“The Lord does not measure out our afflictions according to our faults,
but according to our strength,
and looks not to what we deserve,
but what we are able to bear.”
~George Downame (1560-1634)
Archive for the 'quotes' Category
“The Lord does not measure out our afflictions according to our faults,
Every restaurant is a theater, and the truly great ones allow us to indulge in the fantasy that we are rich and powerful. When restaurants hold up their end of the bargain, they give us the illusion of being surrounded by servants intent on ensuring our happiness and offering extraordinary food.
-Ruth Reichl Garlic and Sapphires
“In these columns I have been seeking to express truths about marriage that come into direct conflict
with our own usual understanding of it. It is those “myths” in marriage that get us into trouble because
we follow our own idealized vision and not the marriage that is actually before us; the one God has
given us and the one that is asking so much of us just now.
The tenth myth might be put this way: “my home is the place of my refuge.” That is, it is a castle
where I may retreat from the world, a kind of haven from the struggles and pressures and tensions of
the world. I return there to be recharged and refreshed and sent forth out into the world again.
In a certain sense that is true. Our homes are to be places of rest and love and hospitality; places where we can just be ourselves and find relaxation and the restrengthening of our lives. But if we see that as the sole function of the home in our lives we will fall into the common misunderstanding that is often described in the words, “a man’s home is his castle.”
Mike Mason* likens the home to a “monastery”, that is, a place in which people are changed from one
type of person into another; a school where vows have been taken and life is ordered toward the
developing of the spirit and the soul into something higher and finer. If we follow that analogy then the
home becomes the harder sphere as opposed to the workplace. How easily we think of the workplace as where the really tough decisions and actions take place. That’s where the action is and the home is easy. The home is soft and lovely to us and requires little of us. But that is to invert God’s order. God puts the priority on the home and calls us to establish that and focus on that first and then to go into the fields of labor. In fact, in the book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 24:5, a man is told not to engage in
outside activities, like war, for the first year of his marriage so that he can be happy at home with his
wife. That is, he is to make the necessary adjustments and give careful time and attention to the laying of the foundations of the home. War in Israel’s history was to possess the land and/or defend it from its enemies so that there could be marriages and homes established in it. To give up the marriage and the home in order to fight the war would make the battle pointless.
If we continue along Mason’s line of the home as a “monastery”, we would understand more about the
nature of our vows in marriage. When a monk or a nun enters monastic life they take vows of poverty,
chastity, and obedience. Our vows at the alter in marriage are similar. We no longer own anything
ourselves, even our own bodies. Everything we have belongs to our mate, It is a vow of poverty.
This is also a vow of chastity because we forsake all others in favor of our own. We give up covetous
desires of other people and devote ourselves solely to our mates. We become a “one-women man,” or a “one-man women,” and we delight only in that one whom God has given to us and to whom we have
taken sacred vows. It is a vow of chastity.
We also take a vow of obedience in the sense that a true marriage obeys God’s order for the institution of matrimony. We are not only committed to each other but to marriage itself as it is outlined in the Scripture. That is a call for husbands to live in self-sacrifice and in self-denial as Christ did for the
Church; laying Himself down for it. (Ephesians 5:35) It is for wives to obey the biblical mandate to
follow the leadership of their husbands and to throw a support under things they do and to be a genuine helper to them.
When we begin to see the home as a “monastery”, that is, a training school for the soul, we will not
resent the pains and sufferings and sacrifices that come along. We will realize “no pain- no gain.”
When deprivations may come to us or some visions of our own have to be scuttled in favor of our
spouse, we will remember that God is shaping us into the image of our Lord Jesus Christ who laid
down His very life for us.
Let us not see marriage as simply a place for the fulfillment of our own desires for pleasure or for rest
and refuge, but as a finishing school in which God is working with the soul of His people so that they
become more like the example of Christ that is found in the Scriptures. Also, after years of marriage an
obedient couple not only resemble each other but they resemble the Lord Jesus in new and exciting
ways because they have been in the “monastery” of the home.”
*Mike Mason, author of The Mystery of Marriage
“I have been trying to set out some of the more common ideas that plague marriages and seeking to expose them to the light with the goal that our Church shall have within it the most dynamic and happiest marriages anywhere. Today, I share with you something I often hear when asking an engaged couple why they would like to marry each other. Often I hear, “We are so like each other.” Then after the wedding and some months have gone by, I hear them day, “We have discovered how really different we are from each other.” The myth of marriage here is that marriage requires common interests and similar personalities. Actually the step of finding out how different your mate is a place of real growth. Now you are relating to the person whom you actually married not the one you saw through rose-colored glasses. And that person is very different from you. But the differences are something to celebrate and thank God for. They are God’s tools to shape and refine you. They stretch you to experience life in some new and wonderful ways, so that you are to build upon your differences. Rejoice in them and use them to add variety of interest and perspective and attitude to your life. As much as you can, try to find out why your mate feels the way he or she does about certain things, and as far as possible enter into that world. Then you will discover a oneness that rises out of the diversity. That is the strongest oneness of all. A key difference between you is your maleness and femaleness. That is the polarity on which God wants to build, therefore make the most of this difference. Seek to be as much the man as you can be and as much the woman. Let there be no blurring of the lines and the consequent loss of this blessed polarity. That means cultivating manliness and femininity for all you are worth so that your mate can delight in you as the precious gift God has prepared. A danger sets into marriage when a husband and wife cease being attracted to one another. Work at being as attractive to your beloved as you can be, accenting the differences God has put within you. The polarity is the essence of your union. Your marriage is built on this difference. Differences are not something to wish away in your marriage. There are great treasures to be enjoyed and for which to be profoundly grateful.”
“I learned to make ratatouille from a large strong woman, a refugee, not political but economic, from an island off Spain: There was not enough food to go around in her family, and she and her husband were the sturdies, so they got out. They ran a vegetable store with one little window and almost no space….She was a great big beautiful woman: coal-black hair, big black eyes, but a very big grossly overweight body. I do not know how she squeezed through that little square hole. She and her tiny husband evidently slept, ate, lived down there.
“She taught me more than her stew, without knowing that I often pondered on how she washed her gleaming hair and stayed generally so sweet smelling, when it was plain that both she and the lettuces must bathe at the public pump and sleep in the dark cellar or under the little counter. She cooked on a gas ring behind a curtain at the back of the store, and that is how I came to ask her questions, because her stew had such a fine smell. She looked at me as if I were almost as ignorant as I was, and after my first lesson from her I bought a big earthenware pot, which I still use.
“The first ingredients were and still are eggplant and onions, garlic, green peppers, red peppers, plenty of ripe peeled tomatoes and some good olive oil. Proportions are impossible to fix firmly, since everything changes in size and flavor, but perhaps there should be three parts of eggplant to two of tomatoes and one each of the peppers and the onions and garlic. I really cannot say.
“Everything is sliced, cubed, chopped, minced, and, except for the tomatoes, is put into the pot…thrown in, that is, for the rough treatment pushes down the mass. At the end, when there is less than no room, the tomatoes are cubed or sliced generously across the top, and the lid is pressed down ruthlessly. When it is taken off, a generous amount of olive oil must be trickled over the whole to seep down. Then the lid is put on again. It may not quite fit, but it will soon drop into place. The whole goes into a gentle (300 degree) oven for about as long as one wishes to leave it there, like five or six hours. It should be stirred up from the bottom with a long spoon every couple of hours. It will be very soupy for a time, and then is when it makes a delicious nourishing meal served generously over slices of toasted french bread with plenty of grated dry cheese. Gradually it becomes more solid, as the air fills with the rich waftings which make neighbors sniff and smile. When it reaches the right texture to be eaten as one wishes, even with a fork, the lid can stay off and fresh shelled shrimps be laid amply on the top to turn white before they are stirred in, or small sausages already cooked well in beer or wine. Or it can simply be left in a turned-off oven to be chilled later for probably the best so-called ratatouille ever eaten.”
-MFK Fisher in Long Ago in France: The Dijon Years
“In the center of a spacious table rose a pastry as large as a church, flanked on the north by a quarter of cold veal, on the south by an enormous ham, on the east by a monumental pile of butter, and on the west by an enormous dish of artichokes, with a hot sauce.”
-Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin in the Physiology of Taste
“Whether I retire to bed early or late, I rise with the sun.”
(This is what 7AM looks like at my house.)