Monday, March 16, 2009

Splendor in the Ordinary

A book by Thomas Howard.

Howard describes how, even in the rush of every day life, in the common ordinariness of our homes and our activities, we can find chances to love and serve God and discern His leading.

We are taking part in a book discussion of this title at the Unschooling Catholics email list. The topic is close to an unschooler's heart. We believe that we can see learning and relationship in the day to day doings, by being aware and seizing the moment, by emphasizing our routines and rhythms. So, too, perhaps, we can see God in the same things. In our family. In our household routines.

Chapter One – The Household – Learn to see the holy in the ordinary
Excerpts –
The ancients used to hallow places. They set aside groves and grottoes and mountains, and built temples and shrines and enclaves..modern Christians often find it difficult to keep alive any notion at all of mystery, or of the hallowed, except perhaps as a sort of cloud or glow that ought to suffuse their imagination when they pray or worship..

Somehow we have gotten swept into a millrace, and its nonstop flailing and thrashing just to keep ourselves from drowning. The sheer necessities of modern life sweep us farther and farther from any sense that it is all hallowed, really. What are we to do?

..A possibility would be to accept the fact that life comes tumbling at us nowadays, but that it is nonetheless possible for us to see our ordinary daily routines as proceeding among the hallows, so to speak; and by stirring up in our minds the things that we vaguely acknowledge anyway, to begin to hallow those routines by doing once more what men have always done with things to hallow them; namely, offering them up in oblation to God. As literally as Abel offered up sacrifices from his ordinary routine of work.

..To do this, of course, we will have to recover the sense of the hallowed as being all around us...We will have to refuse resolutely the secularism that has made ordinariness unholy. We live in a dark age, and somewhere in this murk there has got to be lights burning in shrines and on altars, bearing witness to the presence of the holy.

But what shrines and altars?...I would like to suggest that at least one place ( among others) which may be hallowed anew as the place where the celebration of all the mysteries may occur, and where all of life may be offered up in oblation to the Most High, is the family household. Within these four walls, under this roof, the lamps are lighted. The offering is here; the vigil is here; the feast is here; the faithful are here. All the eating and drinking and the working and playing, and the discipline and serving and loving that go on here – they are all holy. For these common routines of ordinary life are not only necessities and functions: they are also messengers to us from the hallows.


Cath said...

I found this book so thought-provoking! Bought it last year as a run-on from Douglas Wilson's title, "My Life for Yours." Enjoy!

Stephanie said...

Wow --- Leonie, I just now today loaned my copy of that book to someone I know will love it as much as I did - and you did too, apparently. Cool!

Purpleflowerpatch said...

I love the sound of this...will look into it. Thanks Leonie!