5 Quick Things #265 ✨
imagination, catechesis, staying put, & going home
Hello, and happy Feast of the Epiphany!
I hope you've all had a good Christmastide. I've enjoyed laying low, decluttering the fridge and freezers, going on family walks, reading books and watching movies, and generally not thinking about work. Our next school session begins in a few days so I've been prepping a bit, but otherwise, I'm blissfully loving my final bit of time before the rigamarole begins once more.
Today I'm taking down all the Christmas decorations, and tonight we're going to a Twelfth Night party (no plans to hang toast on trees, though). For the next few weeks I’m leaning into the tradition of recognizing the lead-up to Candlemas because even though it doesn't get terribly cold here in central Texas, I appreciate the need to mark time in these early days and weeks with rhythm and routine. More candlelit dinners over the everyday family Instant Pot and Taco Tuesdays, I say.
5 Quick Things ☕️
1. After the success of the Bible in a Year podcast (it still is!), Fr. Mike Schmitz is now hosting The Catechism in a Year. If you’ve ever wanted a systematic, slow reading of the CCC, or if you’re curious what the Catholic Church actually believes (and not just hearsay or assumption, which was me for most of my life), definitely make this part of your daily routine (it’s also on Hallow and YouTube). It’s short, it’s super listenable, and so far it’s been very encouraging.
2. Like most Protestants, I had never heard of Joseph Ratzinger when he was named Pope, yet during our discernment process to swim the Tiber I was floored at how much he had written and how many great thinkers attribute him as one of their mentors. There’s been much ink spilled this past week in honor of Benedict, but I appreciate this simple essay because of how he described heaven in a way I first remember hearing it as a child: like going home.
3. If there’s a writer you’d like to explore more deeply in 2023, might I suggest a one Gilbert Keith Chesterton? I read his Orthodoxy every year, and the more I sample his words, the more I’m gobsmacked with what a wise, jolly gentleman he was and what a fun person he’d have been to sidle up next to at the local pub. I especially appreciate his high value of the imagination, and this piece is a great primer on his ideas.
4. As someone who’s grown to love her small town community, this essay resonated with me: “Most young people don’t stand a chance of developing a healthy relationship to hearth and hometown. Anywhereism makes great inroads this way. ...God has marked out our appointed times in history and the boundaries of our lands, and commands us to remain as we were when we were called.”
5. And finally, how to read better. Agreed.
Currently Reading, Watching, Listening 📚
The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro (thanks to a nudge from TCP subscriber Nicole for the idea! It’s indeed a lovely January read…)
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“Even in the darkest night it's still within our power to hold faith. We can still embrace hope. And although we may feel ourselves unloved we can still stand steadfast in our love for others and for God. All this is in our control. God gave us these gifts and he does not take them back. It is we who choose to discard them.”
— William Kent Krueger #
(Thanks to TCP subscriber Maryann for this quote! I needed it.)
Do You Put Oranges in Your Stockings? 🍊
Really, you guys? Have you no sense of tradition? There’s been an orange at the toe of my stocking since my earliest Christmases, and I thoroughly enjoy passing that on to my kids to hear their own complaints. Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote of this in her Little House series. This was a treat during the Great Depression. Plus, weird, pointless traditions are fun, even when they’re weird and pointless. (More here, if you’re curious.)
Find this week’s poll here.
Quick Links 🔗
Become a paying subscriber of The Commonplace (and thank you!)
Question(s) For You to Ponder… 🤔
What’s your theme for 2023?
Have a good weekend,
p.s. Me next Tuesday.
Tsh, I really enjoyed the article on the phenomenon of Anywherism. I live in a similar town in the UK to the one described and this article ran very true. I would not have stumbled across this writing on my own so thank you for sharing. Happy New year!
I put a chocolate orange in anyone’s stocking that likes them! The others got bath bombs in the toe of their stocking this year