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Reading Maketh a Full Man...

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Currently reading

The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Canto)
C.S. Lewis
Boys and Girls Learn Differently!: A Guide for Teachers and Parents
Michael Gurian, Terry Trueman, Patricia Henley
Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet
Christian Wiman
Deep River: The Life and Music of Robert Shaw
Keith C. Burris
Daring, Trusting Spirit
John De Gruchy
The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities, and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church
John Thavis
The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia
Orlando Figes

The Cloister Walk

The Cloister Walk - Kathleen Norris Another Kathleen Norris book. This one is a collection of reflections based on the author's extended stay with a Benedictine monastery community over 2 nine month periods. She uses the liturgical calendar as a layout for her book, highlighting from time to time various saints days during the year. I found this liturgical focus intriguing. Similar to her layout in "Dakota: A Spiritual Geography" where she uses weather reports during the course of a year to help move the reflections forward.Many of the topics she discusses I have read about in her other books. She returns again and again to her discovery of acedia, the eighth "bad thought" defined by the early desert Christian fathers and mothers (most specifically Evagrius Ponticus, a Christian monk). There were originally eight "bad thoughts" that eventually were turned into the seven deadly sins. Acedia, one of the original 8 bad thoughts, was dropped because it was thought to be too similar to sloth. However, upon further research, acedia seems to be more spiritually related to depression whereas sloth seems to be regarded more as apathy and inactivity. What I enjoyed most about this book was the joy the author obviously had in being bathed in the "heard Word of God", speaking God's word aloud herself as she participated in regular readings, and the sung chant of the psalms. While these tasks are carried out every day in the Benedictine monastery, they never became mundane or boring, even though the author expected perhaps that they would. She was surprised that the regular hearing and speaking and singing of God's word brought great healing in her heart, her marriage, and provided great periods of creativity for her writing.The chapters I found unusual had to do with the difference between the habit (clothing) of monks and nuns and how their clothing has changed since Vatican II. I had never thought about this topic it all, so it was something new to think about. The chapters on the virgin martyrs and how they might (or might not) fit into a modern feminist role I found strained and frankly unconvincing.