religion

O Good and Faithful Servant

We read in Scripture of the blessing of the good and faithful servant.

So why don’t we reward or bless the good and faithful servant in practice, in our lives or communities and yes, even in our parishes and dioceses?

A lot of coverage is given to those amazing conversion stories, to those fantastic testimonies, the Johnny Come Lately who allegedly rose from the ashes.

Very little coverage is given to those faithful, tireless workers, lay people and priests, who serve well, day in and day out, who are fulfilling their vocations with patience and diligence and prayer. Who may not have stories of riches from adversity but who do have stories of faithfulness.

In a society where faithfulness is often decried, where the spectacular is raised on a pedestal and the ordinary is ignored, where wives are encouraged to leave loveless marriages, where people are encouraged to live for the now, who knows what tomorrow may bring, to have fun, to put themselves first, in this society we need examples of faithfulness put before us.

We need the stories of the faithful parish priest, celebrating mass, hearing confession, listening to parishioners, praying, teaching catechism…so that wife in despair can see why faithfulness to her vocation is important, too. So that the parent tied down to a mortgage and a job sees the value of faithfulness to their vocation.

Ordinary people living ordinary lives need to see how faithfulness is a blessing, a reward, a virtue.

They need to see not only the story of the poor boy turned priest or bad boy turned priest, but also the story of the good and faithful shepherd, leading an ordinary life in an extraordinary fashion, with faith and with faithfulness.

Unschooling

Strewing their paths…late February

To strew. To lay interesting thing in the paths of our children, our families, our unschooling sons and daughters. Well, sons in my case. Or son. The lone unschooler.

Sandra Dodd coined this term “strewing” within an unschooling context.

And it works. It sparks an interest, it allows for exposure, it provides another knot to that mental hammock of information. 

Even when a parent is in absentia. As I have been in February, due to work commitments.

You know Arnie Schwarznegger in the movie Jingle All the Way, that almost always absent dad? That’s been me. But at least everyone knows its only temporary (roll on March!).

And I have been strewing.  So sparks are sown without me.

Making a salt dough crown of thorns with some sons. And me varnishing it late at night and decorating the table for Lent so that is the first thing everyone sees as they come downstairs in the morning. When I am already at work. 

Asking Anthony to find an icon of Sts Cyril and Methodius while I hang streamers for St Valentine. While a very late, very easy dinner is cooking. 

Taking a Saturday afternoon to clean the garage and find interesting new-to-some books to share….Dorothy Sayers’ Creed or Chaos?, Kim Philby’s account of the Philby spy scandal that rocked Britain and that on which the film and book Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is based, Joyce Vedrals’ book The 12 Minute Workout for those sons bemoaning their lack of workout time once Uni starts, Party Shoes by Noel Streatfield ( for me! But lead to discussion and a maybe we should watch Ballet Shoes again?), an Italian Reader for Thomas who is saving to go to Rome for a Latin school in July….

Other strewing? Reading about St Wahlburga after mass and Anthony looking up Saxon inspired desserts for Sunday.

A trip to Kikki K….just walking in the door makes one feel more organized already!

Setting up games days and times to hang with friends  and lifts to and from drama and New Testament Greek class and buses to youth group for Anthony, the lone but not alone unschooler.

Making lists…..can someone make pancakes for Shrove Tuesday (Shrove Monday in this house this year!), can someone find a Gregorian chant CD, can someone vacuum or hang out laundry or post this letter and the myriad of other chores that make up Life Skills and Personal Development.

On the rare but treasured hang out with family nights…watching some of the Numbers series and discussing religion and faith and Maths and family and crime, watching Music and Lyrics and loving the dialogue, a mini  Harry Potter marathon… Deathly Hallows Part One and Two and reminiscing about the books and characters and choices.

And my kids helping me with so much Kumon work and my thank you to my kids and to my other assistants…our nearly end of Kumon dinner at a local Chinese restaurant.

This is what unschooling looks like.

This is what unschooling strewing looks like.

It looks a lot like life, doesn’t it?

But life strewed with and lived with purpose and intent. 

An observer  may see no visible signs of learning (You wrote down a sneeze as Health! That tongue in cheek comment!). And yet  the observer can know that there is learning and intent. Time is structured, by interest and by strewing, not necessarily by school. And education happens. With the spark or interest in learning retained.

That’s unschooling. That’s unschooling strewing. 

religion

Catechesis

Absolute quiet.


Peace.


Everyone facing one way.


Priest.
Deacon.

Servers.
The faithful.


We all prayed in sacred silence at the consecration and elevation during Holy Mass.


In adoration.


It was all about Our Lord.


And so I prayed at Mass  on Candlemas.


In direct contrast to a conversation awhile back. wherein a friend mentioned that we needed the children to perform liturgical dance in a mass that was being planned, so the “children would feel special and that it’s all about them.”


But it’s not. I’ts not all about them. Or us. 


It’s about God.


And in our busy, entertainment oriented world, how nice it is for children to be given a sacred space, a quiet place, a place to learn that they are special, with God, in adoration of God. . 


How important, too, for catechesis. 


The  sacred liturgy, the formal worship of God the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit, is indeed “the privileged place for catechizing the people of God.” (CCC 1074)

Unschooling

Strewing their paths…February

I strew many different things in the paths of my sons.. Outings, cooking, museums, libraries, puzzles, music, blogs, links, masses, prayers, statues, candles, quotes, games..

The biggest thing that I strew, though, are books.

I strew books because I love books. I love reading. Books have enriched my mind, my experience, my life.

As we start February, I have been strewing books on our dining table, near the candles and liturgical year strewing.

What books?

Saints and Art… For St John Bosco

Catholic Bioethics by the Bishop of our Diocese, Bishop Anthony Fisher OP.

Kitchen by Nigella Lawson… A great read, attractive turn of phrase, clever use of imagery, a cookbook that is a example of good writing.

The Women’s Weekly Retro Cookbook (yes, I have sons who like cooking and who get into retro).

The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton .. I have raved about this so much that I might as well leave it around.. Who knows who will pick it up?

And that’s what happens with books in our house. Someone leaves one lying around and someone else picks it up, peruses, gets into it.

Strewing paths with books.