It was July 16, 2011. Quill had introduced me to Saint Louis de Montfort’s Total Consecration to Mary and we decided to make the Consecration together, reminding each other to say the preparatory prayers for each of the 33 days. Our first Consecration was on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel–July 16th.
In preparation for it, I decided to practice my calligraphy by writing out the Act of Consecration for him and mailing it to him. Halfway through it, the beginning of a paragraph reads, “I, ________, a faithless sinner…” This froze me up. It was one thing to acknowledge myself as a faithless sinner, but someone else? My best friend, my greatest spiritual influence? Some part of me wanted to just leave it blank and make him fill it in. It was uncomfortable. It was difficult. So much so that it made me blow my own surprise in order to ask him about it. And he requested I write it in myself, gently reminding me that we are all faithless sinners.
Last year (2012) I hurriedly wrote out my own Act of Consecration in my sketchbook while at work. This year, I took my time on my own Act of Consecration. (I make it a policy to hand-write it for myself every year.) Six pages of calligraphy later (done in brush pen on semi-gloss paper straight off the school printers), my hand was killing me–a small penance. As I wrote, I meditated on that line. “I, [Ink], a faithless sinner…” And I remembered back to the time I wrote it for him. Though I was (and still am) not qualified in the least to speak in his voice, it was no less true–because we are all faithless sinners. It may take someone else to see the best in us, and we may see the best in others, but that does not make it any less true–that we are, in fact, all faithless sinners. And sometimes we need to relate to each other as one sinner to another.
To any of my readers who are thinking about this devotion, I would recommend it. And I’m praying for you.
I’m supposed to be working, but I can’t focus right now and have too many non-architecture-related thoughts bouncing around my head. I’m not sleeping tonight anyway… maybe I’ll take a short nap after my second or third sheet of drawings. I miss drafting geometries. But none of this has ANYTHING to do with the post I wanted to write.
I have a strange habit of naming almost everything. My laptop’s name is Valerie (my house’s network is Princess Bride themed)… my sewing machine is named Barbara. My umbrella, an eight-colour rainbow (I have ALWAYS wanted one) is named Roy (ba-dum-kssh) and my Mayline (parallel ruler for drafting) is named Michael. One of my architecture friends taped a nametag to Michael: “Hello I am Michael the Mayline!!!” After seeing it every day for a while now (I lose track of time so easily), I realized–every time I see its name, I think of Saint Michael. Upon Googling, I realized that both Valerie and Roy are saints as well. I discovered Barbara to be the patron saint of architects after I had named my sewing machine. I see a trend here… a trend in saints. The names I assign to my objects remind me of the Communion of Saints on a regular basis–this often reminds me to check in with them, pray, say a Hail Mary–to connect with them in some way. So I think everyone ought to name their objects and use the names to remind them of their patron saints, or saints with whom they would like to have a special relationship.
Please forgive me if this entire post is incoherent–it is far later than I am willing to admit in a place where my mother can see it.
Last summer, I was struck by a bolt of inspiration–to draw a Holy Family where Joseph was not completely in shadow. I felt like he deserved a little more credit. Plus, I’d just gotten a set of Prismacolor pencils for Christmas but hadn’t had a chance to use them much and, like any child with a little-used toy, wanted to play with them. The result is below. (Disclaimer: the reason they do not have faces is because I am terrible at faces when I don’t have a reference. Plus, I like it this way–simpler. Smoother. But still very obviously the Holy Family.) Click for full size.
Today is the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel! This title for Our Lady is the one most closely associated with the Brown Scapular.
Story: Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, Superior General of the Carmelite Order (this was shortly after its founding) and presented to him the Brown Scapular: the “Garment of Grace.” With the wearing of the Brown Scapular comes many graces, one of which is that those who wear the Scapular will not see the fires of hell–however, the Scapular reminds those who wear it of their devotion to Mary, not their invincibility.
Good sites to check out (they’re pretty concise):