Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's Christmas time

As we were saying the Family Rosary this evening, I was reflecting on the fact that my children will not be getting all the Christmas gifts that I would like to give them this year. And in fact the gifts we are giving are practical and essential. Warm socks, long underwear, books... you get the picture. And I thought to myself, what do my children have to be thankful for this Christmas? And then it came to me.


While we may not be a family of generous and easy means, while we may struggle and worry, while we may not have everything material advantage we try to be faithful.

To one another.

To the Church.

To our obligations in our state of life to the best of our ability.

To friendships and those struggling- with thanks or without.

And I hope that that will be enough.

Enough to give them happy childhood memories.

Enough to let them know that their father and I love them. And were faithful to one another and to them.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Nocturnal Upon St Lucy's Day, Being the Shortest Day

St Lucy's burial by Carravagio.

I will admit that my newest interest in John Donne can be traced to the book Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers and today's sermon about St. Lucy's day but anyway, having made those admissions: Enjoy:


by John Donne

'TIS the year's midnight, and it is the day's,
Lucy's, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks ;
The sun is spent, and now his flasks
Send forth light squibs, no constant rays ;
The world's whole sap is sunk ;
The general balm th' hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed's-feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr'd ; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compared with me, who am their epitaph.

Study me then, you who shall lovers be
At the next world, that is, at the next spring ;
For I am every dead thing,
In whom Love wrought new alchemy.
For his art did express
A quintessence even from nothingness,
From dull privations, and lean emptiness ;
He ruin'd me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death—things which are not.

All others, from all things, draw all that's good,
Life, soul, form, spirit, whence they being have ;
I, by Love's limbec, am the grave
Of all, that's nothing. Oft a flood
Have we two wept, and so
Drown'd the whole world, us two ; oft did we grow,
To be two chaoses, when we did show
Care to aught else ; and often absences
Withdrew our souls, and made us carcasses.

But I am by her death—which word wrongs her—
Of the first nothing the elixir grown ;
Were I a man, that I were one
I needs must know ; I should prefer,
If I were any beast,
Some ends, some means ; yea plants, yea stones detest,
And love ; all, all some properties invest.
If I an ordinary nothing were,
As shadow, a light, and body must be here.

But I am none ; nor will my sun renew.
You lovers, for whose sake the lesser sun
At this time to the Goat is run
To fetch new lust, and give it you,
Enjoy your summer all,
Since she enjoys her long night's festival.
Let me prepare towards her, and let me call
This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this
Both the year's and the day's deep midnight is.

Donne, John. Poems of John Donne. vol I.
E. K. Chambers, ed.
London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1896. 45-46.