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

April 23, 2010

For the Bookshelf: The Reed of God

I can't let this week go by without recommending The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander. Agatha has introduced us to her before, and I was so excited to begin it for my book club. I'm only two chapters in and I'm recommending it, so take that into consideration before buying it...but definitely get it from a library!

Houselander's reflection on the Blessed Mother is one of the most moving that I've read since True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis de Montfort. She almost says what has always been on my own tongue, but that which I was never able to say:

When I was a small child someone for whom I had a great respect told me never to do anything that Our Lady would not do; for, she said, if I did, the angels in heaven would blush. For a short time this advice "took" in me like an inoculation, causing a positive paralysis of piety. It was clear to me that all those things which spelt joy to me were from henceforward taboo -- blacking my face with burnt cork, turning somersaults between props against the garden wall -- all that was over! But even if I faced a blank future shackled with respectability, it was still impossible to imagine Our Lady doing anything that I would do, for the very simple reason that I could not imagine her doing anything at all.

...This would not be worth recording but for one thing, namely, that the wrong conception of Our Lady which I had is one that a great many other people have, too; that she is someone who would never do anything that we do...For many she is the Madonna of the Christmas card, immobile, seated forever in the immaculately clean stable of golden straw and shining snow. She is not real; nothing about her is real, not even the stable in which Love was born.

...Each saint has his special work: one person's work. But our Lady had to include in her vocation, in her life's work, the essential thing that was to be hidden in every other vocation, in every life. The one thing that she did and does is the one thing that we all have to do, namely, to bear Christ into the world.

1 comment:

VinoFino said...

This is a FABULOUS book. and so short! a very easy read that got me through some tough times. high recommendations from this one.

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