A couple of years ago, when thoughts began forming in my head along certain lines – lines that have to do with human scale and pace, and what the requirements are for human flourishing in a way that aligns with the Gospel, with what has been penned in the West concerning The Good Life, &c.
Pope Francis’ encyclical lit a fire under me, and my fingers have been furiously flying over the keyboard because my mind is going like a gyro. I’m reframing the research I’ve been conducting on topics woven into fabric by intersecting threads of thought. Resilience and sustainability, human scale and pace, and things like that.
This process began when I was homeschooling my two oldest children, and did more studying than they. John Taylor Gatto’s Underground History of American Education got the fire burning, but that quickly led by way of reference to John Senior’s “The Death of Christian Culture” and an appendix in which he lists “the thousand good books” which must be read before one can understand the content of the Great Books of the Western World, which believe it or not are more accessible today than at any other point in history, they’re free, and nobody wants to read them because we’re sinking into a new age of barbarism.
But I digress.
Reading Senior got me to reading more Senior, by way of sequel. That is, “The Restoration of Christian Culture.” I’ve worn out two copies with notes. The book isn’t very prescriptive, but I think we may be able to handle that for him. He had a bunch of good ideas scattered throughout the book, but nothing like a program. I began working on the Parva Project, but got sidetracked and let it hang there for awhile. I’m thinking it might be time to resuscitate it.
Anyhow, back to the encyclical!
The encyclical may have opened up a portal, not in the space/time continuum, more important than that. It may have opened up a portal into the grace/time continuum. I’m hoping that it rips through the fabric that has kept otherwise good Catholics (I’m a bad Catholic, so I don’t count) from acting on the Church’s social doctrine. It is going to suck for a lot of people, because it would mean that we have to actually start caring about other people and the harm that we’re doing to them by not promoting all aspects of the common good…by living it.
John Senior began his book “Restoration” with an opening salvo. He said that we have no other recourse but to Mary, and I would agree. It is in the spirit of that resignation that I propose a concerted effort to band together and live as if certain things mattered. And so, I offer a means of doing that in the form of a wonderful version of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary popular a hundred and a quarter years ago. If you want an easy way to pray through the day, maybe even if you’ve tried to pray the Liturgy of the Hours but found you didn’t have the time…you may love this solution. The Little Office is an abbreviated version of the Liturgy of the Hours, otherwise known as the Divine Office (hence the Little Office of the BVM is a shortened devotion, not a room from which Mary used to work from home).
Click the picture above if you’re so inclined, and pray with me.