Sunday, December 29, 2013


Do you understand how blessed we are to have something so beautiful as starlight?  Besides the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, nothing in common experience so brings home to me the glory and grandeur of God as a starry sky.  Of course, you can see the stars as nothing special, if you're so disposed -- small white dots in a seemingly random pattern against an expanse of dark -- or, worse still, you might never look at them at all.  There is, however, something about these little white dots that never fails to entrance you, if you pay attention, even if you know nothing of the staggering science behind them.

Stars have always fascinated mankind, it seems.  We fashion them into constellations and weave them into stories, we name them, study them, watch them -- sometimes we even attach an unlawful power to them.  They inspire poetry and lend their beauty to prose and painting. They're sprinkled through music, from beginners' piano pieces to great compositions.  For heaven's sake, one of the first nursery songs a baby learns is about the beauty and mystery of a star!  Better yet, stars fill the psalms and prophecies of the Bible, praising God and illustrating His promises, leading the Eastern Kings to the newborn Christ in Bethlehem.  Stars seem to have always caught peoples' imaginations and inspired their creativity, and I think it's fascinating. 

I can see some now, actually, glimmering through the skylight.  Some are faint and far-off, but a few are burning bright, so near that it seems I must be able to catch one, if I climbed just a little way into the sky.  I'd pass above the housetops, above the treetops, to a high silver peak in some distant land, and then maybe, just maybe, I could stretch out my hand and close it over a star.  It would be hot and pulsing, terribly bright and whiter than diamonds and snow and winter sun at midday.  Or perhaps it would be frozen cold and hard, like all the brittle jewels of the earth combined, and more precious than even the most prized of them: a sky-jewel, fit for the crown of the Queen of Heaven and Star of the Sea.

How about it, then: will you go star-searching with me?

*all images via tumblr*

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christus Est Natus, Alleluia!

A very merry, bright and blessed Christmas season to all you dear people, and may God bless you abundantly!

Also, apologies for the lack of posts, but I am leaving in ten days and so, as you can probably imagine, blogging is kind of at the bottom of the list!

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Thing that is Happening

I cannot think how to write this post.  I should like to put what I have to say in a way fitting to its importance and general wonderfulness, but I'm at a loss as to how to do that, so I'll just say it out.

I'm going to the convent.

Yes, at long last, it seems to be happening for real.  I obtained permission from the Voice Of Reason and Prudence (my spiritual director, as you may remember from my last post on the subject) to enter the Sisters of St. Thomas Aquinas on January 6th, Feast of Epiphany and also my parents' wedding anniversary.  This past week has been full of sorting through the accumulation of things in my room, agonizing over who should get which of my beloved books, buying many white oxford blouses, among other things, and trying to process the fact that I am almost certainly going.  One stipulation which the aforementioned Voice made when granting me permission (he is so very brilliant, that Voice) was that I visit these two Sisters who do charity work in Boston first, so on Monday I will be making yet another plane flight to yet another part of the country to visit yet another group of Sisters.  I am very lucky.  I always loved traveling, and I have been able to do quite a lot of it in this past year!  It's a nice gesture from Our Lord, I think, to let me get in so much traveling before I am consecrated to Him and bound to stay, perhaps, in the same place for the rest of my life.  (Of course, I may do more traveling as a Sister than I ever have in the world -- God likes to have His little jokes like that, making me think I'm stationary for good and then moving me all over the place.  We shall see.)

This is the church, Our Lady of the Sun, seen from the side.
As I said, I am having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that I'm going.  I'm so excited, but at the same time I'm a bit bewildered.  I have gotten quite giddy over the whole thing multiple times since permission was given, but I fully realize how serious a thing it is that I am doing.  I have a shadowy idea that really I ought not to attempt to think through it too much.  I have thought and thought and thought for over a year now, and any more thinking is sure to be unhelpful. There comes a point, you know, when the time for thinking is over, and all that's left is to do. I ought simply to relinquish myself to God and just accept whatever He drops on me. 

It's rather unbelievable that I shall be "Sr. Victoria" in a little less than a month.  My mind does a double take when I see that spelled out, it seems so unreal.  But I cannot wait.  I'm looking forward to everything -- even wearing multiple layers under the Arizonian sun.  I can't wait to be anxious that my veil's on straight, that I'm following protocol correctly, that I'm doing well in my classes.  I can't wait for Arizona's strange and foreign appearance waiting for me each morning at 6:30,  for Daily Mass, the entire Rosary, obligatory silence, and the Divine Office.

This is one of the gates to the convent building, seen from the inside.  I love the gates and the ironwork because they make is seem so much more cloister-y.
I'm going to really regret this post if something happens out of the blue and I can't make it, let me tell you -- or if I end up being sent home!  Goodness me.  Please pray for me that everything goes according to God's plan and that I'm not too severe of a trial to my superiors!

Oh yes -- and I have heard from others that sometimes one must delete her social media accounts before entering a convent, so... I may end up having to delete Sunlight and Shadow.  I don't know yet, nobody's said anything, but just so you know.  It may happen.

Happy feast of St. Lucy, by the way!

Arizona as seen from the entrance to the convent.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Favorite Poetry/Meditation: "Mary"

Happy day-before-St. Nicholas Day!  :)  In my family, this is "Black Peter Day" - Black Peter is a little man dressed all in black who sort of heralds St. Nicholas by dropping little presents (which may or may not have been purchased from the dollar store a few days beforehand) in various people's paths the day before his feast.

But I am not here to talk about Black Peter or even dear old St. Nicholas, Puncher of Heretics.  (If you don't know that story, you're missing out, let me tell you.)  Today I am here to give you yet another poem and meditation.  I have this lovely meditation book by the Daughters of Mary which has many beautiful reflections in it, and I found one especially good one about Our Lady in it a couple of days ago while I was looking for something to push me into keeping Advent properly.  (If well begun is half done, I haven't even started yet.)  I'm not entirely sure that it could be called a poem, but it is formatted like one, so I shall.
It's particularly appropriate to think about Mary during Advent, when she carried Our Lord, and even more so since this Sunday marks one of her greatest feasts, the Immaculate Conception.
By the way, the author of this poem/meditation/thing, Archbishop Alban Goodier, was a wonderful writer of spiritual books, and I definitely recommend anything by him.

from The Life that is Light by Alban Goodier.

She had been foreshadowed by many,
Yet no one recognized her.
She was conceived immaculate,
And no one knew.
The Angel saluted her "Full of grace,"
And not a soul knew.
He told her the Lord was with her,
Told her she would be the Mother of God,
And not even Joseph knew.
To all she was just "a virgin espoused to a man,"
And her name was Mary.
No more.
Elizabeth saluted her,
"Blessed among women,"
Called her the Mother of her Lord.
Wondered that she should come to her,
Yet no one else knew.
She was only a child of Nazareth,
And "Could any good come out of Nazareth?"
She was the Mother of a Child,
In a carpenter's cottage.
 She was that to men and no more.
Men assumed they knew her,
She was easy to know.
"His mother, do we not know her?"
Yet how little did they know!
Mary, "the Handmaid of the Lord"
Mary espoused to the Carpenter
Mary "understanding not"
Mary "pondering in her heart"
Content to be no more.
Yet how much more she is
Mary, Mother of God
Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ
Whom "all generations shall call blessed."

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