A few years ago, for a few years, I kept a regular holy hour. I had just two children and it was in the middle of the night, a straight shot up a long road dotted with intersections every few blocks in a quiet Anchorage parish. We subsequently moved much closer to that parish, but I floundered at the habit which had previously become a life preserver. I often remarked that I'd barely get into the chapel each week, but had such a sense of spiritual rejuvenation that I knew it was a great aid at keeping me afloat during the week. The Coordinator of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration at the time was such a gentle prophet --- raising the standard of what I expected of myself and my children without a whiff of patronization that we weren't already there. Do you know what I mean? The kind of teacher whose heart welcomes your heart, and everything else is superfluous. She taught me to use alarm clocks, sure, but suggested above all else asking my guardian angel to prick my brain for the 2 a.m. wakeup call. It really works!
I still long for that hour and that practice --- the solitude, the intimacy with Jesus, and much about the routine. I now understand that it's controversial (or at least debatable) to have a reading library in an adoration chapel, but I'm so glad "mine" did! I discovered a treasure in there and I want to share it with you.
(an aside: I can't overstate my amusement/God's providence/the heart of Catholicism when a book written by friends of Peter Maurin converges with SSPX books on Amazon's "People Who Purchased this book Also Purchased" list. Humanity is a circus. There's something fantastic about what that represents. I want everyone to have this little jewel and be able to discuss it! It's available on Kindle ... and in my opinion, the blue version titled 'Motherhood...' was a memorable read, but doesn't pack the same punch as the red book.)
So. Background --- Ed Willock was born in 1916 to a large, working class Irish American family. He became enamored of the early Catholic Worker movement and went on to publish Integrity magazine for ten years with his wife Dorothy. The couple and their hep cat friends were the main contributors, many writing under pen names. Rather than attempt to summarize the individual essays, I'm going to transcribe them into pages on this blog --- found along the right sidebar and beginning here. The main themes are social action which in turn forms familial vitality (rather than the other way around) being the aim of men, and the father's role at work and home. Attention is also given to the economic philosophy of distributism. The magazine refused any commercial ads, which, along with competition from larger publishers, finally proved unsustainable and the magazine ceased printing in 1956. (Much of their desire to stir lay Catholics found a voice in the intent of the Second Vatican Council.) Peak circulation was around 150,000 copies and a few of the principals went on to work in the Catholic press with some renown. A dozen of Willock & others' essays were compiled for the little burgundy book I found.
One more thing: naturally, it turns out that this effort has Dominican roots, with Father Wendell, O.P. being the first to introduce Carol Jackson and Ed Willock, who went on to become co-publishers of Integrity magazine for its ten-year run.