Ladydale Diary

St. Vincent of Saragossa, 2021

I’m writing this week’s Diary entry on Saturday evening, a sure sign that I’ve had a particularly frenetic week. Usually I try to avoid working at the weekend, unless I’m travelling, endeavouring to keep Saturdays and Sundays sacrosanct for family-time.

It’s been a good week in terms of achievement but it’s also been a case of overload, mostly due to a convergence of deadlines.

Here’s a summary of what’s transpired since the last Diary entry.

Last Friday, eight days ago, I gave an online interview with Adrian Ahlquist for the website of the Society of G. K. Chesterton, the focus of which was my conversion and Chesterton’s role in it, which was so considerable that I always state that it was the most important single influence, under grace, on my embrace of the creed and teachings of the Church.

A quiet weekend with the family culminated on Sunday evening in my taking time out to spend an hour or so taking part in an online “fireside chat” with a couple of wonderful priests, discussing Tolkien, which was streamed to their parish and beyond.

On Monday my colleagues and I concluded our discussion for the FORMED Book Club of Thomas Howard’s book, Chance or the Dance?. I’m now hoping to find the time to write something on this wonderful book, possibly for Catholic World Report.

In my capacity as Director of Book Publishing at the Augustine Institute, which I don’t often talk about in the Diary, I’m working on bringing two excellent books to publication: The Music of Christendom: A History by Susan Treacy, a good friend and former colleague of mine on the Faculty of Ave Maria University, and The Art of Living by Edward Sri, who was a friend of Susannah’s when they were both at Franciscan University in Steubenville. Both of these books will be published in the early summer and are well worth checking out.

I’ve also been editing the essays, poems and book reviews submitted to the St. Austin Review in preparation of the March/April issue, which will be on the theme of “Lenten Illuminatons: The Light of the Cross”.

On Tuesday evening I gave the first of a two online lectures on The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton for the Institute of Catholic Culture. The second lecture will be given this coming Tuesday.

On Wednesday I continued to teach the course on “Romanticizing the Middle Ages” for Homeschool Connections, focusing on the poetry of Wordsworth and Coleridge.

On Thursday I managed to set a day aside to continue with the writing of my history of Catholic England. I had a great day’s writing during which I wrote the entirety of what will be the penultimate chapter (3,500 words). Only one more chapter and a brief epilogue to go. Almost there! It’s like running a marathon (not that I’ve ever run a marathon!).

On Thursday evening, we had a fun moment as a family as we counted down to the twenty-first second of the twenty-first minute of the twenty-first hour of the twenty-first day of the twenty-first year of the twenty-first century. I even broke out in a spontaneous rhyme that “twenty-one is plenty fun”, which won’t go down as the best rhyming couplet I’ve ever composed.

In addition to the foregoing, I’ve written my weekly essay for the Imaginative Conservative, in which I pick an argument with both Dante and Milton, my editorial for StAR on the aforementioned theme, and an essay for Inside the Vatican, entitled “Timeless Truths for Troublous Times”.

And yesterday morning I gave my weekly interview for the Son Rise Morning Show, in which we discussed the two lectures I’m doing for the ICC on The Everlasting Man, and then, also in the morning, I gave my weekly lecture to the group from Santiago in Chile on Homer’s Iliad.

Much ground has been covered. The race has been run. This morning I went to confession (it was needed!) and now it’s finally time to relax, which I’m currently doing with a bottle of the abbey ale produced by the Benedictine monks of Nursia. It’s a Belgian-style ale brewed in Italy by mostly American monks. Is this not Christendom at its best! I am painfully aware, however, that today is the feast of St. Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of winemakers. Is it a sin to drink ale instead of wine today? If it is, I’ll need to schedule the next confession, only hours after the last one!

And on that rather ridiculous note, I’ll simply raise my glass to all my friends in the Inner Sanctum and say Cheers!