Friday, January 20, 2017

Travel Reading: Madonna House Part 2

The last four months or so, I've been at a farming community in the middle of nowhere (if anything can be called "the middle of nowhere", rural Canada can), with no electronics. It is far too difficult to write up proper reviews in these circumstances, so I'm continuing the Travel Reading series, where I simply write a couple sentences about each book read, and leave it at that. Here goes the second set of three:

"Discovering the Feminine Genius" by Katrina J. Zeno
Grade: 2 1/2 stars
It was a little simplistic for where I'm at right now--or perhaps it's complex enough but just made for a different sort of person? Despite the fact that she and I have a fairly similar background in some ways (Catholic upbringing, down to the playing spoons till midnight). Most of the book didn't seem to relate to me or be that helpful. Yet... a few key points in it were the starting off points for some major growth these last few months, so I can't help but recommend it.

"Wild Seed" by Octavia Butler
Grade: 4 stars
A fairly different feel to this book than what I'm used to. Quite intensely personal for a speculative fiction book, without being overly emotional or having that "literary fiction" style that isn't my thing. Don't really know what else to say about this book, but it was good stuff. Hopefully I'll get to more Butler soon.

"Spiritual Formation" by Henri Nouwen
Grade: 4 1/2 stars
This book helped me a lot. Nouwen has such insight into the human journey. Also there are some cool new ideas to try for me, like "Visual Divinia". I just wish I'd gotten around to studying my notes (found below) properly when the book was still in my possession and fresh in my mind...

"Fortress in the Eye of Time" by C. J. Cherryh
Grade: 3 1/2 stars
Entertaining and atmospheric with some great relationships of all sorts. The central friendship was my favourite (Tristen and Cefwyn), but there was a small element of romance that was really great too (Cefwyn and .... I forget her name). The Tristen & Mauryl and Cefwyn & Idrys (Master Crow!) relationships were also great. The main issue is that it wasn't quite gripping enough to make me seek out the sequels immediately, and I'm going to forget the myriad names and world-building details that are necessary to understand even a little bit of what's going on. Cherryh is not someone who explains things unnecessarily--one of my favourite things about her, but still, it's going to make this difficult...

"The Psalms Are Our Prayers" by Albert Gelin
Grade: 3 stars
If I hadn't read The Case for the Psalms by N. T. Wright earlier in the year and loved it, I might have been more impressed by this. As it was, it was good but not particularly new or striking. I also found the style a bit disconcerting--perhaps it was the translation? My spiritual director recommended this book and this author, though, so I'd like to try another book by him at some point.

(There are some personal notes below this break. Feel free to skip them; they are pretty unintelligible anyway.)

I took tons of notes while reading these books, but I don't have the time or inclination to make them legible or organize them into a longer review. But I still want to remember them without keeping my note paper forever, so I'm writing them down here. They are pretty much just for me, so it would probably be best to ignore this section completely. It hardly makes sense to me anymore, let alone you.

Discovering the Feminine Genius:
  • pg. 20: not "waiting for man", since scared of marriage, but waiting for purpose? adventure? but also actively trying to find it
  • pg. 37: pray to be willing--YES!
  • pg. 38: ok, actually like definition of spiritual motherhood here
  • pg. 45: ok, but doesn't this mean a woman will automatically use her gift if she is holy? So what does that mean for me? Do I have to think about it or not?
  • pg. 51: Satan is targetting my body, but with food and laziness--i.e. getting fit is meaningful spiritually! (see Houselander's spiritual recommendations) But I'm not totally sure my desire to be fit is ordered... maybe thus broken ankles?
  • pg. 55: "created for emotionally intimate friendships" else shrivel. Yeah... though retreat, not soak up male attention, in fact dislike male attention often cause it's not the intimacy I'm looking for.
  • pg. 60: But where is the line between needing things for health?
  • pg. 61: "head in a jar"
  • pg. 65: Don't have most problems but DO just "tolerate"
  • pg. 79: "running on empty", "emotional interior is dry"--realizing how important this IS to me
  • pg. 80: need conversation in order to "be a reservoir"
  • pg. 81: be creative about finding ways to replenish
  • pg. 82: checklist is good day mentality
  • pg. 84: Saint Symeon
  • pg. 91: broken heart stuff like me after JP; it was good, but excruciating
  • pg. 93: yeah, JP opened a need to belong in me too, although I"m not entirely sure it was actually present before; but... "I belong to Christ" isn't tangible, and I don't understand it...
  • pg. 96: pain had warmth
  • pg. 99: detachment + freedom + new things!!
  • pg. 100: "God always acts for the purpose of union". Hmmmmm, not sure if this is helpful to me.
  • pg. 111: JP II's Dies Domini (on keeping the Lord's Day holy), other suggestions in #8
  • pg. 122: men retreating like Adam retreating!
  • pg. 127: men fulfilled in sacrifice (priestly)
  • pg. 147: Hamlet might be cool as a woman, though; different does not mean inappropriate
  • pg. 153: "without mission depressed"--yes! me.

Spiritual Formation
  • (Pg. xxi-ii: lectio divinia, silence, community, service)
  • Pg. xxii: mood of resignation
  • Pg. xxv: Silence yes, but what about Word?
  • Pg. xxviii: COMMUNITY--silence too
  • Pg. 26: s/prayer, we forget God is present, PRAYER IMPORTANT
  • Pg. 28: persistent desire and daily practice
  • Pg. 30-2: prayer pointers: first silence (w/friend!); focus mind on scripture (don't analyze :( ); take little bit, repeat 10 mins; "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of David, have mercy on me a sinner"; feel free to be public, tell people this time is set aside
  • "Sorrow": have hardly experienced any; past boyfriend experience only thing I can think of where I experienced all this
  • Pg. 42: top: "I will not say 'Do not weep' ..."; "right in the middle of that"
  • Pg. 43: rely on Jesus not stoicism
  • Pg. 54: keep record of for sorrow->joy in future; GREAT!
  • "Resentment" Pg. 59: "frustration...emotion" but can't totally! want to be grateful...
  • Pg. 60: also want to help other a lot especially if as common as suggested
  • Pg. 61: "sham of Eucharist without thanksgiving"
  • Pg. 63: "more in touch need healing" bad :(
  • Pg. 63 continued: "True liberation ... prevented giving gifts" individualism! :)
  • Pg. 64: my gift is receiving
  • Pg. 66: interruptions are God's hand "Inconvenience/Adventure"; inner voice of love quote good
  • Pg. 67: All Is Grace
  • "Fear" Pg. 74-5: Yes! pervasive, individually + communally, not always aware of it, subtle
  • Pg. 76: Northern fear vs. Southern suffering (knew, but not specifically cause of fear); "psychological compatibility" ...sigh... have fear here
  • This chapter is where I'm at now!
  • Pg. 79: "Moving..." totally, totally me
  • (Pg. 81: will struggle, but every time open yourself to God's presence)
  • Pg. 82: fascinating view on reform, focusing on peace (83 New Jerusalem)
  • Whole chapter GREAT, came just after I realized this whole thing already
  • "Exclusion" Pg. 90: Giving anyway rule against judging; also, may still have same effect! people feel good about people like that; also, mostly our pride, not wanting to have people thing "that fool..." (i.e. it's FEAR)
  • Pg. 93: I'm getting there... (Marianne would like)
  • Pg. 96: "To be intimate with God I need to come home to my body, where God is pleased to dwell." Validation of desire to lose weight or the opposite?
  • "Denying Death" Pg. 107: people think befriending death means it'll come sooner, that we're giving up the fight
  • Strongly relate to chapter on Fear, the feeling I get when befriending death is much like that of removing smaller fears, and fears of the future
  • Pg. 110: "In you, God is well pleased"
  • (Pg. 112-3: little child)
  • (Pg. 114-5: interesting experience w/people's desire for the Communion of Saints)
  • Pg 116: great prayer

The Psalms Are Our Prayers:
  • pg. 14: paradoxes (antimonies)
  • pg. 16: Ps 38:10 exactly what I feel!
  • pg. 18: psalmist Pharisee-in, but has something to tell us "They have faith, they stake everything on Yahweh"
  • pg. 24: some of his phrasing confuses me... "It's praying"....
  • pg. 25: "see" in Bible means relationship of proximity
  • pg. 26: Ps. 27 has mountains shouting, my favourite
  • pg. 28-9: history lives through worship (liturgy) is "re-actualized"
  • pg. 39: Faith: "obscure certitude, trust, security, and self-abandonment", interconectedness between Faith and Hope
  • pg. 40: to find God, don't need "escape" (I was thinking Eastern religions), God invades
  • pg. 41: psalms of interior life, soul alone with God, NOT the most numerous
  • pg. 43-4: fascinating parallel between fortellings of Messianic era bliss, and Christ's temptations in the desert
  • pg. 53: Paul urges pray with Christ, not to Christ
  • Ps. 15: against idolatry
  • Ps. 23: for pilgrims
  • Ps. 28: revelation of God through storm
  • Ps. 50: penitential in exile (and rich!)
  • Ps. 72: overcomes intellectual (emotional?) distress
  • Ps. 73: hope is purified of imperfections (false hopes of victory, etc.), this psalm is reaction to this trail
  • Ps. 86: idea of Israel expanded
  • Ps. 94: for pilgrims; recreating history; renewal of focus toward goal and hope, not absorption in (?immediate?)
  • Ps. 97: sung at Passover
  • Ps. 106: sailors in exile
  • Ps. 109: God talks to the Messiah
  • Ps. 117: caravaneer in exile

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