Heyyyyy, you guessed it: the Chartres pilgrimage is almost here and once again, I am really looking forward to it.
I haven’t really been keeping up with my blog posts (and by that I mean that I have barely written anything, but since I write mostly for my own benefit, I don’t think I’ve let anyone down), but I always find time to write something around Chartres time because this is when my levels of procrastination reach an all-time high as I have so many things to do, but so little will to do anything that is connected with packing my bag.
Would you believe that I have actually taken a day of holiday just to get these things done? That is how slow and disorganised I am (though apparently I am efficient at work. Hurray! If this could just happen in my personal life too, that would be great).
I firmly believe that the reason why I have so far avoided obesity is because I am so disorganised and slow when getting ready in the mornings, or at any time, that I speed-walk and sometimes run almost everywhere I go. So, if I am late to meet you, this isn’t a personal insult to you, I have a genuine problem. Sorry in advance.
I think I will change the beginning of the year, and the time when I make all my resolutions, to the day after the Chartres pilgrimage. Last year, Fr Withoos read out a meditation on the writings of Blessed John Henry Newman on all the simple things we should do to become perfect and, to my surprise, I have actually followed quite a lot of those things and kept them up all year (see the post on that here). For one thing, I was not making my morning offering until hours after I got up and sometimes not at all. Since Chartres last year, I have (almost always) made some kind of morning offering as soon I wake up. I have not got to the point where I can pray a full rosary before breakfast like some people do, but the first thing I do now when I walk out the door in the morning is to start praying it, and I do believe that these things are almost all due to the graces earned on the Chartres pilgrimage.
There have been some setbacks too and a very kind lady sent me an email about modest dressing the other day after she sat in front of me at mass, so presumably this has also gone downhill. I have to say that some of my clothes were borderline Amish-style not so long ago, so I am trying to find a balance.
My sister stayed with me in November and commented that she had not seen me in trousers for two years, which is probably about right (that is, I am wearing trousers occasionally now). I think that, apart from gym clothes and stuff worn at home, I had not worn a pair of trousers for about that amount of time. I made a conscious effort to do that and I have let myself relax a bit on that front. I don’t know…I don’t believe in this not showing the tops of your arms thing, for instance. What is so seductive about that? Of course, dressing modestly is so important, but I am not going to wear ankle-length skirts. If God pulls me up on this, on my head be it, but for the moment I don’t see that I have to cover up as much as some people say. I have to watch the videos that I was sent by this lady. Maybe I’ll completely change my mind.
Speaking of clothes, vanity, hairstyles and all that, I have been having a meltdown over how to deal with my fringe and Chartres (sweat, baseball caps and no showers) for a while now. I have a full, thick fringe now (photo here of my colleague and me at a Christian exhibition yesterday). Watch this space for how hilarious and ugly my hair can get in less than a day. After this, nobody can say that I am unwilling to do extreme penance.