05 April, 2009

Current Readings

This weekend at my time away I finished Dorothy Day's "The Long Loneliness." It was an account of her life, of how she went from a fairly privileged family to living a life of poverty (chosen poverty), to being a founder of the Catholic Workers Movement. She was alive at an amazing time in our nation's history - she was arrested in the suffrage movement, saw the horror of WWI, lived in the Dust Bowl... It was odd, I found myself thinking that she could have been writing about the fallout of the world in "Atlas Shrugged" - only it really happened, our nation went through that dark of a time, and people found hope and the ability to be charitable within it.

She came to faith later in life and just believed that in order to live as Christ commanded we must literally sell all we have and live life among the suffering and impoverished. She gave up everything - her social circle, a common-law marriage to a man she loved severely, and worked what she believed about man, our relationship to each other, and social action into a true faith with God.

Her biography was amazing. I would have loved to read more about her choice to be a conscious objector and living a life of pacifism - and how that is lived out in the day to day. She said at one point if a friend was being attacked would she stop it? A question a lot of pacifists get I'd imagine. She said she would restrain the man but not kill him. Violent only gets more violence and if there is a non-violent way of resolving a situation then that must be the road taken.

An interesting read. One passage stood out to me:

If we are rushed for time, sow time and we will reap time, Go to church and spend a quiet hour in prayer. You will have more time than ever and your work will get done. Sow time with the poor. Sit and listen to them, give them your time lavishly. You will reap time a hundredfold. Sow kindness and you will reap kindness, sow love and you will reap love. 'Where there is no love, if you put love, you will take out love' - it is again St. John of the Cross. (252)

Before that I read Catherine Claire Larson's "As We Forgive." It tells several stories of those who survived the genocide in Rwanda and their process of reconciliation and forgiveness. Larson does an excellent job at weaving the stories with some thoughts on forgiveness and provides the reader with a truer, deeper meaning of what it means to forgive. The movie of the same name, is gripping, and Larson's book offers a deep insight in what Laura's work presents.

I have been on a biography/true life kick recently. If anyone knows a good bio on Clover Adams, F. Scott Fitzgerald, or Lady Bird Johnson, or really any good bios they're read recently please let me know.

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