Author: Sarah (Page 1 of 5)

Notice: Quasi-Hiatus

Dear readers of Gilded Weavings,

I’ve come to an unfortunate but, I think, necessary decision. During the next couple months, I hope to focus on acquiring some new skills and experience, which will mean that the posts here will, not cease, but be considerably less frequent. I hope to be back at full strength sometime around the New Year.

Meanwhile, to anyone looking for good reading, I highly recommend Nachtstürm Castle, a brand-new novel by rising author Emily Snyder, and would also suggest staying tuned for her Presumption, slated to come out early in December. I’m only just discovering Ms. Snyder’s work—her talent is truly remarkable.

May God bless you all in this loveliest time of the year.

Yours truly,

Sarah Elisabeth Therese

The New Country

Yester-eve I left the quiet plain,
The path washed out by a night of rain;
Now past the mountains, a dawn bursts clean,
Glowing in glory, golden and green.
I know not what hides in the trees and grass
Spread below me now, where I soon will pass,
But with springing step now I run to meet
Moss and roots and thorns all beneath my feet.
For inside my soul burns a pure white star,
Summons, strength, and joy, kindled from afar,
Promising me sure that my home is there,
Of which I hear whispers in sky and air.
So now whether pathways be rough or smooth,
I run on in strength of a singing truth:
That the rush of wind, and the burbling stream,
And the glow of leaves in a stray sunbeam,
And the clouds above and the stones below,
And all things wheresoe’er I may go,
Are my Love’s unceasing pledge and call,
And His word is joy, for He is my all.

Purgatory is Not an Insult

As All Souls’ Day approaches, homilists may find themselves tiptoeing around discussion of Purgatory. Advising people to pray for their deceased family or friends can be difficult. Many perceive this as an insult to the departed, contending that their loved ones are surely in Heaven already and need no prayers.

Much of this mindset is based on emotions rather than intellectual decisions, and so calls for a tactful, gentle response. Part of the problem, however, arises from misunderstandings about Purgatory. Those unfamiliar with Catholic theology often seem to confuse Purgatory with Hell. Even in Catholic circles, popular assumptions imply that genuinely good people always go straight to Heaven, while Purgatory is for the mediocre souls not quite bad enough for Hell. Another phrasing of this idea is that, to compare these states to school grades, Heaven is an A, Purgatory a C, and Hell an F.

None of this is even remotely true.

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Solomon, Aquinas, and Lilies

A reflection on 1 Kings 3:5-15

 

What do a king, a friar, and a flower have to do with each other? The question sounds like a very strange riddle. I unexpectedly discovered the answer while rereading 1 Kings 3:5-15, coming upon a sequence of thoughts that initially seemed both familiar and sobering, but ended on a fresh and deeply joyful note.

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The White and Black Bouquet

To Thee I bring, dear Savior,

An offering tonight,

And pray it may find favor

By Thy grace in Thy sight;

No show of noble powers—

Such grandeur small souls lack—

A humble bunch of flowers,

A mix of white and black.

 

White blooms, star-shaped, sweet-smelling,

Their stalks all smooth and green,

Their snowy glow is telling

Of triumph’s happy sheen;

All this day’s little glories,

Sweet joy and bright success,

I offer Thee these stories,

With hymn of thankfulness.

 

The black blooms, shaped like crosses,

Less sweet and sharp with thorns,

These are the stings and losses

For which man’s nature mourns;

Pain, disappointment, folly,

The times when foes prevailed,

The springless melancholy,

The times I tried and failed.

 

I bring Thee these small prizes;

Thou only know’st the worth

Of any gift that rises

From human hands on earth;

So I pray that Thy splendor

May wash these in its rays,

Their fragrance of surrender

Rise pleasing to Thy praise.

 

And I’ll thank Thee, my Dearest,

For this day’s white and black;

Faith’s eye sees Thy love clearest;

My small heart gives love back.

For everything is beauty

When seen with love of Thee,

And e’en the humblest duty

Is joyous then, and free.

Beasts of Fire and Water

Gyna stumbled wildly across the dim, cavernous room, wondering how much farther her trembling legs would bring her before she collapsed—and that would be the end. She listened for any sound other than thunder, wind and her own gasping breath, but the thumping had ceased, and the fiendish cackling had vanished. Not daring to hope that she might have lost her pursuer, she hastened into the only opening she saw ahead, a dark and empty doorway. Perhaps the blackness would hide her there?

A few paces past this exit, she glimpsed a faint light, seeping around a corner in the passage. Approaching more slowly and trying to quiet her panting, Gyna peered cautiously around the corner and saw a long, spiraling staircase, descending to what looked like a pool. The light, a pale greenish, sickly glow, seemed to be coming from something in the water . . . was there some sort of creature down there? Yes, it looked like something with tentacles, and a big something at that.

It figures, she thought, with a sort of frantic bitterness. After all this, now a water monster. Well, what should I have done?

She took a few small steps backward, her thoughts scrambling for some other way out, when something rough sprang around her and knocked her down—a net. The witch had caught up, without a sound.

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Remembering the Basis of Human Dignity

Several months ago, I happened to glance at the cover of America, and noticed something strange among the featured article descriptions: “Jesus, Please Don’t Fix My Disabled Daughter.” Curious, I flipped to the indicated page number, confident that the essay would not actually advance the idea suggested. To my astonishment, however, it did.

The author, a Heather Kirn Lanier, explained that she had recently begun reading the Gospels and generally liked Jesus, but was initially disappointed with His miracles of healing. As Mrs. Lanier said, “He reinforces the idea that the disabled body is broken, damaged. He treats the disabled body as something to fix.” She went on to protest that her disabled child was not worth less than anyone else, emphasizing, “She’s not damaged goods,” and that, therefore, the little one had no need of fixing. She also proceeded to give Jesus’ actions her own interpretation, one agreeable to her view that we should not demean the disabled by trying to cure them.

At first I didn’t know how to respond. Of course Mrs. Lanier’s little girl was as precious as a child without handicaps . . . but why would that lead the mother to regard potential healing as an insult?

Then I understood. From that essay’s perspective, any privation meant a degradation in value. There was no distinction between saying that a child’s body had been malformed and insinuating that that child was intrinsically inferior to other children. Suddenly I understood so much of the modern world’s anguish.

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After Rain

Heavy veils of grey yield to wind,

Parting to reveal still-shining blue,

Shedding soft shreds, whiter now and thinned,

Gladsome white-gold sunshine beaming through.

 

All the ruts and ditches that here lie,

They are mirrors now of water-glass,

Wherein fragments of the glowing sky

Gleam up from among the stones and grass.

 

Branches netted roughly, tattered bars,

Drab grey webs all drizzle-wet and grim,

Glisten now with countless bits of stars,

Silver-bright, as if with Christmas trim.

 

Every leaf and flower-head weighed down,

Battered with the rushing of the rain,

Now stands splendid in its diamond crown,

And is swift forgetting all its strain.

 

All the earth is baptized, washed anew,

And stands radiant before the sun,

All the gloom and tempest that it knew

Now become such glory as to stun.

 

So for nature, so also for me,

When that which oppressed and struck me low,

As the light returned, changed wondrously,

New marvels of grace and joy to show.

 

Let it come then, Lord, the bitter rain,

Though it drench and pound upon my soul;

Only, send Your light, and make my pain

Something shining, my fractures Your whole.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind may be the quintessential Hayao Miyazaki film—not necessarily his best, but the most comprehensive assortment of his characteristic themes and motifs.

The setting is a staggering feat of creative world-building and visual opulence. Characters include a strong young female protagonist, children, and old people; and while the villains may be more clearly evil than most Miyazaki antagonists, they don’t ultimately evoke hatred or vindictiveness.

There are flight sequences and stunning uses of water. Themes include pacifism and environmentalism. The story frankly acknowledges the sadness of loss and fears for possible future losses, but is subtly shot through with hope and grace.

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Bride of Christ

Raise a glad song, favored maiden;

Sing out sweetly, turtle-dove,

By your King with treasures laden,

Called by Him to be His love!

Truer bridegroom was there never,

Nor more generous a lord;

All that’s His is yours forever,

Sealed with His eternal Word!

 

Lo, He sets His mark upon you,

Claims you for His own dear bride;

With His holy Blood He won you,

For your love He fought and died!

Now fair robes as bright as morning

He brings for your wedding gown,

Rarest jewels for your adorning,

And a shining royal crown.

 

But before the feast in splendor,

When your joy will be complete,

Bride of Christ, you must surrender

To what seems a dark defeat,

To the night of bloody sweating,

To the vicious world’s abuse,

To the hour, of God’s own setting,

When your very self you lose!

 

From earth’s world of dim phantasm

To your Spouse’s radiant realm,

One road only spans the chasm;

Let it not your heart o’erwhelm.

He sees your tears, drawn by fire,

By each wound and valiant loss,

Diamond stairs to lead you higher

By the King’s road of the Cross.

 

If a maid follows her lover,

Join yours on His mystic way,

Road He traveled to recover

Precious souls that dying lay.

Join His great task of redeeming

Each lamb wand’ring from His fold;

Your blood mixed with His and streaming

Sows their new life manifold.

 

Think on Whom it is you marry,

King of Kings and Friend most dear,

Who scorns not weak lambs to carry—

Let His love cast out your fear!

He’s worthy of all your treasure,

And you’ll find, dear bride of Christ,

He returns bounteous measure

For all that you’ve sacrificed!

 

Break your jar, your ointment flowing,

Pour it and count not its worth,

For the joy that passes knowing

And the love past scope of earth!

Take your cross, moved by Love’s fires,

Learn its deep, mysterious charms,

Find your heart full past desires,

Find you’ve risen—in His arms!

 

 

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