Friday, October 26, 2012

Drinking, smoking mystic.

Caryll Houselander

Over the past few years I've taken an interest in Caryll Houselander.  My fear of being too influenced by feminine spiritual writers kept me from reading her works in the past, although her letters have helped me discover her genius.  Anyway - I've decided I like her very much - and agree with her even more, although I have never read a book by her or about her.  I'm more interested in her letters - there one encounters the person, very often without artifice.

I don't want to be part of her fan club or cult either.  It is better to be poor, that way you only get what you need the most. 

On that note, a couple of quotes from Wiki:

We go through life with dark forces within us and around us, haunted by the ghosts of repudiated terrors and embarrassments, assailed by devils, but we are also continually guided by invisible hands; our darkness is lit by many little flames, from night-lights to the stars. Those who are afraid to look into their own hearts know nothing of the light that shines in the darkness.

God’s will for you is to serve him, in his way, as he chooses now. It is only a want of humility to think of extreme vocations, like being a nun or a nurse, while you try to by-pass your present obvious vocation . . . Today you have to use what you have today, and do not look beyond it.

Learn to love yourself, to forgive yourself, to be kind to yourself, by looking outwards to God, by accepting the fact that you are infinitely loved by Infinite Love, and that if you will only cease to build up notions of the perfection you demand of yourself, and lay your soul open to that love, you will cease to fear, and you will cease to be exhausted as soon as you stop fighting one part of yourself with another.


  1. That's a beautiful quote, Terry. Thanks for sharing it.



  2. That sounds like wisdom to me.

    I'm sorry you've been hesitant to engage with female spiritual writers-- maybe now it will be easier? There's a whole body of thought to be explored now. :)

    1. I probably could have stated that better - early on I was overly influenced by mystics like Josefa Menendez and victim spirituality, as well as a certain Carmelite nun who was a bit like Bishop Williamson. That still doesn't explain exactly what I mean, BTW.

  3. I remembered yo said something about female mystics a while back and how it was better for you personally to stay away from them. People are different. I probably have no business reading St. John of the Cross or some of the more severely ascetic saints.

    What she said in that quote is pretty good - kind of hits me when I worry about stuff all the tie instead of focusing on doing what I do to the bets of my ability.


    1. Yeah - well she and someone like Dorothy Day have a grasp on ordinary life - St. Therese did too. New age Catholic mystics - forget it. Anne Burrows the English Carmelite is pretty good as well. Mid century female writers like Houselander understood - in the sense Edith Stein did during the war. These are manly women, as Teresa of Avila of old.

      I can't stand reading the victim souls.

    2. I happened across this yesterday from St. Theresa's "Last Conversations" about purgatory:

      I think my life just changed from reading it. Very hopeful words for worriers like me and Mercury.

  4. Boozehound mystics are much more your style.


  5. Her poem "The Rosary" is beautiful. Hope you can check-it-out!! RosaMaria.

  6. She's often quoted in the Magnificat Mass book. I haven't read her letters, but reading your post reminded me of how much I loved Flannery O'Connor's letters, A Habit of Being I think the title is. Her stories are fascinating if you read them knowing she was presenting a "moment of grace." How would the characters respond to it? She often used the sun and moon as Eucharistic symbols as well. I always wondered if that was what Frank Capra was doing in It's a Wonderful Life when George tells Mary she can eat the moon and it'll come out her fingers and the ends of her hair -- sounds to me like being filled up with the Holy Spirit and reflecting light to the world. Excuse my rambling.


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