Friday, December 10, 2021

December Tidbits on Music and Books

I love that December brings many feast days. We celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception with a High Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church and look who decided to join me for practice! 

The day before, I learned that every year, the noon hour on Dec. 8th is the hour of grace. Our Lady pays special attention to our petitions and praises, so of course, I made a Holy Hour. I prayed especially for the church, the religious, and our choirs, for them to grow and lo and behold, when we were practicing a polyphonic version of Ave Maria, a young man came up to the loft because he knew the piece. He took the tenor line. I've never before have had prayers answered so quickly and have been so delighted.

At the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel addresses her as "full of grace." The priest said that in Greek, it's "kecharitomene" and it's the past perfect participle of Greek noun charis = grace. It means it has always been so and continues to be so, ie, Mary has always existed in a state of grace from the moment of her conception and will do so for all eternity. She was preserved from all stain of original sin by the foreseen merits of Jesus Christ. That's the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and it makes so much sense because our dear Lord Jesus, like us in all things except sin, could not take his human nature from a creature tainted with sin. She is God's perfect creation. Ap. Fulton Sheen joked that nowadays everybody thinks they're immaculately conceived.

Grammar matters. LOL.

So it's nearly Gaudete Sunday--Rejoice! We are celebrating with a High Mass and potluck! Here are some books I've enjoyed. Maybe there's something in this round-up for the people in your lives. As for me, I need to buckle down and meet my December deadlines. O why, O why did I procrastinate so?

I didn't want to read My Father Left Me Ireland: An American Son's Search for Home by Michael Brendan Dougherty because I've got daddy issues. I was heartbroken for the child Michael who didn't know his father, but I was so heartened to know that although he couldn't change the past, there was love and forgiveness going forward. A beautiful memoir. 

Bobo and Pup-Pup books by Viktor Madan and Nicola Slater are such a delight. These are graphic novels for the earliest readers and so full of joy and frustrations typical of 4-6 year-olds. Superbly crafted. I am looking forward to more stories of this pair. These books reminded me of my own Max and Midnight stories but also give me a way to think about them in script format. It's such fun experimenting.

Literary Converts: Spiritual Inspiration in an Age of Unbelief by Joseph Pearce is one of the best books I've read. You know I'm a sucker for conversion stories but even better are conversion stories of writers. Joseph Pearce is a wonderful writer, with a knack for choosing just the right details. This book has been at my bedside for several years because the ends notes are full of juicy bits and references for more books that I had to read. As soon as I finished the book, I went back to the beginning. Haha.

The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life by Lois Ehlert is such a delight to read. It's her memoir of the creative life and so inspiring to read. All children are creative--they will enjoy this book very much.

I'm in the middle of Philip Pullman's Daemon Voices--wonderful essays on writing. He's a good teacher and I have so much to learn. I've enjoyed his fiction very much too.

John Cleese's little book on Creativity needs no more words. It's short, sweet and funny.

Hamnet, a novel of the Plague by Maggie O'Farrell is historical fiction about Shakespeare's wife and household and the various relationships. It takes us from courtship to marriage to the arrival of the children and Hamnet's subsequent death. There's a chapter right in the middle about the journey of the flea (perhaps my favorite chapter). She's portrayed as the typical medieval peasant woman who has knowledge of herbs and too independent. Although not a fan of present tense third person, I enjoyed the story tremendously, and will be reading more of her.  

I'm also in the middle of The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr of the Children's Health Defense Fund on my kindle. How I wish this book didn't have to be written. Where to even begin? It reminds me of Hitler's Willing Executioners by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen. Superbly researched. We've gone from focusing on health to focusing on being sick. We have a pill for everything because that's what makes money. We're seeing more and more chronic illnesses because we've been poisoned. How well I know this personally because I bought into the lies, and I studied this stuff. I was so naive to think science was in the service of the common good, but when I read about control groups being eliminated, doing dangerous drug studies on impoverished communities in Africa and Asia, bypassing peer review by contacting media, how can I ever trust anything that comes out of our institutions? This book shows how Big Pharma infiltrated the regulatory bodies that were responsible for protecting public health. There's no oversight. And whistleblowers have their funding cut off, their careers crushed. It's time to wake up and smell the stench of our medical-industrial-government complex. I hope and pray that justice will be served for the crimes these people have committed.    

And that's it for now, folks. I leave you with the glow of an evening reflected in the marsh. A blessed Advent to all. 


Mirka Breen said...

The books are lovely, but a yawning kitty beats all.
Many blessings for advent, dear Vijaya <3

Vijaya said...

Thank you, Mirka. Yawning is a very important part of the warmup when you sing. When I play the piano, they join me on the bench as well or look down on me from above. Once in a while they'll make their own music. These kitties, like all others we've had, are very vocal.

Rajani Rehana said...

Please read my post

Rajani Rehana said...

Beautiful blog

Barbara Etlin said...

Thanks for the book recommendations. Hamnet, Creativity, and Daemon Voices look very tempting!

Vijaya said...

Enjoy, Barb and Rajani.