Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

December 28, 2009

A Child in Winter, by Caryll Houselander

Only LOVE is incarnate. Goodness is natural because the Divine Child, who submitted himself to the law of his Father's love, has made it so. Christ subjected himself to the law of the seed in the earth, to the law of rest and growth. he was "one of the children of the year," growing through rest, secret in his mother's womb, receiving the warmth of the sun through her, living the life of dependence, helplessness, littleness, darkness, and silence which, by a mystery of the Eternal Law, is the life of natural growth.

Hi life in the womb was measured, like those of all the other children of the year, by a certain destined number of cycles of darkness and light, by the rising and setting of the sun so many times, by the rise and ebb of so many tides, by a certain counted number of beats of his mother's heart.

Who can think of the mystery of the snowflake, its loveliness, both secret and manifest, its gentleness, the moving lightness of its touch, the humility of its coming, and not think of the birth of the Infant Christ?
--From A Child in Winter: Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany with Caryll Houselander

Do you ladies know of the great 20th century English mystic Caryll Houselander? You should. Her work is stunning, powerful, and I'd gladly say, some of the most important spiritual writing of the 20th century (yet few people know her). My mother always had a long line of her books, but I only recently cracked open A Child in Winter, a beautifully edited collection of meditations for Advent, Christmas, and the feasts within the octave of Christmas. Accessible yet profound, modern and timeless, I highly recommend her writings. (The meditation above was taken from her Christmas Morning meditation. Below is her meditation for todays feast of the Holy Innocents, one of my favorite of the year.)

Baptized in blood, those little children were among the first comers to heaven. Fittingly they, with their tinyKing, are the founders of the Kingdom of Children. We celebrate their feast with joy; it is the most lyrical in the year. They reach down their small hands of to comfort every father or mother bereaver of a child. They are the first who have proved that the Passion of Christ can be lived in a tiny span by little ones...The tears that dried on their faces two thousand years ago in Jerusalem had the redeeming power of Christ's tears today. Each one of those infants is the first Christ Child of the Incarnation, the first of the first generation to call the Mother of God blessed.

1 comment:

Julian said...

I studied mysticism in graduate school and had NO idea about her. Maybe because she is British :)

I can't wait to get a hold of her writings. Today's feast is incredibly powerful, and I love idea of living the Passion in such a tiny life span. Thank you, Agatha!

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