Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy

Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy has been one of those "Eureka!" books for me (along with The Sacrament of the Present Moment and Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives). This was my third reading and I know I need to read it again (thankfully it's not large!). On every page there's something that stirs the soul and delights the mind. It opens on a scene of sorrowing. Boethius has been falsely accused and imprisoned for only ever doing good. His muses are assisting him in his mourning when Lady Philosophy makes her appearance.

'Who,' she demanded, her piercing eyes alight with fire, 'has allowed these hysterical sluts to approach this sick man's bedside? They have no medicines to ease his pains, only sweetened poisons to make them worse. (p.4)

Excuse the aside here, but I think Jane Austen would heartily approve of how Lady Philosophy takes all in hand at this point. She reminds Boethius that It is hardly surprising if we are driven by the blasts of storms when our chief aim on this sea of life is to displease wicked men.(p.8) (This is one I come back to and remind myself of.) As Boethius laments his banishment, she tells him something that would be well if we all kept it in mind:

'The moment I saw your sad and tear-stained looks, they told me that you had been reduced to the misery of banishment; but unless you had told me, I would not have known how far you had been banished. However, it is not simply a case of your having been banished far from your home; you have wandered away yourself, or if you prefer to be thought of as being banished, it is you yourself that have been the instrument of it. No one else could ever have done it. For if you remember the country you came from, it is not governed by majority rule like Athens of old, but, if I may quote Homer, One is its lord and one its king; and rather than having them banished, He prefers to have a large body of subjects. Submitting to His governance and obeying His laws is freedom. You seem to have forgotten the oldest law of your community, that any man who has chosen to make his dwelling there has the sacred right never to be banished.' (p. 17)

She begins to question him so as to find the root of his problem to know the proper cure. She concludes from his answers that he has been upset by the change of Fortune, and she must point out to him that change is Fortune's normal behavior, her true nature. (p. 23) Lady Philosophy tells Boethius stop thinking of yourself as plunged in misery (p. 27) and reminds him of the good fortune he has had all of his life: the love of his adopted family, his modest wife, his successful sons, his former rank, but this, Boethius says, makes his current state even harder to bear, In all adversity of fortune, the most wretched kind is once to have been happy. (p.29) But what Boethius begins to realize is that the joys of nature are not something he owns or controls.

She contrasts Providence and Fate, and discusses whether or not there is a such thing as Chance. (102-116). She explains God's foreknowledge and man's free-will in the light of time and Eternity. (119-137). She talks about time in a way that will make your head spin like a top. The span of a single second can be compared with ten thousand years, but a minute though it may be, it still has value in proportion because each is a finite measure of time. But ten thousand years, or any multiple of it however great, cannot be compared with unending eternity. For while finite things can be compared with one another, the finite and the infinite can never be compared. (42)

Homer sings with honied tongue
How the brightly shining sun
All things views and all things hears.
And yet with rays too weak to pierce
Far within he cannot see
The bowels of earth or depths of sea.
Not so the Founder of the world
To Whose high gaze is all unfurled,
Matter's dense solidity,
And cloudy night's obsecurity.
What is, what was, what is to be,
In one swift glance His mind can see.
All things by Him alone are seen,
And Him the true sun we should deem.

Lady Philosophy speaks of the remedies as bitter [tasting] to the tongue, but grow sweet once they are absorbed. (47) She sees that Boethius is growing eager to understand the destination, which she tells him is true happiness. Your mind dreams of it, she says, but your sight is clouded by shadows of happiness and cannot see reality. (47) They discuss the different things that men commonly see as happiness: wealth, power, admiration, bodily pleasure, and Boethius conclude that True and perfect happiness is that which makes a man self-sufficient, strong, worthy of respect, glorious and joyful. (65) Lady Philosophy tells him that he must add one thing, replying, Do you think there is anything among these mortal and degenerate things which could confer such a state? (65) Her argument is logically and beautifully stated, and the gist of her conclusion several pages later is that God is the essence of happiness (70), and that when we become happy we participate in the divine. (71) They then go on to discuss goodness, and how God is the supreme good who mightily sweetens and orders all things. (80)

Whoever deeply searches out the truth
And will not be decoyed down by false by-ways,
Shall turn unto himself his inward gaze,
Shall bring his wandering thoughts in circle home
And teach his heart that what is seeks abroad
It holds in its own treasuries within.
What error's gloomy clouds have veiled before
Will then shine clearer than the sun himself.
Not all its light is banished from the mind
By body's matter which makes men forget.
That seed of truth lies hidden deep within,
And teaching fans the spark to take new life;
Why else unaided can man answer true,
Unless deep in the heart the touchwood burns?
And if the muse of Plato speaks the truth,
Man but recalls what once he knew and lost.

This light, whimsical (ha!) book then discusses what is commonly referred to as "the problem of evil". Lady Philosophy is again the voice of Wisdom, teaching that sin never goes unpunished or virtue unrewarded (86), and that Men who give up the common goal of all things that exist, thereby cease to exist themselves. (91) And that when the wicked go unpunished they acquire some extra evil in actually going scot free, which you have agreed is bad, because if its injustice. (98) Boethius sees the truth of her argument, but knows that ordinary men would not believe her. She explains that their eyes are used to dark and they cannot raise them to the shining light of truth. They are like birds whose sight is sharpened by night and blinded by day. So long as they look only at their own desires and not the order of creation, they think of freedom to commit crimes and the absence of punishment as happy things. (99)

One of my ways of thinking that was shaken and dethroned by reading Consolation is the Calvinistic belief of Total Depravity, at least the way I've always heard (and read) it presented. In contrast, she clearly states that There is nothing, therefore, which could preserve its own nature as well as go against God. (80) She recalls the story of Odysseus and his men stranded on Circe's island and Odysseus' men drinking the potion that changed them into animals where

There voice and body changed;
Only the mind remains
To mourn their monstrous plight. (95)

She contrasts the story of Odysseus and his men with

Those poisons, though, are stronger,
Which creeping deep within
Dethrone a man's true self:
They do not harm the body,
But cruelly wound the mind. (96)

Lady Philosophy argues that when a man abandons goodness and ceases to be human, being unable to rise to a divine condition, he sinks to the level of being an animal because it was by falling into wickedness that they also lost their human nature. (94) Thus, wicked people may retain the outward appearance of the human body, [but] change into animals in regard to their state of mind. (96)

Do yourself a favor and read this book as soon as possible. It's necessary.

(Consolation of Philosophy must be read in full to truly grasp and appreciate the beautiful flow of reason as this brief summary cannot substitute for that.)  

A few notes from the introduction written by Victor Watts:

King Alfred translated Consolation into Old English and Chaucer into Middle English.

Dante found Boethius one of his greatest consolations after the death of Beatrice, and set Boethius among the twelve lights in the heaven of the Sun.

Boethius speaks of philosophy as at once the pursuit of wisdom, the pursuit of divinity and the friendship of that pure mind.

Page numbers correlate to this edition.

You may also like:

The Sacrament of the Present Moment

plus potuit, quia plus amavit

"Die before you die. There's no chance after."


During his recent visit, PopPop brought what is now my kids' favorite movie, Those Magnificent Men and Their Flying Machines. It's all the rage at my house just now, and my son goes about quoting his favorite line spoken by the Brit. It's something like, "We rule the seas, but dammit we should rule the skies too!" This is their favorite part at the very beginning. Nothing I do will convince them that you do not pronounce his name Red Skeleton. Oh well.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Quote Friday

"But you, Kristin, you should have seen so much now, methinks, that you might trust in God Almighty with a surer trust. Have you not yet understood that He bears up every soul so long as the soul lets not go its hold on Him? Think you, woman, child that you still are in your old age, that 'tis God punishing the sin, when you reap sorrow and humiliation because you followed your lusts and your own overweening pride over paths that God has forbidden His children to tread? Would you say that you had punished your children if they scalded their hands when they took up the boiling kettle you had forbidden them to touch, or if the slippery ice broke under them that you had warned them not to go upon? Have you not understood, when the brittle ice broke beneath you - that you were drawn under each time you let go God's hand, that you were saved from out of the deep each time you called upon Him?...Have you not understood yet, sister, that God has helped you each time you prayed, though you prayed half-heartedly and with feigning, and helped you much beyond what you prayed for? You loved God as you loved your father, not so hotly as you loved your own will, yet none the less so that you ever sorrowed much when you forsook Him - and therefore His mercy toward you suffered good to grow, admidst the evil harvest you must needs reap from the seed of your stubborn will."

Kristin Lavransdatter (The Cross)
by Sigrid Undset

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

May Reading

I know I'm a few days late, but here it goes....

Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Anthony Esolen
All I've ever read by Anthony Esolen (mostly articles in Touchstone Magazine) has been thought provoking and interesting. Although much of his thinking in this book was familiar to me, there were also many new things to be chewed on. Unfortunately, the people who need this book the most will never read it. sigh....

Love Among the Chickens by P. G. Wodehouse
This is one of those books that I tried to start several times, but just was too busy or reading something else to really get into it. When I did (on a plane ride), I read it straight through. It features the famous Ukridge. Not had the pleasure? Well, here's a little quote by way of introduction: I knew what manner of man Ukridge was when he relaxed and became chummy. Friendships of years' standing had failed to survive the test.

My Man Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse
This collection of short stories features several different characters. It's a very fun smattering of Wodehouse's humour. Several of these gems are used in Jeeves & Wooster (highly recommended!).

Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: the Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
It's a little daunting for me to write any kind of description of a book like this. The book is just what the title states it is, yet it is so much more. I realize that the title can even sound a bit "health and wealth" and "power of positive thinking" for Americans living in this time, but there is a true version of these things and this humble man is the one to tell you about it. Here are some of his own words to give you a better idea of the book,

Our life depends on the kind of thoughts we nurture. If our thoughts are peaceful, calm, meek, and kind, then that is what our life is like. If our attention is turned to the circumstances in which we live, we are drawn into a whirlpool of thoughts and can have neither peace nor tranquility.

It is of great significance if there is a person who truly prays in a family. Prayer attracts God's Grace and all the members of the family feel it, even those whose hearts have grown cold. Pray always.

We must bear everything patiently and forgive all. If we have good thoughts and desires, these thoughts will give us peace and joy in this life and even more so in eternity. Then we will see that there is no death, that the Lord has vanquished death, and that He has given us eternal life.

Be sure and read the introduction which tells about his life. (He lived in Serbia, through both World Wars, imprisonment by the Nazis, and the 1999 NATO bombings.)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

April Reading

Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy
Read for the second time, and knew I needed to read it a third time the moment I finished. Not because it's so hard to understand, but because it is so necessary. I don't usually like introductions, but Victor Watt's introduction was helpful. (Hopefully more on this book after another reading.)

What Matters in Jane Austen? Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved by John Mullan
The title of this book looked promising and I was not disappointed. The author knows his way around Miss Austen's novels, and pointed things out that I had missed. I enjoyed the whole book, but my two favorite chapters are, "What Do the Characters Call Each Other?" and "What Do Characters Read?"

The Luck of the Bodkins by P. G. Wodehouse
With characters named Monty Bodkin, Gertrude Butterwick, Miss Lotus Blossom, and Ikey Llewellyn how could one go wrong? Mr Wodehouse never disappoints and this was no exception. See my favorite quotes from the book HERE.

The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise
I wanted to re-read this before homeschooling next school year. It has many resources that I have found helpful.

What are you reading?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

laundry closet project

I can't really call this my laundry "room" because it's just a closet. But if monsters live in closets this closet had one. You need a "before" picture to really appreciate how it looks now (oh, well). I purchased the baskets at the Dollar Tree for a buck each and put in the top shelf you see there and some hooks for hanging. Overall, I'm pretty pleased. Laundry doesn't scare me anymore.

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Quotes from 'The Luck of the Bodkins'

These are random quotes taken from P. G. Wodehouse's The Luck of the Bodkins.

Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French. One of the things which Gertrude Butterwick had impressed upon Monty Bodkin when he left for this holiday on the Riviera was that he must be sure to practice his French, and Gertrude's word was law.

He did not like her father, considering him, indeed, a pig-headed old bohunkus, but there are times when it is politic to sink one's personal prejudices.

Ambrose Tennyson, the novelist, was there, asking the bookstall clerk if he had anything by Ambrose Tennyson.

An undertaker, passing at the moment would have looked at this young man sharply, scenting business. So would a buzzard. It would have seemed incredible to them that life still animated this limp frame. The Drones Club had given Reggie Tennyson a farewell party on the previous night, and the effects still lingered.

The place [Hollywood] is simply congested with people trying to break in. Authors especially. They starve in their thousands.They're dying off like flies all the time. This girl said that if you make a noise like a mutton chop anywhere within a radius of ten miles of Hollywood Boulevard, authors come bounding out of every nook and cranny, howling like wolves.

You can say "Oh, Reggie, for goodness' sake!" till you burst your corsets, but you won't get away from the fact that you are a foolish young pipsqueak and are making the floater of a lifetime.

He had earmarked the next hour and a half for silent communion with his tortured soul, and did not relish the prospect of having to talk to even an old friend.

In his heart, he had always hoped that the other's sciatica would not yield to treatment.

"Sounds like something out of a three-volume novel."

"She wouldn't see me. I rang her up on the telephone, and drew nothing but a butler with adenoids."

Mr Llewellyn's physique was such as to make it impossible for him, whatever the provocation, to turn like a flash, but he turned as much like a flash as was in the power of a man whose waistline had disappeared in the year 1912.

'I don't want to talk to you.'
Monty laughed like a squeaking slate pencil.
'Don't you worry. I'll do all the bally talking that's required.'

The stoutest-hearted girl is apt to quail when she finds herself confronted by the authentic cave-man.

He had a round, moon-like face, in which were set, like currents in a suet dumpling, two small brown eyes. And these eyes caused Monty, as he met them, to experience a slight diminution of the effervescing cheerfulness which he had brought with him to the room.

Besides, he felt, for the Bodkins, though amiability itself if you met them half-way, had their pride, what the hell?

He broke off, coughing. In order to give verisimilitude to his story, he had uttered the last nine words in a sardonic falsetto, and this had tried his vocal cords.

...it was her hair that caused the eye of the beholder to swivel in its socket and his breath to come in irregular pants...a vivid and soul-shattering red.

He's as jealous as billy-o. Smear a bit of burnt cork on him, and he could step right onto any stage and play Othello without rehearsal.

That things were looking a trifle glutinous, he could not deny.

Red hair and meekness are two things which seldom go together, and Lottie Blossom specialized in the former.

It beamed up at him with a wide-smiling cheerfulness which in the circumstances he found tasteless and intolerable.

Ambrose's ebullient gaiety was affecting him like some sort of skin complaint, causing him to tingle all over.

Albert Peasemarch had been resting easily against the door with one large red ear in close juxtaposition to the woodwork, absorbed in the drama within.

[On the ship] there was a long line of semi-conscious figures in chairs, swathed in rugs and looking like fish laid out on a slab, and before their glassy gaze the athletes paraded up and down, rejoicing in their virility, shouting to one another 'What a morning!' and pointing out that twice more round would make a mile.

'He's a darned ivory-domed, pig-headed son of an army mule!'

With the air of a female member of the Committee of Public Safety signing during the Reign of Terror, she did so.

She looked at him in a bewildered way, like an awakened somnambulist.

His was not an extensive vocabulary, and he found it impossible to think of anything which would really do justice to his feelings... Shakespeare might have managed it. So might Rabelais. Monty could not.

A look of anxiety came into Gertrude's shining eyes. In the dreams she had dreamed of this lovers' meeting she had not budgeted for a rigid Monty, a smileless Monty, a Monty who looked as though he had been stuffed by some good taxidermist.

For some twenty minutes he sat thus, then suddenly he shot up like a young, Hindu fakir with a sensitive skin making acquaintance with his first bed of spikes.

Had he been a Cro-Magnon Man, he would have been confined to expressing himself by means of painting paleolithic bisons on the wall of a cave, and everybody knows how unsatisfactory that is. Living in the twentieth century, he had pencils, envelopes and paper at his disposal, and he intended to make use of them.

There was a still longer interval this time, but eventually a sound of puffing heralded Albert Peasemarch's return.

Nobody who had studied the works of the poet Scott at school could fail to be aware that in such circumstances a woman's duty was clear.

His spine had begun to crawl about under his dinner-jacket like a snake.

'Step out of the frame, Mona Lisa,' said Reggie briskly. 'I want a couple of words with you.'

Mr Llewellyn left his chair and begun to strut up and down the room, satisfaction in every ripple of his chins.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Samurai Jack

"They call me Jack."

If you've followed this blog at all, you've probably picked up on the fact that I am suspect of all things modern, especially those that are directed at children. Keep this in mind when I tell you that the cartoon Samurai Jack is one of the greatest cartoons of all time.

Yes, you heard me correctly, something that appeared on Cartoon Network is actually worth watching. Samurai Jack only ran 4 seasons (52 episodes), so there's not so much that it will take too terribly long to get caught up. This cartoon will most likely be enjoyed by all who can really go in for an old fashioned hero with a magic sword.

Jack fights Aku.
Jack is sent to the future by the evil shape shifter, Aku. Jack is continually trying to "get back to the past to undo the future which is Aku." (Aku is evil, but not super scary.) On Jack's quest to restore "truth and righteousness" he meets some interesting characters, including talking dogs, a red-headed Scotsman (with a machine gun peg leg, bagpipes, and a sword with ancient runes), and Aku himself (in the shape of someone else- beware of trickery!).

When Aku destroyed his village when he was just a boy, making his parents slaves, Jack is left with nothing: no home, no parents or friends. Throughout, Jack is the picture of nobility and honor, caring more about those who are cast down or oppressed by Aku, than his greatest personal desire: getting back to the past. In one episode, he is mere moments away from the time portal that will fulfill his wish of traveling back to the past to undo the evil, but those who have helped him thus far are fighting to the death with the drones of Aku. They tell him go ahead, he has time to make it! But, of course, he doesn't. He saves their bacon, and in the process, gives up his chance.
Young Jack with his father.

One of my favorite episodes is a flashback to Jack's boyhood. The scene is some bullies, they take his ball, he's sad, and his father tells him,
Dry your tears my son, for nothing worth having is easily attained. Sometimes you must fight for what is yours and for what you believe in.
Jack is non-confrontational and is able to get the ball back using his cleverness, but his father's words ring true in every episode.

Samurai Jack and the Scotsman.

This cartoon was my eldest daughter's favorite when she was younger, and she actually dressed up as "a Lady Samurai Jack" for a fall costume party when all the other girls came as Disney princesses. I couldn't have been prouder! My son was also obsessed for a while, brandishing a sword and wearing flip-flops whenever he could. I guess it's time to introduce my youngest daughter to this quiet, dark haired man.

Jack tells one adversary,
[You have] trained to use the darkness of the shadow. I know your art as well, but I have been trained to use the light.

Unlike most cartoons, this one inspires heroism and the desire to do good to others. Is this an exaggeration?  I'd say not.

You may also like:
Robin of Sherwood
Sticks in my craw... (Boss)
The little prince and the fox

Friday, April 12, 2013

dark eyes

Over at Classical Quest she mentions having a Friday Quote. Sounds fun to me! Here's a favorite (one she had too!).
Mr. Darcy had at first scarcely allowed [Elizabeth] to be pretty; he had looked at her without admiration at the ball; and when they next met, he looked at her only to criticize. But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she had hardly a good feature in her face than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes. To this discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying. Though he had detected with a critical eye more than one failure of perfect symmetry in her form, he was forced to acknowledge her figure to be light and pleasing; and in spite of his asserting that her manners were not those of the fashionable world, he was caught by their easy playfulness. Of this she was perfectly unaware; -- to her he was only the man who made himself agreeable nowhere, and who had not thought her handsome enough to dance with.
~ Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

library art

On a quest to find the perfect artwork for my children's school library (small classical school and tiny library), I came across several zingers. This one is probably my favorite because despite my best efforts I still have a crush on Shakespeare.

And isn't this just so incredibly fun?! And I think, "I could make that!...but not right now."

I can't amen this enough!
That John Keats was a true genius. I tell ya.

The next one brings my high school history teacher to mind because he always said it, and all that knew him knew he felt this way in his heart of hearts.

The next one is so true. Some of my very favorite people are dead. Wait...was that socially awkward?

Wish I could beat this into the young school children's heads.

But this is the one I ended up going with because it's just so fun, it's not just a quote but a colorful illustration too, it sort of reminds me of our house, and I found it for sale at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, I had to take the latter into consideration.
Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them! How I need them! I'll have a long beard by the time I read them. 
~ Arnold Lobel

My thoughts exactly, Mr Lobel... well, except for the bit about the beard.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Life is the journey.

Long, Long Journey

City lights shine on the harbour,
night has fallen down,
through the darkness
and the shadow
I will still go on.

Long, long journey
through the darkness,
long, long way to go;
but what are miles
across the ocean
to the heart that's coming home?

Where the road
runs through the valley,
where the river flows,
I will follow every highway
to the place I know.

Long, long journey
through the darkness,
long, long way to go;
but what are miles
across the ocean
to the heart that's coming home?

Long, long journey
out of nowhere,
long, long way to go;
but what are sighs
and what is sadness
to the heart that's coming home?


Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Sacrament of the Present Moment

Book review time! This is the book you need to read to start the new year.  It's very understandable, easy to read, and is about 100 pages. (I now rate the shortness of a book as a quality not to be underestimated.) The Sacrament of the Present Moment (also translated as Abandonment to Divine Providence) written by a French Jesuit priest, Jean-Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751), is a compilation of notes that Caussade wrote to the Nuns of the Visitation of whom he was the spiritual director. When reading this type of book I read slowly, trying to soak it in. There were times when I just put the book down because my mind and heart were full and I needed to meditate on what I'd read before going on. That's a sign of a good book!

Along with some of my other ideas, my view of time was challenged for within the pages of this short book we are reminded that the Scriptures are still being written, that God is working in every moment, and that we ought to have no concern but for the present moment.

To find contentment in the present moment is to relish and adore the divine will in the succession of all the things to be done and suffered which make up the duty of the present moment. p64

If what God has ordained especially for us does not satisfy us, where else shall we turn? If we do not relish what the Holy Spirit prepares for us, what food would not be tasteless to so depraved a palate? Our souls can only be truly nourished, strengthened, enriched and sanctified by the bounty of the present moment. p81

Is not all time a succession of the consequences of that divine action which pervades and fills and transfigures everything? p70

...time is but the history of divine action! p100

Caussade reminds us that we have nothing to fear, to fret over, to regret. All that is required is faith. There is a potent reminder of C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces in this book as Caussade discusses faith and fear, especially Lewis' Die before you die. There's no chance after.

The Love of God, submission to his divine action; that is what is necessary to sanctify souls, that is all that is required of them; and their faithfulness in responding to it is what gives them grace. p25

The more confused their situation, the better the charm works and the heart says, 'All will be well!' All is in God's hands, there is nothing to fear. Fear itself, suspense, desolation, are verses in the hymns of the night. We rejoice in not omitting a single syllable, for we know they all end in 'Glory be to God!' Thus we find our way by losing it. p95

Psyche was brought to mind as I read,  

Everything in the present moment tends to draw us away from the path of love and passive obedience. It requires heroic courage and self-surrender to hold firmly to a simple faith and to keep singing the same tune confidently while grace itself seems to be singing a different one in another key, giving us the impression that we have been misled and are lost. But if only we have the courage to let the thunder, lightning and storm rage, and to walk unfaltering in the path of love and obedience to the duty and demands of the present moment, we are emulating Jesus himself. p53

Faith is the light of time, it alone recognizes truth without seeing it, touches what it cannot feel, looks upon the world as though it did not exist, sees what is not apparent. p103

Orual was also in my thoughts as the contrast between her and Psyche is so stark.

How is it that, being continually reminded that everything that happens in the world is but a shadow, an image, the mystery of faith, we persist in relying only on our human faculties, and continue to interpret the merely temporal aspect of the unanswerable enigma of our existence? p102

Lewis' story is so powerful because it reminds us of the fantastical tale that God is writing. A tale mysterious, strange, unpredictable in which we are the characters. God loves mystery, our only option is to trust Him completely. Caussade says

 All are the subject of mystical tales far more beautiful and amazing than any invented by the crude imagination of mortal men... The terrifying objects put in our way are nothing. They are only summoned in order to embellish our lives with glorious adventures. p24

What perfection comes from this mysterious influence whose subject and instrument we are, and of whose existence we are not even conscious so much it does it seems to be part of what we do of our own accord!...Never knowing what is urging them on, the most divine impulses trouble them. Despising all they do, they admire what is done by others and feel themselves to be far inferior. To rely on their own efforts to overcome these apparent faults is futile, for they are God's admirable plan to force them to depend entirely on his help. p40

Follow your path without a map, not knowing the way, and all with be revealed to you. Seek only God's kingdom and his justice through love and obedience, and all will be granted to you....Remain at peace, united to God in love, and continue blindly along the straight and narrow path of duty. The angels are beside you in this dark night, their arms around you. Should God require more of you he will make it known. p57

In Jane Austen's Persuasion Anne's friend, Mrs Smith is described thus, A submissive spirit might be patient, a strong understanding would supply resolution, but here was something more, here was that elasticity of mind, that disposition to be comforted, that power of turning readily from evil to good, and of finding employment which carried her out of herself, which was from nature alone. This description has been a goal for me and Caussade's book takes the idea and expands it in an accessible way.

The first duty required of souls is self-discipline; the second is self-surrender and complete passivity; the third requires great humility, a humble and willing disposition and a readiness to follow the movement of grace which motivates everything if they simply respond willingly to all its guidance. p59

Do what you are doing, suffer what you are suffering, only your heart need be changed. It will cost you nothing, for this change only consists in desiring everything that God ordains. Yes, holiness is a will disposed to conform to God's. And what can be easier? Since who can resist adoring a will so loving and so good? This love alone makes everything divine. p61

In fact, he believes ...there is nothing easier, more ordinary, more available to all than saintliness. p6

HERE is the link to the book. If you find New Year's resolutions unattractive, then consider a "present moment" resolution to Let God's will be done; obey him in everything, each one according to his capacity. Nothing is easier in the spiritual life, nothing more available to all. p100