Thursday, July 22, 2021

Sinner to Saint

Today is the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom Jesus expelled seven demons, the woman caught in adultery to whom He says, "Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more." Mary Magdalene is penitent, who anoints Jesus, the woman who washes His Feet with her tears and dries them with her hair, the first person who sees the Risen Lord. "He is Risen!" An apostle to the Apostles. Mary Magdalene is completely transformed by Christ. Sinner to Saint. I feel this transformation in myself--I am no longer the same person after knowing Jesus. I am still a sinner but with His Grace a saint-in-making. 

I was thinking in the context of stories, when that shift occurs in characters and how best to show that internal illumination. I'm not sure I succeeded in BOUND, that mirror moment when there's the tiniest shift in Rebecca's heart but it changes everything and she knows it too. I didn't realize until now that it's a sheer act of grace. And Rebecca would never put it in those terms. It is my wonderful instructor, Nancy Butts, who gave me the gift of "titanic echoes." God rest her soul. She died in a tragic accident involving a train. Please pray for her and her family. She loved taking long walks with her dogs, decorating for Christmas, and writing stories. I have all her letters and a couple of her books too, my favorite being Spontaneous Combustion. They are a treasure. But I am sad there will be no more. Requiescat in pace, dear Nancy. May we meet again in heaven and share our love of the Greatest Story!

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Dagny's Summer on Heron Farms

I'm so grateful Max and I got a tour of Heron Farms before Dagny's internship came to an end. This last week has been so busy there wasn't any time! And she'll be off to Florida and to Ecuador on a mission trip with the Sisters of Home of the Mother. Do check out the amazing story of Sister Clare Crockett. More on that after she returns. Please pray for their journey to be fruitful. 

Dagny has enjoyed her time at Heron Farms so much because she is involved in all areas, from planting, doing research, to harvesting and packaging of sea-beans (not a bean but a succulent salty plant, also called samphire greens or sea asparagus, but technically Salicornia). She, along with a friend, even made an emergency trip to Baltimore to deliver a big shipment to one of their clients in a refrigerated truck. I think they didn't get more than four hours of sleep in 30 hours and I can only thank God for their safe journey. The friend said, wisely, "Never again." But my Dagny...always ready for an adventure :) She's the youngest on the team and the least experienced, and she's discovered the beauty of being a beginner, how wonderful it is to work with people who are all better than you are, how much you grow. And of course, we're learning all sorts of interesting things as well.    

We've had a chance to do a few experiments with the seabeans they were discarding. We fermented it, planted it in the marsh (but I suspect it's not salty enough), made green salt, and of course, I used them in my cooking! They are good to eat by themselves as well as in stir-fry. It's been such fun.

Dagny has worked hard, played hard, and served well. I'm so excited to see what she will do with all the new things she's learning. We are so proud of her.  


Sunday, July 11, 2021

July is the month of the Most Precious Blood

Hail, saving Victim, offered on the gibbet of the cross for me and for the whole human race. Hail, precious blood, flowing from the wounds of our crucified Lord Jesus Christ and washing away the sins of the whole world. Remember, O Lord, Thy creature that Thou hast redeemed by Thy precious blood.

July began with the Feast of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord and a return to Adoration at our beloved Stella Maris. Holy Water in the fonts, too. I pray that these doors will never again close to the public for worship. We are one of the blessed--public Masses returned mid-May 2020; we were allowed to sing; masks not required--my heart full of thanksgiving for all our dear Jesus is doing for us.

Even though a single drop of His Most Precious Blood could've saved us all, He chose to give every drop. It astounds me that He would do all this for love of us, we who are terrible even when we try to be good. What can we offer but everything we have, including our lives for love of Him. And this is what the martyrs do. This past week we celebrated the martyr of chastity, St. Maria Goretti, a modern-day St. Agnes. She wasn't even 12 when she gave up her life. I've recounted her story before but what I forgot to mention is that she was more concerned about the soul of her assailant than she was about herself. Such purity! She appears in my historical novel and whispers, "Courage!" to me. With her help I *will* get it submission ready. 

There are countless more and I'm grateful we celebrated the Chinese martyrs on Friday because it reminds us to pray for the persecuted Church there. I leave you with this beautiful hymn, a thanksgiving after every Mass: Anima Christi (Marco Frisina) - YouTube

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Salvation on Sand Mountain and this Writing Life

Michael read me this wonderful quote from Salvation on Sand Mountain by Dennis Covington and it resonated deeply within me. This is partly why I prefer to write short stories...because I can see the whole. It's a rare novel that comes in its entirety like BOUND did. I wish more stories came fully formed; what a gift it is.