Friday, March 26, 2004


Back in my undergraduate days at Magdalen College, there was a moment when the book Kristin Lavransdatter was sweeping the female side of the campus. I remember making a mental note to read it some day, but I just didn't feel that inner tug to take it on then.

I found a copy in a second hand bookstore the other day, and suddenly knew the time had come.

It's totally rocking my world. Has anybody else read these books?! Why don't we talk about Singrid Undset more, Church? I think this book holds so much help for the "ravaged by the lies of the Sexual Revolution "moment we are in just now.... It's so weirdly modern.

I think next year, instead of teaching RCIA, I am going to do a year long thing just reading this book with a group. It is certainly a kind of "literary mystagogy."

Here's a snippet. Kristin, who has fallen into secret sin with a man, is starting to experience life outside of grace. She is experiencing all kinds of new fears that she had never known before. She likes her sin still, but, it's different this new life...

"Now, she was truly frightened. Something might happen and she might never see him again. She was separated from everything she had been bound to in the past, and the bond between her and Erlend was such a fragile one....

Sometimes, she would think about her parents and sisters. She longed for them, but with the feeling that she had lost them for good.

And occasionally in church, and at other times as well, she would feel a fervent yearning to be part of it all again, this community with God. It had always been a part of her life, and now, she stood outside with her unconfessed sin.

She told herself that this separation from her home and family and Christianity was only temporary...

She began looking for evidence that other people, like herself, were not without sin. She paid more attention to gossip, and she took note of the little things around her which indicated that not even the sisters in the convent were completely holy and unworldly...Kristin developed an alert ear for all the small disturbances within the convent's walls: little complaints and jealousies and vanities..."


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