In That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis tells the story of Mark Studdock, a servile man who ironically comes to realize his true freedom in the limitation of a jail cell. However unpleasant it may be, we have it on good authority that “being at close quarters with death” can actually be good medicine for the soul, especially for the Christian soul. Like Boethius and greater men before him, Mark Studdock receives a great blessing in his incarceration (as he comes to see later on). But how can jail time confer a blessing?
I am reading Homer. Each day, I pick up the book and think of a beautiful thing I share with all people who read Homer: time to read Homer.
Several things are needful for a contemplative life, and all of them plague me with guilt. For a quiet place, a quiet mind, and a worthy subject, all three, I am deeply thankful. Of their fragility I am sorely aware.
What is the purpose of our leisure? This question has been simmering in my mind since I first encountered the idea of schole several years ago. It’s a lovely concept, particularly appealing to us homeschool moms whose days are typically busy, demanding, and, if we are not careful, chaotic. Many of us are thus inspired to order our days around a “liturgy,” implementing periods of work and rest in the pattern of our weeks and years and sharing in a “feast” of good books, music, and art with our children, and all are good and noble pursuits.
A common theme I encounter in conversations with other home educators each spring, and often into the summer months, concerns preparation for the upcoming year. I’ve been classically homeschooling for over twenty-five years, and the liturgy of this assessing and planning season is an integral part of my own life, too—as fundamental to it as preparing for both daily needs and important yearly celebrations like Christmas and Easter.
Where does literature fit in a well-ordered life?
That’s a question I try to get my students to ask on the last day of “Civilization and Literature,” a core humanities course I teach at Grove City College. A small percentage of these young men and women will never teach a literary text. The lion’s share never blink at the prospect of a PhD in English. (And thank heaven, since someone needs to keep the world running.) What part will the classics play in their lives five years from now, ten years from now, twenty?
Tracy Lee Simmons notes that it was little more than a century ago that the word “classical” did not need to modify the word “education.” While it is true that all schooling was itself classical, it also true that we can too easily assume its basic meaning, for we breathe, all of us, the amnesiac air of the Modern world. And when the realities of college applications, SAT scores, transcripts, and college recommendations begin to bear down, it is easy, even for classical institutions, to lose their way.