Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Good Poetry

Readers know my love of good children's literature, and how we in our house enjoy nightly read-alouds. Now and then we'll have a poetry night where I read our best-loved poems by various poets, our favorites being those of Robert Louis Stevenson or the delightful gems of A.A. Milne (no library in a household with children is complete without The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne, imho.)

Some are laugh-out-loud funny, and each of us waits for our particular favorite to be read again. Some tell an interesting story, while others teach a valuable lesson to young and old alike. Such is the familiar poem by Mary Howitt, The Spider and the Fly. The boys memorized it a couple of years ago; we read again recently, among others, and I thought I'd share it here.

The Spider and the Fly
Mary Howitt

Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the Fly,
'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to shew when you are there."
Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."

"I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?" said the Spider to the Fly.
"There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in!"
Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "for I've often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!"

Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, " Dear friend what can I do,
To prove the warm affection I 've always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that's nice;
I'm sure you're very welcome -- will you please to take a slice?"
"Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "kind Sir, that cannot be,
I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!"

"Sweet creature!" said the Spider, "you're witty and you're wise,
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I've a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you'll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself."
"I thank you, gentle sir," she said, "for what you 're pleased to say,
And bidding you good morning now, I'll call another day."

The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
"Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple -- there's a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!"

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue --
Thinking only of her crested head -- poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlour -- but she ne'er came out again!

And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne'er give heed:
Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


After several days of the stomach bug flying through our house and biting each of us one-by-one (it's the only time I'm thankful for a small family!) we're all feeling better... thank you for the prayers!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Last One Standing--Prayer Request

My family has the stomach flu. Nasty stuff. It began on Thursday evening, hit one boy hard for 24 hours and now he's fine. Today it got my husband, and just a bit ago, my other son. I feel fine right now, but I fear it's only a matter of time.

If you would, say a prayer for me. MS and fevers are a very bad mix, and I would love to skirt this one. Thank you!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Make Sense?

I recently overheard someone bemoaning the fact that all too often 'life doesn't make sense'. I concurred in my mind, but my thoughts immediately expanded on the whole idea. Usually when we think of life not making sense, it is due to something negative going on, something in which we simply do not see the good. Whereas, when life is rolling smoothly along (and the way we want it to), it doesn't occur to us whether there is any sense in it: it's good, of course it makes sense! But the more I think about it, especially in the context of our Catholic faith, the more I wonder which scenario really makes more sense.

This temporal life, our faith tells us, is a 'valley of tears'. Isn't it par for that course if we are presented with a degree of suffering that likely doesn't measure up to our desire for an easy life? Isn't that suffering, in fact, a mercy of God? An opportunity to offer to Him penance in this life, and thus, hopefully, lessen our Purgatorial 'time', and that of others, in the next? This makes sense to me. I'm a sinner. Sin requires reparation. Our Lord gives me opportunity to make reparation.

To me, it's God's obvious blessings in our lives that are harder for me to reconcile, because I don't deserve them! I'm thankful for them, but why am I so blessed?! The only answer is God's boundless love for me. My deserving or not deserving His blessings is irrelevant, I think. He loves me, that is all.

To give personal example to all of the above, I relate it to my life with MS. This chronic and progressive condition has been an unwelcome guest in my body for 16+ years now. I believe with all my heart that I have it for a reason (and that it is not simply the luck of the draw). If I didn't believe in God's control, and near presence to me in this, I would be miserable indeed!

What is more amazing to me though, is that He did not ask me to carry this cross alone. Along with the MS, just a few years later, Our Lord allowed me (with the help of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, but that's another post!) to meet the man who would become my husband.

On Good Friday this year we will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. And even after all these years, and as my condition progresses along, it never ceases to amaze me how good, how loving, how generous, how absolutely perfect my husband is with and for me. Truly my cross is his cross. And he is teaching our boys to be just like him.

I am blessed beyond measure, and honestly, it doesn't make sense! I don't deserve it! But then, who of us deserves the abundant blessings of Our Lord? It is most humbling.

And so, to come full circle, though there are times I wonder where in the world there is anything good in MS, if I keep my eyes on Our Lord and His eternal purposes, I can see where this negative in my life does make sense. But His blessings on my life--the 'good' things--my husband, my family, these can only, in my mind, be explained through faith in Our loving Lord and His endless mercy on His children. Not because I deserve it, but simply because He loves me.

Make sense?