Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Lenten Penances for Bibliophiles
Fr. _____ and I were discussing appropriate Lenten penitential practices. I thought Fr.'s definition of the kind of book one can legitimately buy during Lent, particularly helpful, ie: the sort of book one would need if one were aware of its existence.
We share a kind of mystical mind about bookbuying. There are books that are simply meant for you, and that are waiting in bookshops for you to come and retrieve them. The small matter of cash exchanging hands is beside the point. Of the little rectangular bits of coloured paper, there will always be more sooner or later, if one only waits long enough. Of that book, there is only the one, since it is (usually) at least 50 years out of print and you may never see it again.
It's a game really. God spends His free evenings placing these books, like easter eggs in the garden, onto the shelves of bookshops for us and watches chuckling indulgently as we blunder about hunting for them.
Fr. Underscore wrote:
What I am doing for Lent is walking briskly to Abelard and back every day, no matter how cold it is while saying the Jesus prayer. That much I have determined I can keep up, I think. What I am not sure about is going to Abelard and not making at least a token purchase.
Not entirely convinced that daily book-shopping is a legitimate Lenten penance for such as we. I suppose taking a daily three mile walk in the freezing cold could qualify though.
Mine is much simpler. Go to Mass every day and do not give up the practise of the Faith or lapse into despair.
Fr. U wrote:
What I'm trying to decide is whether occasionally buying a book (only of course when it is something one has long wanted or needed or would have wanted or needed had one only known about it) might not be justifiable. I find for long nasty walks one should have some kind of temporal goal in mind, as well.
P.S. Maybe it's okay to get a book if one doesn't stop off at Second Cup for a latte?
As I was walking back from getting Ashed this morning, I was re-thinking my criticism of Father Underscore's pentitential plan. It was about -13 C. this morning and the fifteen minutes it takes to get from there back to the comfort of my eremetical stylos, was quite enough for me!
I am sure that God will understand the necessity of stopping off for a latte on the way home.