At the eventide of our lives, we shall be judged on love.
~Saint John of the Cross
Moments of Gratitude
No matter how badly I lived out yesterday or last week or last month, I am still blessed with TODAY. I read somewhere that "today is a gift; that's why it's called the present". That thought can make my tired body, mind, and spirit go for yet another day. And with that other day, I can regroup myself, condition myself to breathe deeply again, think more calmly and rationally, and make something good out of the precious present.
I divided the CCC's section on fortitude into "thought units", if you will, so I can better ponder on it.
Consider these with me? The parenthetical mini-notes are mine, kinda like memos to myself.
"Fortitude is the moral virtue
that ensures firmness in difficulties
and constancy in the pursuit of the good.
(Plod on, plod on...)
the resolve to resist temptations
and to overcome obstacles to moral life.
(It is possible. Pray to the Holy Spirit.)
The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear,
(How? I will bring this to my prayers this week.)
even fear of death
(which creeps to me now and then; midlifing, you know...)
and to face trials and persecutions.
It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice his life
in defense of a just cause."
(Definitely then, fortitude is among the "stuff" that saints are made of. Still, just causes abound these days and many of them could be renounced in small ways on a daily basis. That would also entail sacrifice. Talk about upholding openness to life and chastity in all states of life, for example.)
"The Lord is my strength and my song." (The CCC quoting Psalm 118:14)
(The practice of fortitude does not have to be woeful experience and turn you into a morose being.)
"In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (The CCC quoting John 16:33)
(Indeed, our Lord has done just that! Fortitude -- and virtue -- has its rewards.)
In the Kitchen
Sometimes, my refrigerator and pantry show mercy on their negligent owner, and help her come up with a win. In this case, it was meatloaf. Oh, I know, meatloaves are right up there with fruitcakes in the joke charts, but I happen to like them both.
I had almost a kilo of ground meat in my freezer begging to be cooked. Spring rolls would be the usual first choice, but that would be too labor-intensive, and on that day, I have just about conked out. So I inventoried what I had that could be on chummy terms with ground meat, and mercifully came up with onion, pimiento, cheese, barbecue sauce, sweet chili sauce, vienna sausage, raisins, wholewheat bread, eggs, and milk. I couldn't believe my luck. Some days are kinder than the rest.
In two hours or so, I had three medium-size meatloaves. It lasted us about four meals.
~ The Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of Saint Therese of Lisieux ~
I started reading this book early this year, then stopped, for a reason that I can't remember. Sometimes, in my eagerness to read this and that book, I end up with too many of them on my bedside table. Unfortunately, the books at the bottom of the pile tend to be forgotten. (I must add that to my list of bad book habits.)
Since Saint Therese was a contemplative nun, I expected that many of the discussions would be, well, of the lofty nature. And indeed, that is the case. She is profound, insightful, and definitely rich in thoughts divine. I read and re-read many sections in her book, and still cannot say that I have fully understood what she had meant.
"Deep peace inundates the soul when it soars above mere natural sentiments. There is joy equal to that which is shared by the truly poor in spirit. "
Still, Saint Therese also gave rich practical advice, such as dealing with co-workers. After all, contemplative nuns also worked and interacted with each other.
"Verily in prayer and sacrifice lies all my strength, and they are my invincible arms; experience has taught me that they touch hearts far more easily than words."
Saint Therese's autobiography does not constitute leisure and easy reading, so every time I have half-grasped one of the plentiful gems in her book, I am happy.
Wandering Around the Web
If homeschoolers in the temperate zone have to contend with cabin fever in the middle of winter, tropical homeschoolers undergo what I call wet season lethargy. You wake up and it is already raining. Or very cloudy. And/or gloomy. If it doesn't rain enough, there is this dampness hanging over and around you. If it rains too hard, you keep looking out the window, checking if the street drainage is doing its job. All the while, your eyelids are drooping and all your energy reserves seem to be sucked out of your system eight hours before bedtime.
Nobody is going down with any form of lethargy this year, please.
I'm thinking that Youngest Daughter and I will work on some crafts, just to keep ourselves cheerful. We haven't done that in a while. I checked out That Artist Woman and found a Rainy Day Watercolour project. It's very suitable, manageable for clumsy crafters like me, and should keep us busy with something new.
That Artist Woman has plenty of projects you can work on; it is a joy to spend some time visiting her website. She lists down the materials that you will need for a project, and her instructions are carefully written. She also diligently photographs the steps in accomplishing an art project, so you can compare how yours is coming along. Her website is a delight for art teachers and homeschooling moms.
Wildflowers by the beach
This post was originally linked with the Catholic Woman's Almanac, a Monday online linking activity started by Jenny who now blogs at The Littlest Way.