Seventh Day of Xmas
On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
seven sins for scouring,
Shield Maidens’ Study Guide: Milo, How to be Poor1. Were you surprised by HTBP? How much of Milo's story did you know before you read his account in HTBP? Did it change your view of Milo? If not, why not? If so, how?
2. What would you say is the main theme of the book? Why is it called “How to Be Poor”? Why does it have the chapters that it does?
3. What was your favorite chapter? Why did you like it? What was your least favorite chapter? Why?
4. If you were to write a book about yourself like “How to Be Poor,” what would it be called? Would you find it hard or easy to write?
My questions were just meant as starters, not a quiz!
What would I write my “How to” on? This is what I have been doing with Fencing Bear all along. I love “How to” books. Milo makes fun of American self-help culture, and to be sure, it has its inanities. But its deep roots are in the practice of confession and penance developed in the Middle Ages: the idea that it is possible, through self-examination and willingness, to improve.
There is a structure in HTBP that goes back to this practice—I am wondering whether anybody caught it. It is quite obvious once you notice it, but Milo likes hiding things in plain sight. It is the key to what he hoped to show by writing this book. And the only way that things are going to improve in our culture, IMO.
The main chat is now the Vatican.
Deus meus, ex toto corde paenitet me omnium meorum peccatorum, eaque detestor, quia peccando, non solum poenas a Te iuste statutas promeritus sum, sed praesertim quia offendi Te, summum bonum, ac dignum qui super omnia diligaris.
Which is the perfect setting for reading HTBP!
ALL IS REVEALED! The Holy Father has called us to confession. The Sisters of the Shield Maidens have been preparing all day for this practice by meditating on the lessons of “How to Be Poor.” Mother Superior talked this morning about her sins of pride and lack of self confidence in going into the meeting with her chair. This is the kind of spiritual training we all need to be able to bear in order to serve Milo well as his warriors.
In HTBP, Milo made his confession. I hinted in my study questions at the key. Notice that there are SEVEN chapters. Each of the chapters addresses one of the SEVEN DEADLY SINS.
1. Staying Thin: Gluttony
2. Getting Around: Sloth
3. Your Hair: Envy
4. Picking New Friends: Anger
5. Putting Out: Lust
6. Dealing with Shame: Pride
7. How to Stop Being Poor: Greed
I asked you to reflect on which chapter you found most difficult to read. Typically with the seven deadly sins, there is one that we struggle with most, but they all overlap and interconnect, so all of us usually have to work through all seven.
I have posts on Fencing Bear on this way of thinking about the struggle with virtue; I have also been thinking about it in my research. Milo showed me the manuscript of HTBP without the key—to test me to see if I got it. He hides this kind of message in his talks and costumes all the time. It is what I have been writing about in The MILO Chronicles. Milo is a consummate preacher, who teaches by example.
Even better, we picked HTBP to talk about as a group, when I asked what people’s favorite book was—before we saw the rebranding of the chat. It is spooky, but somehow Milo is always right there, putting his finger on the thing we need to learn next.
—Mother Superior, Telegram chat for Milo’s Shield Maidens, Tuesday, August 27, 2019
You can buy your own copies of Milo Chronicles: Devotions 2016-2019 and How to Be Poor on Amazon (MC, HTBP) and direct from the publisher at Castalia House (MC, HTBP). Riches galore!
Fencing Bear’s lessons in virtue continue at The MILO Chronicles. Milo preaches to the people on Telegram, where you can also find the link to the Queen’s Finishing School (applications accepted at the Dean’s discretion).
Milo’s Shield Maidens is accessible by invitation only.