The Catholic Association
Ep. 267 Holly Ordway Talks Lord of the Rings & Emily Malloy on Embracing the Seasons

Episode Description

With a new Lord of the Rings series coming this summer, we discuss the devout Catholic faith of its famed author, J.R.R. Tolkien with Holly Ordway of Word on Fire. Despite a strongly anti-Catholic culture during the early 20th century, Holly shares how the award winning author and Roman Catholic from boyhood never shrank from affirming his faith. He saw his beloved series as a, “fundamentally religious and Catholic work.”

We also discuss the beauty of the divine as witnessed through the seasons with Emily Malloy, who joins to discuss her new book, Arranging the Seasons. In this fourth Theology of Home installment, Emily explores the vibrancy and life of the garden and its deeper connection to our own efforts to cultivate relationships with God and family.

Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily for Corpus Christi as he continues his trek along the Seton Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage during this 25th anniversary year of his priestly ordination.


Holly Ordway is the Cardinal Francis George Professor of Faith and Culture at the Word on Fire Institute and Professor of Apologetics at Houston Christian University. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is Subject Editor for the Journal of Inklings Studies. An award-winning author, her books include Tolkien’s Faith: A Spiritual Biography, Tolkien’s Modern Reading: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages, and Tales of Faith: A Guide to Sharing the Gospel through Literature.

Emily Malloy is a writer, author, and creator of the Theology of Home. She began her career as an apprentice in a Philadelphia flower shop where she learned the science and artistry of floral design from sweeping petals off the floor to management and social media marketing. She also used her talents as a social media specialist, recipe developer, and copywriter for Wakefern Corporation. Her work has appeared in Elle Décor, Green Wedding Shoes, and Feast Your Eyes. Emily and her husband live in Mississippi with their four children.

Father Roger Landry is a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts. He writes for numerous publications, speaks on radio and TV, and is the author of the book, Plan of Life: Habits to Help You Grow Closer to God. He is a graduate of Harvard and the Pontifical North American College in Rome, and was Attaché to the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission to the UN in New York. Father Landry is set to embark on the full 1500-mile Eucharist Pilgrimage this summer.

The following transcript is machine generated.

Episode 267 Transcript

GrazieHello friends, and welcome to Conversations with Consequences. We are the radio show and podcast of the Catholic Association where we aim to change the culture one conversation at a time. You can listen to conversations with Consequences on the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network Saturday mornings at 7 a.m. Eastern, or catch the encore at 5 p.m.. We are also on Sirius XM Channel one third, of course, our radio show is always podcast.
Go to the Catholic Association Dawgs podcasts, or directly to wherever you listen to your podcast. It's great to be back with you today on Conversations with Consequences. Thank you for joining us this week. As you do. Week after week, we have a great show we hope lined up for you today. We will be talking to Emily Malloy of Theology of the Home.
She's out with a new book that celebrates the seasons, integrates helping you to integrate the celebration of the seasons through flowers and decoration in your home as a pathway to beauty. We're excited to talk to Emily. My colleague Maureen Ferguson will be joining me for that part of the show. We will also be including I'll be reading from my a piece that I that I published and Angela's news.
I published a piece on my experiences with women who regret their abortions and suffer with the guilt and the desire for mercy and the inability to to really accept forgiveness and mercy from God. I hope you like that. But first, we welcome to the show Holly Ordway. She's with Word on Fire Institute, and she has written a book on Tolkien and his spiritual life that I'm very excited to talk to her about.
Tolkien is one of my favorite authors here in our house. We love the Lord of the Rings and his connection to his the way that that his faith informs his work is is fascinating. Welcome to the show, Holly.
Holly Ordwayit's a pleasure to be here.
GrazieHolly, you've you've tackled in your book Tolkien's faith, a spiritual biography, one of really an enduring and enduring masterpiece, an obsession with so many people, which is Tolkien and his beautiful saga, the Lord of the Rings. And I know in my own house, for instance, I have three sons and a husband, and they're all passionate about the Lord of the Rings.
And of course, one doesn't have to be a man to be passionate about the Lord of the Rings and the things, the beautiful stories that it tells and the truths that it conveys. But definitely it's it's something that that men and boys adore. And I'm really glad that you've you've taken this step to deepen our understanding of Tolkien's faith, because obviously it shines through in everything that he writes, but maybe sometimes those are those details are opaque, too, to us who don't know so much about him.
I wonder if this is the reason that you wrote your book Tolkien's faith.
Holly OrdwayWell, one of the reasons I wrote it is that his faith really has been not explored. Broadly speaking, there's no book that deals with it. There's no full length treatment of his faith and the current biographers. These are some biographers. They'll mention that he's a Christian, that he's a Catholic, but then kind of move on. You know, for instance, his major biographer, Humphrey Carpenter, acknowledges that he was a devout Catholic, but attributes it entirely to a devotion to his mother, who is, you know, who became a Catholic and then died when he was a boy.
And I found this just really unsatisfactory because he endured a lot of suffering, a lot of difficulties in his life. He went grew up and lived his life at a time when it was very difficult to be Catholic in 20th century England. And it seemed to me that there had to be more to his story of faith than just a show of emotional attachments.
And and I was right. There's really a lot a lot there, a lot more to his faith, a lot more substance to it, a lot more nuances and depths. And I discovered that it was really hard one, that it really was a generous, generous, spirited face. It was just much more dynamic and much more interesting than even I who had been here thinking and writing about talking for 30 years, even than I expected.
And I also realized that if Catholics may not realize the depths of his faith, there are so many readers of Tolkien who don't know anything at all about his faith. They may not even know that he was a Christian. Little or Catholic. And so to help them to understand something about the life of this man whose work they admire so much, I really wanted to do that because not only is there no book that really treats his faith biographically, the books that discuss his Christian faith typically tend to assume a shared commitment with the reader.
They assume that the reader is already a Christian, knows all the references. What does it mean to say he had a marian devotion or a devotion to the Eucharist? There there's so many millions of Tolkien fans for whom those words are a complete mystery. And I thought this is an aspect of their favorite authors life that they don't have any access to.
Let me open the way to them. And that's that's another thing that I was trying to do in this biography.
GrazieI was just in England, and I think you have just come back from England. One of the places that we visited was the Blackfriars Church in Oxford, where Tolkien attended Mass every day and served a mass in a in a little side altar. And that was a day let.
Holly OrdwayMe actually that's that's not that's not accurate, I'm afraid.
Grazieno, thank you. No, no. Tell me, please, because I know that these sometimes these there were like, urban myths right around our favorite authors.
Holly OrdwayExactly. And it's interesting because many people will take they just say automatically, the Tolkien went to Mass Daily. There's no evidence that he did. He certainly was a regular mass goer. And he believed in the importance of frequently going to mass. But with his extremely busy schedule, he had four children, a busy professional, very busy professional life. He went regularly and encouraged that, but not necessarily every day.
And Blackfriars was not the church that he would have been going to regularly, and in Oxford it would have been either his parish church, St Gregory Augustine, or it would have been, say, Alicia's Blackfriars. He did have an interesting connection there, which was there were two connections. One is that he did serve at Mass once there when there was a mass said for the repose of the soul, of the soul of his friend Charles Williams, and he served a mass there.
But that was a bit of an exceptional case. That wasn't a church that he normally attended. But also interestingly, it was at Blackfriars that he read his stories. Smith would major for the first time as part of an interesting as part of an ecumenical endeavor. It was a joint activity with Pusey House next door houses, the Anglo Catholic House in Oxford, and they had a joint lecture series on literature and the Understanding of life.
And Tolkien was one of the one of the speakers and he chose to read his newly written story, sort of would major and the house was packed. They had people overflowing into the hallways. It's like 700 people, and they normally expected about 100. So he did have a connection with Blackfriars in that sense. This was in the in the late sixties.
GrazieWell, the myth has been propagated. And when one visits black Friar, one is told in great detail what I just told you. And interestingly, they're the the images of the way of the cross that we are told and maybe this is not true either, that the images of Pontius Pilate and the other Roman torturers, they look like his trials, not the trials, what are they called the or the marks?
They look they do look like orcs. So maybe that's not true either, but whatever. I think it's wonderful that he was ever at Blackfriars. And thank you for clearing that up for us. Many of our readers, even though they're Catholic and they have read Tolkien, they may not know that his mother was a convert. You mentioned his mother earlier.
His mother was a convert, which was a tremendous as you said, there was there was a bigotry against Catholics in England. She suffered from from both sides of her family, from the her husband's family and hers. She suffered rejection for converting. She was a widow when she converted or maybe she converted just before her husband died, when when talking was very young and his brother and Tolkien himself called his mother a martyr.
So there must be a martyr to her faith because of her hardship that she endured. So there must be a very beautiful connection, which doesn't tell the whole story. But I assume that the connection is there.
Holly Ordwayyes. It was a huge, tremendous influence on on his entire life. So Tolkien's father, Arthur, died when he was only four years old. So he he had his mother was widowed quite young and she at that point was still an Anglican, moved to Birmingham with her two boys again, still still an Anglican. And it was there as she's raising her two sons as a widow, that she becomes a Catholic and she does it.
She is received in the church and then becomes a parishioner at the Birmingham Oratory, which really becomes informational in Tolkien's life because the spirituality of the oratory is, well, this thing I unpack in the book quite, quite a lot is really important in his life. But interestingly, it was also a really savvy choice on his mother's part, because one of the things I discovered in my research was that the oratorios in Birmingham, they were themselves almost all converts.
So they understood that journey that she had taken. And also they were particularly supportive of convert women because at that time it was quite common for, for instance, grandparents or in-laws to try to have lawsuits to take away the children of convert women. my, yeah. To prevent them being raised, you know, as, as terrible Papists. And so she was really vulnerable as a widow with two sons and she's raising in the Catholic faith now and with her entire family very unhappy about this.
So her becoming connected with the Birmingham Oratory really shows a lot of sort of prudence and wisdom in her choice. And it's from the group of oratorios that they meet, Father Francis Morgan, who becomes then the boy's guardian. And, you know, Mabel died and his mother, Mabel died when he was 12. And so it's under Father Francis's care that the boys then then grow up.
And so Tolkien always did see his mother as, you know, as a white martyr, as a martyr to her faith, because they were living in a fair bit of poverty, because the family had cut off financial support to to his mother as a, you know, an inducement, a pressure to get her to come back to the Anglican fold.
And, you know, she she so easily could have and then it would have made life easier for her, you know, she would have had the approval of her in-laws and her own parents. She would have had more financial support, but she stuck firm to her faith, even though it cost her strain and suffering and poverty. And I think that commitment really resonated with Tolkien.
GrazieTell our listeners about Stepping Stones in his face or his journey of faith, because I imagine it's not as simple as as being. Well, you just said it's not as simple as loving your mother and understanding her her tremendous devotion to the faith and wanting to emulate her in that there must have been tremendous challenges going and living as a Catholic in in an anti-Catholic England.
Holly OrdwayAbsolutely. And one of the first was right after his mother dies because he's now an orphan at age 12. And he later wrote of his guardian father, Francis Morgan, that Father Francis, who taught him charity and forgiveness. And I think that's significant because he's recalling the way that Father Francis had mentored him and and helped him get through the difficulties of grieving for his mother.
And one of the neat things about Father Francis guardianship is that he could have just sort of put the boys in a protective bubble and insulated them from any contact with their, you know, extended family who are all Protestants. And instead, he he actually encouraged the boys to develop and renew relationships with with their grandparents, with their aunts and uncles and cousins.
So by the time talking to a teenager, he has positive relationships with his extended family. And I think that's part of that learning of charity and forgiveness that he got from Father Francis, because he must have been resentful of the way that his extended family had been pulled away from his mother when she became a Catholic. And yet he was able to learn how to relate with them, even though they still didn't approve of him being a Catholic and he was still a Catholic, he was able to have these these positive relationships.
And I think that's a really challenging thing for him to go through and he and a big step in his faith. And then he has a whole struggle that he has to deal with. He falls in love with this girl, Edith, who eventually becomes his wife. But Father Francis forbade him to see her for three years until he came of age, because he was basically so distracted by his love for Edith that he wasn't doing his studies.
And he failed his first attempt at a scholarship exam. And so far the. Francis No, no, you cannot see her until you, you know, and so you come of age. And the astonishing thing is that Tolkien obeyed. It was really hard and painful for him. He admitted that and he could have chosen to deceive his guardian because he went off to Oxford.
He was still under this obligation. He could have written to Edith and Father Francis wouldn't have known, but he kept his word because he loved it. He loved Father Francis as a second father, and he recognized that he had owed older obedience to him and afterwards said, you know, reflecting on this, that really that three year stint was the only and I was the only thing that would have allowed a boyish, boyish love to harden into a firm commitment, which it did.
You know, he did reconnect with Edith and they did get married and they were married for 55 years until, you know, until she died. So but that was also very challenging. And he had to come to grips with, you know, what does it mean to be obedient? What does it mean to to sacrifice for, you know, for someone you love?
He gets through that. And then what? What happens just momentarily after his his wedding, He's just finished his honeymoon, basically. And he has to go off to the front lines of World War One where he served as a signals officer and he was in the trenches. He was fighting at the Battle of the Somme. And this is a tremendously devastating experience.
And he gets through it with his faith intact, his health severely damaged because he contracted trench fever, which became chronic, and he was never really quite well again. So again, another major challenge as he's facing a problem of evil, you know, face to face, he comes through it. And then interestingly, after the war, he goes through a dry spell, a period of probably some years where he says, I almost ceased to practice my religion.
I didn't really see he almost ceased. But it's definitely a barren stretch. And, you know, all sorts of things have been going on their reaction after the war. But he went through a barren stretch and then he he restores his faith and then he he becomes stronger in his faith. He comes back to Oxford and there's a renewed commitment to it.
And from from then on, it's, you know, it's is really well grounded. But I think it's really helpful to realize that when we look at the mature talk in Oxford, this major conflict. Yeah, that he went through some real ups and downs. It was not always easy for him by any means, and he had to learn to continue with his his life of faith, even even when he fell dry.
GrazieIf you're just joining us, I'm your host is Dr. Gracie Christy, and we're talking to Holly Ordway. She's the author of several books on J.R.R. Tolkien, including the latest called Tolkien's Faith A Spiritual Biography. Holly Ordway is the Cardinal Francis George, professor of faith and culture at the World on Fire Institute and a visiting professor of apologetics at Houston Christian University.
She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is a subject editor for the Journal of Inklings Studies. Holly. Connect. Connect, if you can, in a concise way, because this is an enormous topic. Tolkien's spirit, his his Catholic spirituality, he and his and the Lord of the Rings, which I think is very important because many of us, even though we may be practicing Catholics and have a lot of theology under our belts, it's hard for us to understand the allegory and the myth and Lord of the Rings inside of it.
In view of the Christian of the Christian story.
Holly OrdwayWell, I think, you know, Tolkien explained it concisely by one letter by saying that The Lord of the Rings is a fundamentally religious and Catholic work. And that word fundamental, I think, is important. Then he goes on to say that it was because of that, that he cut out almost all references to religion in the work. And I think that paradox is important.
Like, wait a second, he just says is fundamentally religious and Catholic. And that's why he cut out all the overt references. And it is because he goes on to say that the religious element is in the story and the symbolism it's imbued in it. Now, he's quite clear that the Lord of the Rings is not an allegory. There's no there's no specific 1 to 1 correspondences.
There's quite a lot of what he calls applicability. Like we can recognize, for instance, that there are there are many Christ figures in the story. You know, Frodo is or is a Christ figure as a suffering servant, Aragorn is a Christ figure as Christ the King. Gandalf is a Christ figure in his death and resurrection, but there's not a 1 to 1 pattern.
But what we have is an underlying ethos that imbues the whole thing because he is so deeply grounded in his faith that that it comes out. He's very clear that the God of Middle Earth is the one God, it is God. So we see, for instance, Providence working through through the whole story and the workings of the importance of mercy and pity and cooperating with providence are really important theme throughout the whole book.
And of course, there are lots of other sort of gleams. There's Marian images like Galadriel is is a variant figure, and the Lambeth Spread has very much a Eucharistic connection and it has a very Eucharistic tone to it, a resonance to what you might say. And so these are all things that if we understand that it's fundamentally Catholic, we can we can catch them.
They're like gleams. But what really is the bedrock is his understanding of basically the way the world works. There is such a thing as as good, such a thing as evil.
GrazieDo you think that people who read Tolkien and again, it's so popular amongst young people, especially young men, I think it's that's at least my experience. Do you think that people who read or watch his movies or watch the movies of the books? Are they are they able to imbibe even though they don't understand Christian or Catholic theology, You think they're getting that that spiritual help that that is that is fundamental to his work?
Holly OrdwayYes, I think so. And I think that's exactly what Tolkien was getting at. He didn't want to do it overtly. That wasn't that just wasn't the way he worked. But he talks at one point about wanting it to be exemplary, that he wanted it to show forth, you know, certain virtues into, you know, into the world. And I think we get that.
I mean, people really do respond to what they're finding in The Lord of the Rings. And I think that's because it's the reality of it that Tolkien is is presenting. And certainly that was case for me. I mean, I'm a convert and I loved Lord of the Rings long before I knew anything about anything, Christian. It's something that some one of his one of his fans wrote him a letter and said that The Lord of the Rings seemed to be full of a light from an invisible lamp.
And I've always thought that was a really insightful comment from a reader, because that light does kind of pour out of the Lord of the Rings. You have this is true heroism and true suffering that you're suffering for a worthy cause, self-sacrifice and beauty and beauty that's more real than evil. And that's fundamentally a Christian understanding of the world, but it's accessible to people who maybe are are off put by Christianity or don't understand Christianity.
They're going to respond to the beauty of it because they're responding to what the real thing and even the fundamental structure of the story. Tolkien wrote in his essay on fairy stories, that the reason that we respond to the unexpected happy ending like we get in a lot of the rings. We respond to it because it's a hint of the resurrection, because the resurrection of Christ is the happy ending of the story of the Incarnation.
And the Incarnation is the happy ending of the story of human history. So every time our heart lifts, that's a happy ending in a story. We're really participating in some way in the cosmic joy of the resurrection. And since that's real, whether you recognize it or not, everyone is able to kind of be touched by that a little bit as they're reading.
Graziethat's quite perfect. Holly, thank you so much for explaining that so beautifully. And and thank you for writing your book. It's called Tolkien's Faith A Spiritual Biography. We highly recommend it at Conversations of Consequences and Work and our listeners buy it.
Holly OrdwayWell, you can get it directly through the publisher. Word on fire, if you would. A word on fire at Mortgage Tolkien. And that's the fastest way to get it. And you can also buy it on Amazon.
GrazieWell, wonderful. Thank you so much, Holly, and good luck with your book.
Holly OrdwayRight. Thanks very much.
GrazieFriends, I am a columnist for Angelus News, which is the publication of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. And it's one of my favorite one of my favorite things that I do. You can find their work at Angelus And they have wonderful writers, of which I am the least wonderful. And I'm always proud to be in in that circle.
I'm its I love Angelus news and my writing there because I am able to be as entirely Catholic and spiritual as I feel all the time. And that's a that's a great release. And I really can give vent to, to all the ways in which my my faith, my relationship with Christ, my, my daughter, hood in the church are all the all the ways that these things are the water in which I swim.
I mean, it's I don't want to say that they they excite me or they enthuse me. They're just they are just who I am. And it's wonderful to be able to write in that vein. So I wrote a piece which was published a week or two ago, and it's it's an experimental kind of thing. It's I think I called it a prose poem.
I'm not sure that's technically the correct term, but it comes from many conversations I've had and work I've done with women who are suffering after an abortion and carry the the pain of of that act for many, many long years and very often find themselves at a loss as to how to reproach their relationship with God, how to come back to the church, how to come back to a sense of themselves as as were the daughters of God, how to accept the forgiveness and the mercy that God offers them, that they know God offers them, but they feel unable to to embrace.
And of course, this doesn't just apply to women, it applies to men, and it even applies to people who haven't lost a child through abortion, but maybe have lost a child in an abortion of a of a daughter or a niece or some or a sister, someone that they loved and they were not able to they were not able to to be the person that that that could have remedied that situation before that fatal step was taken.
And they they carry that guilt with them. So this is what this prose poem is about, and I hope you enjoy it. It is an age old grief, a dirty drug, old bird that perches in a corner of my mind. It keeps quiet. Mostly, though, his silence is heavy, a brooding silence that I can almost touch. Once in a while, less often, thankfully, than before.
He calls the guilt that only I can hear. I halt whatever I am doing and listen. I'm glad when the sound fades. I'm not complaining. There were years when the nasty beast sat on my shoulder, peering baleful at the doings of my life. I would feed him bits of myself, the bits that seemed to belong to him by rights.
It was wrong of me to do this. I know it now, although I certainly knew it then. How did I read the word mercy? Written on countless pages and in many languages? How did I known since childhood of the forgiving flood that poured over the world, first on the torture rack of Golgotha above the city, and ever since ceaselessly repeating on sacrificial altars everywhere I went, seeking mercy.
Yes. And sounded out the litanies soothed by their insistent rhythms. I assented eagerly, and hopefully I believe, helped my unbelief in curtained tiny alcoves. I knelt, waiting for the bath of grace. It flowed through the pierced veil from dimly seen lips worn with the breath of men and taps over. But my dingy feathered tormentor waited just outside the sanctuary, crying, knowing my hope would wilt in the hot sun.
What did he cry in his cracked, evil voice? But the simple truth the young girl, gifted with a staunch faith, had grown up to disappoint. Her wings failed her in her first awkward sally into a degraded world. She who should have flown sank instead. Nothing very strange here, you say. This is the self-same story of every human soul.
Only one daughter of Eve walked with clean, pure feet on the earth. Only one woman had nothing to shake off her souls. When she took a wing. But that said Crow in the corner speaks of the darkest things. There's something blacker in its wings and the ink of space gloomier than the moldy coat of a Dickensian undertaker. The prophet reviled King David.
But what is it to my sin? The theft of a poor man's only sheep. Davidson For beauty at least. And the life he took was only that of a comrade in arms. Not that of his own hidden child. My prophet bird croaks, accusing of pointless, shallow sins born of anyway. There was no overpowering burst, no pulsing love that ravished me until wickedness.
I sold a high birthright for a mess of porridge. Sticky and insipid at that. I'm not alone. I know. Beside me, March. Legions of women and men. I hear their own dark crows sometimes crying in the space behind their eyes, in cocktail parties or earnestly and sadly on the internet. The world goes on its brutal way, saying that what we hear is nothing but the clanging chains of scrupulous pity, the iron drag of dusty traditions.
The world is wrong. We have the blackbird to know it. For years now, I failed to chase my tormentor away from the shadowy places in which he lurks. But lately, I've had grace borne glimmers of an entirely different hope. I'm starting to think that I am meant to keep him close and that the splendid one has a plan for both of us.
I'm beginning to believe. I really believe that he means to turn my dark profit into a glorious thing. A shining singer of songs of joy. Not the messenger of doom. But the herald of my transformed self. Sorrowing, yes, but willing to think myself worthy of the promises of Christ. Willing to be bathed by him, made clean and new.
Lord, help me. Let you. Let me. Let you. Welcome to the show, Emily.
Emily MalloyHi. How are you doing? It's such a pleasure to be here.
GrazieWonderful. Thank you so much for joining us. You are going to tell us about your new book, which is called Theology of Home for Arranging the Seasons. And it's a beautiful book. It's a beautiful coffee table book, but it's also full of beauty that we can access for our homes and for our families and for ourselves. And before we get into your book, please tell us what is theology of home and all to tell you.
We've had your colleagues there, Harry Grass and Noel marrying have been on the show several times telling us about all their different projects and their books. Tell us, what is theology of home and and how people can can make that their own?
Emily MalloyAbsolutely. So Theology of Home is a project that was started by Kerrie and Noel. And the idea of equipping women to better live out their lives in the home, regardless of their vocation. With this idea and recognition that our time in the home is where we're preparing ourselves for our eternal home, there is several ways in which they serve women.
So we have a lot of original content that comes from a theology of home that come and they put together the most wonderful collection of great reason, and it goes out early in the morning. So it can be as a whole state of things or it can be the know certain things in the news that is of interest.
It can be a fun design piece. It usually involves something with food and also something philosophical or theological, you know, feeding the whole person right and all the interest. And then also there are four installments of a book series like you had mentioned. So there of a coffee table book esthetic with all the beautiful images inside. But more than a typical coffee table book, it's also very rich text to be found within these books with the overarching theme of preparation for women, you know, in the home life, getting ready in God's mercy to be with him forever in the next family.
So let's get to this book in particular again, of course, the challenges of home care for arranging the season. I was so delighted to be able to do a little review of this book. I found it so inspirational, so uplifting to kind of delve into the world of sort of seasonal and rhythmic natural beauty. And your book is just full of words of wisdom.
Like you said, the content is excellent. It's not just beautiful pictures, but wisdom from poets and saints and playwrights, and then also these practical how to tempt for how we can all arrange our homes according to the season. So you're a florist. Tell us how that gives you these beautiful insights into embracing God's creation and putting it on display for our families and our.
Yes, absolutely. And I think, you know, I've been sort of mind over it a lot. You know, you after you do a big project, you kind of find yourself living in a little bit of introspection. And, you know, the one thing that I realized as a florist, it really was a sort of peace. My appetite for beauty, which I think is an understatement.
But it wasn't really until I started living our life in the garden. Once I stopped working in the flower shop and was able to transition to be home with my children, I then realized I had to grow my own flowers so that I could still have this beauty in my life. It was in that sort of returning to the soil that I started to kind of see this broader picture of our our lives as human beings and God, the reality that he created us through the garden and that we were meant to turn the garden and tend to beauty and be caretakers.
You know, the beauty is an inheritance. This world is an inheritance for our children and to invite them in. And it just has gotten richer and deeper for me over the years since I left the flower shop. But what's still fun is that I can have those those skills and appreciation for beauty that I acquired during my apprenticeship in the shop.
And then as I as I grew in my role.
GrazieEmily, let me let me make the spiritual connection that you make in your book by quoting back to you. You write what we cannot see in our Creator. We can see in his creation. It is with the gift of the flower, a powerful representation of the love of God that we can bridge not only home and garden, but also the eternal and the everyday.
That's an absolutely beautiful sentiment, but I wonder if you could elaborate on that for us.
Emily MalloyAbsolutely. So I think one thing that we come to realize in our lives, particularly as mothers, that we do have this deep seated need for beauty. And, you know, sometimes it can and I suppose not just for the mother in the home, but even just women in the workplace. You know, when you kind of get to the grind of the day to day life, you know, we kind of lose sight.
You know, we become we can become so task oriented and we just have to slow down and pause. And one thing that is so great about beauty is I think it universally stops people in their tracks. I think there are also, you know, there are a lot of discussions between Roger Scruton comes to mind as far as, you know, is beauty something that is relative or is it is something where you can agree that anybody would find this one particular thing beautiful?
And I think that is something where flowers come in. You know, there's there's really no debate between whether or not, you know, flowers beguile and stop us in our tracks. And when we take this beauty and creation that just is, you know, there's it's extra, you know, whereas you know, anything else in the garden really sustains us, right?
We grow tomatoes and we have an orchard or we have a little berry bush or, you know, throw a little lettuces in the ground and cooperate with creation in that way. But that is really physically sustaining and nourishing. But what happens with flowers, I came to realize is it's those little beauties are just pure gift, you know, and they sustain something else within us.
Of course, there are some flowers that you can eat, but really it is just an invitation. I came to realize, because as we have the this encounter with beauty, as we're going through our day and we're piled up with laundry or, you know, if you're in the office and you're just, you know, writing briefs or, you know, doing whatever, and you have that moment where you find something beautiful and it catches your eye instantaneous, everything else falls away, right?
And you're given the opportunity to be present and then you're recollected. And in that moment, sometimes that is when we permit God to break in. You know, we we allow that still small voice to whisper to us or, you know, we just have that moment to pause, maybe reflect. And, Emily, you talk about this deep seated need for beauty, which I feel we need more and more.
And the world around us seems increasingly dark and confusing that need to contemplate beauty, to cultivate beauty, to create beauty in a garden, to be a co-creator with God. And and I have found I have this marvelous new flower garden. I'm a complete nonsense, but I have had so much. It's got so much joy. And I'm doing it with my daughter, who's named Lucy Toronto.
And just to sit down with her to contemplate just the beauty of a single flower that, you know, we speak of a teeny tiny little seed. And then to just look at the.
Holly OrdwayMultiple petals.
Emily MalloyAnd the fragrance. And the natural world is such a strong proof that God so many and just we found this book sound delightful on every level. And of course, you've.
Holly OrdwayOrganized.
Emily MalloyBy the seasons. We're just coming into we're moving from summer into fall. So do you have any particular advice for us on how we might be able to decorate our homes in the season of autumn? Yes, absolutely. So I think the fall is such a fine time to just take a walk outside and see what you can find.
One of my favorite things which I was able to delight more in when we lived in Pennsylvania a few years ago, but now we're in Mississippi and I've yet to find any growing here. But one of my favorite things to do is to bring in cut branches. So in the spring you think of cherry blossoms and they're just so much fun to cut and bring in.
And, you know, if you bring them in, really tightly by the end, they slowly open. But you can have that same fun experience in the fall. I love Japanese maple. And that fiery display that they put on is just unlike old. So one of my favorite things to do is if I know I'm fortunate to have that tree in my yard or if I, the neighbor I've been known to knock on the door and say, Do you mind?
Can I cut this? Particularly during wedding season, we weren't afraid to go out to neighbors and ask if we could lovingly take a few snaps. But if you just take some of that, you know, or even the oak trees or any of the trees that you see sort of putting on this display before they drop their leaves, cut a small branch and bring it in.
And, you know, you can put it in a big base and just have it tucked in a corner somewhere. And that's so beautiful. Acorns are so much fun. I know here at our house we have these two really big pine trees that are really starting to drop all of their pine cones, which is going to be a lot of fun to work with.
GrazieIf you're just tuning in, you're listening to Conversations with Consequences on EWTN Radio. I'm your host instructor, Gracie Christy, alongside Maureen Ferguson, my colleague at the Catholic Association. And we're talking to Emily Malloy, the author of the newest version of The Theology of Home Book series. This latest book centered on the seasons. Emily, let me ask you about the seasons as a as the spiritual component of of living a seasonal life.
I myself am in Miami, and we have one season or maybe I think we have one season all year round and things don't change very much for us as far as the foliage and flowers and things. But what is it about living in a way that's seasonally conscious? What is that? What is the spiritual component of that?
Emily MalloyAbsolutely. So I think, you know, I have been to Miami and southern Florida a good deal, but I haven't lived there long enough for I haven't lived there to see, you know, perhaps that there's any changes now. I grew up in the Northeast and now I reside in Mississippi. And the one thing that I came to recognize is that even though they in certain regions in the continental U.S., there is a typical four season pattern.
But in other regions, there are little hallmarks that you see that are according to the time right there. There can be sort of like a monsoon season or hurricane season or, you know, different little things that make a particular season stand out or the flowers coming alive at certain points in time based off of fluctuation in temperature, even if you don't get, you know, sort of the Andrew Wyatt Winter or painting landscape that, you know, seems so typical of winter.
But I think what living in the seasons does for us is it like I had mentioned in that encounter with beauty, it forces us to be recollected and present. But I think the one thing that we notice in our time that I have noticed, which I didn't really realize when I worked in the flower shop because the world was our oyster, right, is all you do is click a button and the most amazing flowers from Holland, calm or beautiful things in the Pacific Northwest, you know, will be here in a few short days.
So you can just have your pick of anything at any point time. And then also just the globalist, you know, this globalism where, you know, the world is very small and you can have anything at your fingertips at any point in time. So as food or flowers, we lose this overall sense of fasting and feasting. And it's really interesting when you get yourself to live in the present and living seasonally in sort of a physical way, in a more secular way that you have to live the facts right?
So in winter it's embracing the fact that there's nothing blooming outside, but also recognizing that there are still beautiful things to be found. And then when you sort of sit in that that tension and discomfort of, okay, you know, there's no distractions, there's no shiny objects, they have to see things as they are and sort of contemplate them and draw realities from that.
Then you can see in those first glimpses of spring, they really mean something, Right, as well as your pastures start to become verdant and you see those first green sprouted daffodils this warm feelings of consolation begin to manifest. And I think, you know, there is that reflection in the spiritual life. You know, I think very few people live life in a state of constant consolation and which is a grief for them.
And sometimes you hear of that, and that is absolutely wonderful. But I think most of us are experienced, is living sort of in desolation with moments of aridity and things are dry. And then there are those you have to sort of live in that desolation so that when the constellations begin, you actually can contemplate how much of a gift that is only because you know the aridity and that darkness before.
So there's just this really interesting parallel that exists in the physical world and the spiritual life. And there's so much with the stick with me and the rhythmic way of the seasons that it teaches us over and over again in the linear progression of our own lives. And I think there is a real gift that we can overlook when we just run to the next season, right?
You know, August 1st comes and everybody runs and gets out their items, decorations. And I always encourage people just to live. Those last days of summer ripe are just really precious and special and you'll never see them again this year. Right. And they're so unique. And the same things for Advent going into Christmas. I'm a huge fan of tickets for just eating and Advent and waiting in that pregnant pause awaiting the Lord is coming because it means so much more Christmas morning, the coming of the Lord and the beauty of poinsettias and all the evergreens and all of that sort of thing, and that the fragrance of pine, when you allow yourself to sort of
be in that desert that's fasting and weeding in those four weeks, leading up to the feast and just listening to and feeling a sense of peace and calm, just like when I was flipping through your book and not to get ahead of ourselves, but looking forward towards for a lot of families and a lot of Catholic schools like to create some sort of garden for Mary and they IT So do you have any pointers for anyone who's interested in creating a garden for a blessed mother?
Absolutely. There are a lot of neat things that can be done and there are a lot of people will ask about Marian Flowers in particular, and a lot of times I will let them know that a great deal of flowers that we have, so many of them are cultivated in monasteries, which is just a beautiful notion. And most of the flowers that we know and love, even though they may not seem like an obvious Marian flowers, they like a rose, right?
You think of a mystical rose or a hellebore, the Lenten rose, most flowers at a certain point had the name our lady in front of it. So like foxglove, which is arguably my favorite flower hellebore. And that was our lady's glove, right? Marigold was Mary's gold. So you can search and do and find if you really want more specific flowers for our lady.
But honestly, I would just say any flower that does it is really easy to grow. It's a gift to have even just going to your local hardware store and getting a packet of seeds, throwing them down and letting them grow is a beautiful it's a beautiful tribute to Our lady. And I think, you know when you think of the idea that so much floral wonder is surrounding our lady, right.
You know, I love the stories as she that but as she assumed into heaven that flowers were just everywhere. Right. That's an old, old story. And I just I imagine this is just my my florist mine that when I meditate upon the coronation, I just imagine the most opulent floral crown being put on her head. Right. She's just this mystical rose and so there's just I think there's no wrong way to go to build a mary garden.
I think it's also fun to research different things that grow in different seasons that maybe you have your bulbs in the spring and say your zinnias or your cosmos, or even the fun little marigolds in the summertime that are really hard to handle the heat wherever you live and then going to Mum's and different fall flowers abdali dahlias to kind of carry through and then if you have this space where you can have some shrubbery sort of to carry you through the winter and hellebore and snowdrops to put around to there, even in the height of winter there's still a little something there to behold.
GrazieSo thank you Emily, for joining us and taking the time to tell us all about your beautiful book. And to our listeners, you can buy your copy at ten books and you should visit Theology of Home Ecom for more information and on this book and all their other beautiful projects. So thank you, Emily.
Emily MalloyThank you so much.
GrazieAnd now Father Roger Landry offers us, as is customary, a short and inspiring homily to prepare us for this Sunday's gospel.
Fr. LandryThis is Father Roger Aaron. It's a privilege for me to be with you as we enter into the consequential conversation. The reason Lord Jesus wants to have with each of us in Corpus Christi, the feast of his body and blood, in some ways, it's the most important conversation human being can have. Just takes bread and says to the apostles in the upper room and to us each day.
Take it. This is my body. Then he takes wine in the chalice and says, This is the my blood of the covenant, which will be shed. For many. These words would have been shocking to the Apostles on Holy Thursday in the upper room, and the wonder should never wear off, as we saying. And the Panis Angelica's Mary's Mirabilis Maduka dominant power spirit servicewoman.
what a mind blowing reality. A poor and humble servant eats the Lord. But that dialog that leads to our drawing a life of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist just as He draws his life from God, the Father leads to the possibility of a conversation that incredibly can continue every day in prayerful Eucharistic adoration. When we have a chance to listen to God whisper to us anteriorly to bring to Him our praise, thank sorrow, prayers for others and for ourselves, and to learn how to abide in him and him in us.
That existential conversation is then able to overflow into the whole of our life. So we seek to love others as he has loved us first, giving our body and blood for others, just as he gave his body blood and very life for us. So we seek to become his instrument to bring others our family members, friends, coworkers, fellow students and everyone we meet to a similar communion of life and love in the Gospel the Sunday before we get to the words of institution of consecration, Jesus speaks with His disciples about preparations for the Passover.
Jesus gives them detailed instructions about how to find the room where He intended to fulfill. The ancient Passover rite is the definitive LAMB of God and how to get everything ready. It's a good reminder to us of how we're supposed to prepare to eat the Passover, to arrange our life to enter with Jesus into the new and eternal covenant on the altar.
A Catholic should be ever in a state of preparation to meet Jesus in the Eucharist because the Eucharist is a supreme in of his day, a love of God for us, Jesus taking on our humanity and entering into the world through the fiat of the Blessed Virgin Mary wasn't enough. His being born in poverty, hunted down as an infant by assassins living three decades in relative obscurity weren't enough.
His whole public ministry preaching healing, exercise, even raising three people from the dead wasn't enough that even his passion, death and resurrection were enough. Jesus loved us so much that He will to become our very food He promised as he gave his valedictory address before sending to the father that he would remain with us always until the end of time.
And he keeps that promise by his real and substantial presence. The most holy Eucharist outside of us in our tabernacles and monster, tis so that we might come to be with him and inside of us in Holy Communion. That's what Jesus and his apparitions to Saint Margaret, Mary Alice Clark, 350 years ago in the church, and her document refers to the Eucharist as the sacrament of cowardice, as the efficacious sign instituted by Christ himself to give us his love.
She's not only laid down his life for us on Calvary, but gives himself to us every day on the altar. This is what we celebrate in the solemnity. The most holy body and blood of the Lord since the first Corpus Christi 760 years ago. This feast has featured joyful processions of Jesus in the Eucharist, out of our churches, into our streets.
So that everyone can unite themselves to and properly adore the Lord, not just in church, but in daily life. Many parishes throughout the United States will be hosting solemn Eucharistic processions on Sunday. I'd urge you to attend one lovingly taking Jesus out into the world he redeemed and that he wishes to sanctify precisely to his Eucharistic presence. I'm now in Philadelphia on the 15th day of the Seton or eastern route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, a continuous 65 day Eucharistic procession from New Haven to Indianapolis in preparation for the National Congress that begins July 17th and Corpus Christi, led by Archbishop Nelson Perez in Philadelphia, we will have a huge Eucharistic procession starting from Saint
Peter and Paul Cathedral. The City of Brotherly Love will become a city of Divine and Eucharistic love, which is at the root of any authentic fraternity and love of neighbor. Eucharistic processions are so important because they show two essential realities of our faith. The first is its dynamic nature. Jesus, you remember, never told us to stay where you are and don't move, but instead was constantly summoning his disciples to get up.
Let's go. He was calling them and us to follow him, and then to go into the whole world to proclaim the Gospel to every creature. The whole Christian life is defined by this movement of coming to Jesus and being sent by him. As Saint John tells us, the Christian life is to walk just as Jesus walked. She says to us what he said to the paralytic and Capernaum rise and walk.
We're called to say joyfully with the words In Psalm 116, I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. The Second Vatican Council said that this dynamism is the very nature of Christian life. The church is comprised of pilgrims in a strange land, directed and guided by Jesus in our pilgrimage toward eternal happiness. The liturgy reinforces this, as we refer to Jesus.
Mystical body is the Pilgrim Church on Earth. We see this essential aspect of our faith and our God. Asked Abraham at 75 to his native place and go to a place he would show him a moses, and the Israelites were called by God to leave Egypt on a journey of 40 years to the Promised Land. O Elijah Journey to the Desert.
Tobias Journey with Raphael John A journey to Nineveh and the Jewish people Journey back and forth to exile in Babylon in giving the law to his chosen people through Moses, God instituted three pilgrim feasts in which Jews were expected to travel to the temple three times a year, no matter how far away they lived for Passover, for Pentecost, and for the Feast of Tabernacles, all three of which have clear fulfillment in what would take place in Jerusalem.
In the upper room, which is himself with Mary and Joseph, would make these pilgrimages this public. Jesus made them with the Apostle teaching along the road and within the temple precincts and healing many as he passed through towns and villages. These all point to the dynamic nature of the Christian life. Christian life is a journey. It's no surprise.
Then, throughout church history, the church has lived out this pilgrim nature, the Great Commission is a reminder that we're always meant to be on the move, bringing the gospel to every creature, crossing the road as good Samaritans, the care for those left wounded following the Good Shepherd, as he calls us by name and leads us out. Being dorsal to the Holy Spirit blows where he wills and came down on Pentecost is a strong driving wind capable of blowing the church all over the then known world.
The church's lived out at Pilgrim Nature, making pilgrimages to the tombs of saints, even in times of persecution, journeys to the Holy Land, to Rome, to Santiago de Compostela, establishing the tradition of the station churches in Lent in so much more, this pilgrim nature of the church not contradicted, but rather reinforced by the notion of a parish parish, may seem like a stable place where we go to stay a spiritual home from which we might never leave over many decades.
But the word parish comes in a Greek word parish kiya, which means temporary dwelling, a residence in a strange land, a hostel along a journey or station. Saint Peter uses parole costs or parishioner to describe a foreign pilgrim or German sojourner in Perugia for pilgrimage, exile and sojourn. The point is that the life of Christians is one of exile and pilgrimage.
So we journey through the world without being of the world, because we know our true homeland is in heaven. The pilgrimage of the church makes throughout time is ultimately a Eucharistic procession, not necessarily with canopies, incense and hymns, as will mark on Corpus Christi. But like Mary lived the mystery of the visitation that we marked on Friday. Jesus accompanies us on this pilgrimage in the Holy Eucharist, normally within us, but sometimes publicly as many parishes was.
Her show on Corpus Christi is the four part national Eucharistic pilgrimage will manifest over 6500 miles on the road to Indianapolis. As we journey, we're boldly and unambiguously testifying that we believe that what we are carrying in the monstrous is not a piece of bread at all. But as Jesus said himself, the living bread come down from heaven was given us his body and blood for the life of the world.
We pray that as a result of the church's Eucharistic witness on Corpus Christi and beyond, many will seek to join Jesus on the Eucharistic pilgrimage of earthly life all the way to its conclusion in the eternal nuptial feast taken eat, take and drink those words of Jesus in the Gospel. The Sun are wonderfully repeated every day on the altar of our parishes.
By them, Jesus invites us to enter into a dialog of life with Him wanting us to become more and more like him himself, and we consume. He wants us to make that conversation that echoes each day in our churches the most consequent shall one of our life so that we can leave church like Mary left the Annunciation and the Apostles at the upper room on Pentecost, bearing witness throughout the journey of our life that we do not walk alone, but that we walk with Jesus, who has chosen to walk with us in the Holy Eucharist.
Blessed be Jesus in the most blessed Sacrament, the altar. God bless you.
GrazieThank you so much, Father Landry. To hear more of Father Landry's homily, please visit Catholic preaching income and to follow him on the Eucharistic pilgrimage route dedicated to Saint Elizabeth Seton, please visit Seton Pilgrimage Talk. And with that, we leave you for our prayers for a wonderful week for you and your families.