Helen sent me a little red book in early December that has captivated me. It's called Achieving Peace of Heart by Narciso Irala, S.J. The book is a compelling guide to mental and emotional health and happiness. I hope to write about it later with regard to the sage spiritual advice found there. In the first few chapters, however, what struck me is how much Fr. Irala sounded like Charlotte Mason. His antidote to the exhaustion and confusion of our fast-paced world is to slow down and concentrate fully on one thing at a time. He wants us to cultivate what Miss Mason calls the "habit of attention."
I've been thinking hard for over a month now about this call to simplicity and concentration. And I can see how the last year has really been an advent of sorts. It's been a preparation for a serious commitment to simplicity and attention in all aspects of life--from the spiritual to the academic.
While I will certainly share more about peace of heart, right now, my thoughts have been most definitely on peace of education. The process--during advent,no less--of reflecting upon Michael's education and preparing college portfolios has given me ample opportunity to assess what works for our family.
Charlotte Mason education works. It's academically sound and produces a well-educated child. It is a peaceful, integrated education.
The Domestic Church works. A fully-integrated life of prayer at home with our spouse and our children, celebrating the liturgical year and the life of the church gives children spiritual peace of heart.
That's it. Living books, narration, nature study, Latin (yes, I said Latin--stop laughing, MacBeth). And God, real and present and tangible.
Sounds like a plan.