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When asked to review the newly (re)published Around the Year with the von Trapp Family, I didn’t hesitate. Knowing Maria von Trapp (of Sound of Music fame), I knew the book would be beautifully written and full of vintage truths…
…and knowing Sophia Institute Press, I knew that the book itself would be beautiful.
–>YOU CAN PREVIEW IT YOURSELF BY CLICKING ON THIS LINK.
Around the Year is a smallish-sized but heavy volume. It is a delightful read, full-to-bursting with songs, stories and recipes. The illustrations, too, are lovely. This is a book to build your library. This is a book for families just starting out. This is a book that, for older moms like me, hearkens back to a time when traditions were new and hope ran high.
Once upon a time, I needed help figuring out how to live the Catholic liturgy, and because Facebook and Instagram were not yet a thing, I turned to other mom blogs to help me.
And I blogged myself. The feedback and support were great!
Now there are resources by the dozens and sponsored posts that want your money. What distinguishes one Pinterest-worthy idea from the next? What makes the grade (or ought to) when it comes to raising faithful Catholics?
That I can tell you in one word: Tradition.
(Sorry. I’m quoting an entirely different musical there.)
But it’s true.
I started writing this review on the Feast of St. Lucy. Early that morning, I sent three teen-aged daughters off to school with dry little Lucia buns in hand, having killed the yeast the night before. (The milk was too hot; my dough didn’t rise.) I knew without a doubt that I would buy new yeast and try again that afternoon, because (okay, I’m a perfectionist) but also because these traditions matter.
I baked with my two little boys still at home. I fanned the flame of good St. Lucy’s light!
With every passing year, I realize more deeply how joyful our religion is. The more one penetrates into what it means to be Catholic, the fuller life becomes.” –Maria von Trapp, Around the Year with the von Trapp Family
* * *
It’s now three days later, December 16th, and I’m finishing this review on the third Sunday of Advent. What does that mean for a practicing Catholic? It means the priest wears pink vestments (rose-colored, actually) and we light the third (pink) candle on our Advent wreath. That’s what it’s like around here, anyway; traditions may vary in your home and/or parish. What matters most is that your faith is lived, and I love this book for showing me a hundred ways how.
It’s a cozy read with a cup of tea or coffee about a family that truly lived the liturgical year. They loved the Lord; loved our Lady and the saints; and clearly, they loved to eat and drink. Who doesn’t? But when done in moderation—in seasons of fast and feast—it’s so much better.
The rum balls, the fruit cakes, the gingerbread tastes…better.
(I doubt, however, that I’ll be making the Roast Suckling Pig on page 64.)
* * *
Having only just started reading this coffee-table-worthy tome, I’m looking forward to learning about liturgical traditions of old. I didn’t know, for example, that Carnival comes from the words “Carne, vale” which in Latin means “Meat, farewell.” (Meatless Fridays in Lent; such a cross for my husband!) I am filled with a holy hope and longing for the sort of culture that Maria von Trapp describes–an environment that might be fostered…bit by bit, song by song, candle by candle…in my home.
Here we come to realize the true reason the Church takes so many pains to teach us how to celebrate; how to live life as one long, uninterrupted solemn feast. She does this so that, on the crucial day, we shall be able to apply the wisdom gathered over a long time and celebrate as the greatest feast of all our departure for the heavenly Jerusalem.”
Amen to that.
Pass the plum pudding.