Wednesday, May 06, 2009


I am working on my paper, read the poems for class (I love John Donne!), and found out today that I need to put together my research proposal sooner that I expected for my application for my English MA.


I am enjoying this time though.

A holy hieromonk visited us this past weekend at my Church and he spoke of the 40 days of Brightness as a time of renewal for us, body and soul.

I feel a sense of this renewal by working on this class.

Ironically, or what appears ironic at the surface, is that I am writing my paper on despair. Actually I am tracing the movement of the characters in Paradise Lost (other than God the Father and Son) in relation to the despair they are in. Acedia - Kathleen Norris started me on the awareness of this years ago with her writings on acedia. Of course now her latest book focuses on the topic exclusively.

Did you know that the Catholic St. Thomas Aquinas used St. John Cassian's writings to explain sloth? I found it very helpful to read that sloth is considered not only to be a form of hatred towards God (by avoiding / hating spiritual good) but also an opposite to joy.


This made Fr. Roman Braga's emphasis on joy more real and understandable. Of course if we think of St. Seraphim of Sarov, and how he called those he met, 'his joy' and how he lived the reality of Pascha year round, the world suddenly is full of brightness.


E Helena E said...

There's alot here to explore!

(Still hope to finish K. Norris' book this summer).

How fitting that you are in this 40 day Brightness renewal time now.

November In My Soul said...

I know this is a bit off topic but your recent posts remind me of why I loved college so much. I was an English major so I share your love of words and books and writers. I always found the studying, the figuring out of what we think to be deeply satisfying. I actually enjoyed writing the papers. You are on a wonderful journey that I'm sure you will enjoy to the fullest.

Elizabeth said...

I'm hoping to get Kathleen Norris' new book soon. I really enjoyed The Quotidian Mysteries and The Cloister Walk :-)

I've not read much Donne, though I have read quite a few of his contemporaries' work. I shall have to rectify this deficit if you are enjoying him so much !

elizabeth said...

E-H... yes... I have not been able to read the last little bit of K Norris' book yet... a challenge when I need to read for class!

Nov - thanks for your comment! Yes... I was an English major too... It almost seems like I enjoy it even more than I did those years ago... (and I did enjoy it then) ...

Elizabeth - what have you read of Donne's contemporaries?

John Donne is great - just be aware that a lot of his earlier poetry (if I remember the chronlogical details correctly) is more focused on erotic love - incredibly witty and intelligent - but with this undoubted focus! His later poems about God also use strong imagery of an erotic nature, but as powerful images of spiritual truths and struggles. One of his most beloved poems for me has in its first line "Batter my heart three person God" which does have, as the word 'batter' implies, violent images... that said it is a deeply profound, while complex, sonnet. Donne is incredibly enjoyable from his use of words, his intelligence and the beauty of the poetry...