a practice in being enthusiastic


Winter decided to come early and today's first flurries were only made pleasant by morning coffee with my aunt. This year's fall break has been a mixture of gaga ball at a youth retreat, a day of city-exploring and Saint Clement, followed by grad school applications and general post-graduation stress. My aunt reminded me to take pleasure in this time. It is rare, after all, to be able to study what I love.

And I do love it. I forget that too easily, or rather, don't allow myself to love what I love. Passion has too often seemed narcissistic, but I'm coming to think that isn't entirely true, or true at all. I don't always know best how to combat this tendency of mine (increasing my use of exclamation points seemed like a bad idea), but here are some things I have loved recently:

These words from Tina Beattie: "For Tertullian, as for other patristic writers, if Christ is to be fully human he must have a human mother. The incarnation refutes those who would present self-actualization as an ascent from the body to the soul, from the material to the immaterial, from the sensible to the transcendental, from the mother's body to the father's word. The human flesh that unites Christ with Mary is as intrinsic to his identity as the divinity that unites him with God, for without her there can be no true salvation of the flesh." (Boss and Suarez would totally agree, as would I.)

These words from Paul Ricoeur: "If it is true that poetry gives no information in terms of empirical knowledge, it may change our way of looking at things, a change which is no less real than empirical knowledge. What is changed by poetic language is our way of dwelling in the world." (yesyesyes)

These books: Theopolitical Imagination, Iconostasis, A Pentecost of Finches, The Visual and the Visionary.

These artists: Deborah Schwartzkopf and Alfonse Borysewicz.

These words: alight, aureole, putative, and iridescent. (Just say them.)

This article on Sarah Coakley and vulnerability and desire. All of it. Every last bit of it. YES & YES & YES. I want (especially) every woman to read this. I was going to quote from it, but I couldn't decide what to quote because all of it is equally important and necessary and what I need to hear.

These things: dead black poppies like giant poppyseeds in a wilting flowerbed, rye bread and pumpkin butter, vintage 1930s kitchen sinks, this apse of The Tree of Life, a shut door and a quiet room and orange walls, northern California, and maps and floorplans and really anything that is spatial and minimal and full of light.

I love and love and love all these things.

[Beekeeper Altarpiece, Alfonse Borysewicz]

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