One of the pleasures of lockdown is the opportunity to play family board games. We dug out a very old box containing the Catholic Family Bible Game, which contained questions like the following:
According to Proverbs, “The glory of young men is their strength, and the dignity of old men is _________________.” (a) weakness (b) grey hair (c) experienceContinue reading “The dignity of old men”
G K Chesterton’s The Ballad of the White Horse is a poem about King Alfred. Alfred the Great. But the ballad begins when Alfred is at his lowest ebb. Having been defeated by the Vikings, he wanders alone.Continue reading “Naught for Your Comfort”
A few days ago I wrote about why we might want to create nature journals. Today I’m going to share a few thoughts about what could be included in those journals.Continue reading “Creating a nature journal”
I wrote about nature journalling the other day, but how is that possible if you are confined to the house? The great, but horribly neglected, poet, Norman Nicholson has an answer for us because he was confined to his room in Millom after being struck down with tuberculosis. Lying there on the edge of the Lake District, he had no access to the lakes or fells, but was forced to observe from inside.Continue reading “Poetry, nature and freedom”
“Contemplated in the episodes of the Gospels and in the reality which she already possesses in the City of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary offers a calm vision and a reassuring word to modern man, torn as he often is between anguish and hope, defeated by the sense of his own limitations and assailed by limitless aspirations, troubled in his mind and divided in his heart, uncertain before the riddle of death, oppressed by loneliness while yearning for fellowship, a prey to boredom and disgust. She shows forth the victory of hope over anguish, of fellowship over solitude, of peace over anxiety, of joy and beauty over boredom and disgust, of eternal visions over earthly ones, of life over death.”
Apostolic Exhortation of Pope St Paul VI, Marialis Cultus
Every Easter, I am amazed by the sheer beauty of the Exultet, the great hymn of praise that is proclaimed at the start of the Easter Vigil. What wonderful poetry it is:Continue reading “The Exultet and bees”
When we talk about books, we tend to mean printed books, but there is more to literature than what has been published.Continue reading “A Nature Journal”
Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. – Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.
Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is the most enjoyable children’s book I have read in a long time. It is surely destined to become a 21st century Classic.
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
In this meeting of our virtual book club, I look at the moment in Hilda van Stockum’s The Mitchells: Five for Victory when Miss Merryvale, the lodger, arrives and chaos ensues:
Honestly, it’s cheerier than the title makes it sound. Here’s my article for Catholic World Report on St Eanswythe and the Plague, with quite a lot of the Venerable Bede thrown in for free.
And here’s an earlier article I wrote for UnHerd: ‘Who needs schools anyway? What homeschooling taught me – and my kids‘. I should point out that I didn’t write the headline!
Here’s a recent article I wrote for UnHerd on ‘The secrets of successful home teaching‘.
I have been writing quite a few articles in the last few days and weeks, so I thought it would be a good idea to post links to them here. First up is my article for The Catholic Herald on ‘Making the most of isolation: How to strike a balance in homeschooling‘.
By yonde ys a wyldernys of quarentyne,
Wher Cryst wyth fastyng hys body dyd pyne;
In that holy place, as we rede,
The deuyl wold had of stonys bred;
Aboue that wyldernys ryght fer and hy
The fende to Cryst schewyd regna mundi,
And sayde, ‘Yf thow wylt me worschyp do
Al these shalt thou haue thy lordschyp to.’
Why? To find out more have a look at my novel, Between Darkness and Light.
My latest article for UnHerd on ‘The secrets of successful home teaching’ is now available: https://unherd.com/2020/03/how-to-survive-as-a-home-teacher/ . I hope it helps.
Now that we have lots of time to read, I am pleased to introduce a new reading group that focuses on children’s books. In this first episode I introduce the group and our first book – Hilda van Stockum’s The Mitchells: Five for Victory.