a fragrance similar to jasmine, so I am assuming it is of the same family.  Baby bunnies are already hopping everywhere, the first brood of robins is about to leave the nest, the young sparrows are on the wing already and Mrs. Myrtle Warbler has three eggs to keep warm at this point in time.  She has built her nest in said sweet-smelling hedge and used primarily hair from our big white pup…  Must be comfy!

Mother Warbler

Note:  The drawing and quote are taken from Edith Holden’s “The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady”.  If ever you were looking for a good example of a nature journal, or wanted to motivate your own young ladies to start notebooking, this is a wonderful book to refer to.  Besides, it is full of beautiful poetry and interesting information, presented in outstanding penmanship.

Contemplation

Hidden in Plain Sight

Both image and quote are worth being dwelt upon.

Dantes Inforno book cover image

O ye who have undistempered intellects,
               Observe the doctrine that conceals itself
Beneath the veil of the mysterious verses!

Inferno: Canto IX

 

Note:  The image appears on the Barnes & Noble Classics 2008 hardcover edition of Dante’s The Divine Comedy in the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow translation with reproductions of Gustave Dore’s engravings from the 1867 edition.

All in, finally!

Ready to Grow

garden cropIt’s been an awfully busy week, getting the garden ready to grow, errr, go.   After the new moon on May 25th and the final week of the more formal part of our home schooling year – testing week, as we call it -, the garden demanded all our attention.  The structure was still there from last year:  slightly raised, roughly square beds, a whole bunch of them.  What bears fruit underground had been planted while the moon was waning already, so now it was time to plant what bears fruit above ground while the moon was waxing.

But first, the weeds needed taken care of, and the girls all wanted their own square to grow what they like, or think looks pretty.  So out came the garden claw and the hoe, and yesterday we finally put the last seeds in the ground.  All done, finally!  Now we’ll watch things grow, the plants that we would prefer to grow elsewhere (aka weeds) alongside the ones we actually planted…  The home school summer season has begun in earnest.

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