I have a Malcolm update for you, and it’s awesome: This family has committed to adopt him! The money you have donated will help them in this process, so THANK YOU for your generosity. You can see a breakdown here of the overwhelming financial burden they still face, so please keep them in your prayers, and, if you feel moved, drop them a few buck through their PayPal button on their sidebar. Again: Thank you, thank you, thank you.
When I wrote about fasting from artificial light in the Register a while back, I got a ton of interesting responses. One of my favorites was from a dad who told me about this family tradition that they’ve been doing for 30 years:
We turn off the light when we leave for Holy Thursday Mass and don’t turn them on again until we return from the Saturday Easter Vigil at around midnight on Saturday.
We got the idea when our parish turned off the lights and had us exit in silence on Holy Thursday. And we entered at the Easter Vigil in darkness which continued until the Gloria. And, of course, Good Friday services were held during the daytime so lighting was not a main focus. So we got the idea to practically “live” this period when Jesus the “light of the world” was taken away from us.
I think we might try this this year. Anyone else going to give it a shot?
So, uhh, yeah. Holy Week next week. Wow. As I’ve mentioned, this hasn’t been the most powerful Lent I’ve ever experienced. I set the bar embarrassingly low in terms of the sacrifices I would make and the practices I would undertake…and still managed not to hit it. But! The good news is that it’s never too late to let God transform you. Besides, there’s still Holy Week! I’m hoping to set everything else aside and just focus on the Lord next Thursday and Friday. If you could say a prayer for that intention (i.e. that “focusing on the Lord” doesn’t turn into “focusing on the Lord…after I check email, and, hey, look at all this funny stuff on Twitter!”) I’d appreciate it.
Lately I’ve been oddly intrigued by a medieval devotion called The Fifteen Oes, a.k.a. the Fifteen Prayers of St. Bridget. The story I heard (which I am not sure is correct) is that St. Bridget was praying about our Lord’s passion, and she was told in a vision that he received 5,475 injuries to his body. The idea behind the 15 Oes is that if you pray them daily for a year, you’ll have honored every one of the wounds of Christ (15 x 365 = 5,475).
Again, I don’t know if that story is accurate. However, I love the prayers, in that each time you go through them you meditate on 15 different aspects of Christ’s sufferings. I’ve read comments from around the internet from folks who said that they found it to be powerful to commit to praying the 15 Oes every day for a certain length of time, even if it wasn’t for a whole year. I think I may include this in my Holy Week devotions.
A while back I went through a long phase of reading nonfiction adventure stories (a la Over the Edge of the World and Skeletons in the Zahara), and that got me interesting in the subject of castaways. You would not believe all the crazy castaway stories that are out there! Here’s a fascinating article about wayward ships drifting from Japan to the U.S. back in the 19th Century, and here is a Wikipedia roundup of famous castaway stories. This one is one of my favorites:
In June 1722, [Philip] Ashton was captured by pirates while fishing near the coast of Nova Scotia…He managed to escape in March 1723 when the pirates landed at Roatán Island in the Bay Islands of Honduras, hiding in the jungle until the pirates decided to depart without him. He survived for 16 months, in spite of many insects, tropical heat and alligators. In the beginning he seems to have eaten only fruit, because he only had his hands to collect food; he could not kill any animal. He had no equipment at all until he met another castaway, an Englishman. A few days later the Englishman “went out but he never returned.” The Englishman left behind a knife, gunpowder, tobacco and more. Ashton could now kill tortoises and crayfish and make fires to have hot meals. Ashton was finally rescued by the Diamond, a ship from Salem, Massachusetts.
Whoa, whoa, WHOA. Wait. While he was a castaway in what was then remote jungles at the edge of the civilized world…he happened to run into another Englishman?! How crazy is that? How did the other Englishman get there? How did they begin that conversation when they first ran into each other? I’m going to need someone to please write a compelling historical nonfiction epic about this. Thanks.
Tomorrow (Saturday, March 31) I’m speaking in Houston at a women’s retreat for St. Cecilia parish. I’m going to be talking about how how fear prevents us from living our lives to the fullest — a subject with which I have plenty of personal experience. Can’t wait!
Simcha recently posted her favorite songs for Lent. I’m not educated enough to have multiple suggestions; after about two I’d start digging into power ballads from the 1980s. But I will say that no Lent is complete without listening to Dum Transisset Sabbatum, sung by the Tallis Scholars, at least once.
Apologies to Beth Anne, Jen, Priest’s Wife, Genny, Ann-Marie, Barbara, Katie, Kaylene, Ana, and Blair, who were the first 10 to link up but whose links got deleted due to a technical glitch. Sorry about that!