From the Franciscan Minims
Mexico • Vergel ------- July • Aug. 2001 ------- No. 7–8
-- Play or stop background music
"If thou hadst seen the everlasting crown of the saints in heaven, thou wouldst be glad to suffer tribulation for God's sake."
Our Cover: Imitation,Book 3, Ch. 47
All Grievous Things are to be Endured For Eternal Life
SON, be not dismayed with the labors which thou hast under-taken for Me, neither let tribulations ever cast thee down; but let My promise strengthen thee, and comfort thee in every event (Ps. 118, 71).
I am sufficient to reward thee beyond all measure. (Gen. 15, 1).
Thou shalt not labor here long, nor shalt thou be always oppressed with sorrows. Wait a little while, and thou shalt see a speedy end of all thy evils. The hour will come, when labor and trouble shall be no more. All is little and short, which passeth away with time (Wis. 3, 9).
Do thy part well; mind what thou art about; labor faithfully in My vineyard: I will be thy reward. Write, read, sing, sigh, keep silence, pray, bear thy crosses manfully: eternal life is worthy of all these, and greater combats. Peace shall come in one day, which is known to the Lord; and it shall not be a vicissitude of day and night, such as is at present; but everlasting light, infinite brightness, steadfast peace, and secure rest.--Apoc. 21, 23.
Thou shalt not then say: Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Rom. 7, 24). Nor shalt thou cry out: Woe is me, that my sojourning is prolonged. (Ps. 119, 5). For death shall be no more, but never-failing health: no anxiety, but blessed delight, and a society sweet and lovely.
Oh, if thou hadst seen the everlasting crown of the saints in heaven, and in how great glory they now triumph who appeared contemptible heretofore to this world, and in a manner even unworthy of life, (continued on page 5.)
- - -
Newly Discovered Prophecies
• "Whatever the dissimulations may be, truth always ends by piercing through them and making itself seen. One should intervene as little as possible in order to bring it to light, for of itself, irresistibly, it goes to the light, from which it is inseparable."
--- Our Lord to Sister Mary of the Holy Trinity,
Poor Clare of Jerusalem
RECENTLY a researcher discovered a letter written by St. Bernadette - and it contains startling prophecies revealed to the famed French saint at Lourdes by the Virgin Mary herself. Incredibly, four prophecies of Our Lady of Lourdes have already come true - and the fifth and final prophecy of Lourdes is due to be fulfilled around the year 2000.
"St. Bernadette's letter was sent to the Pope 120 years ago, but it became misplaced and was missing until last December, when I stumbled across it at the Vatican library," said Father Antoine LaGrande, a French cleric who was researching a book on the miracles of Lourdes.
"This remarkable document tells us in very precise terms what awaits mankind when the new millennium arrives."
(Then continues the story of Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette)
Bernadette eventually entered a convent where, ironically, she succumbed to an incurable illness. Shortly before her death in 1879, she wrote a letter to the Pope, in which she detailed five prophecies that had been revealed to her by the Virgin Mary. The contents were never made public, and when inquiries were made around the turn of the century, red-faced Vatican officials admitted that the letter written by the nun - who was canonized after her death - had simply been lost.
Father LaGrande said he uncovered the long lost letter in an iron box in a basement storage room for the Vatican library. On each of its five pages was a prophecy relating to a specific time period.
Four of these prophecies have come to pass, just as St. Bernadette predicted. The fifth, which relates to the 21st century, has yet to occur.
"The FIRST prophecy of Lourdes dealt basically with what would happen to the shrine in the years soon after St. Bernadette's death, explaining how it would become a renowned center for healing," he said. "This is certainly true."
"The SECOND Prophecy described an array of varied scientific achievements involving `the harnessing of lightning' that were to take place before 1906. This came true with the invention of the light bulb, the phonograph and other inventions using electricity," said Fr. LaGrande.
The THIRD Prophecy stated that in the 1930's a terrible evil would awaken in Germany, and painted a horrifying picture of a war that would envelop most of the nations of the world. "This came to pass with the rise of Adolph Hitler and the advent of World War II", said Fr. LaGrande.
The FOURTH Prophecy told in detail of an effort that would be made by mankind to reach the heavens and predicted that close to 1970 an American would walk on the moon. "This prophecy was fulfilled when the astronaut Neil Armstrong landed on the moon in 1969", said Fr. LaGrande.
The FIFTH Prophecy is the most extensive of all. Below, excerpted from the letter of St. Bernadette and translated from the original French, is the Fifth Prophecy of Lourdes.
"Your Holiness, the Virgin has told me that when the 20th century passes away, with it will pass away the Age of Science. A new age of Faith will dawn around the world.
"Proof will come at last that it was Our Lord who created the world and man, and this will be the beginning of the end for the scientists, in whom the people will cease to believe.
"Millions will return to Christ, and as the numbers of believers swell, the power of the Church will grow as never before.
"Also causing many to turn their backs on science will be the arrogance of physicians, who use their knowledge to create an abomination.
"These doctors will find the means to combine the essence of a man and the essence of a beast, and create a newborn creature that is neither fully man nor fully beast. The people will know in their hearts that this is wrong, but they will be powerless to stop the spawning of such monsters.
"In the end they will hunt scientists down, as ravening wolves are hunted.
"Around the year 2017, a final clash between the followers of Mohammed and the Christian nations of the world will take place. A furious battle will be waged, in which 5,654,831 soldiers are killed, and a bomb of great power will fall on a city in Persia (modern-day Iran).
"But in the fullness of time, the sign of the cross will prevail, and all of Islam will be forced to convert to Christianity. There will follow a century of peace and joy as all the nations of the earth lay down their swords and shields.
"Great prosperity will follow, as the Lord showers His blessings down upon the faithful. No family on earth will know poverty or hunger.
"One person in 10 will be granted by God the power to heal, and they will cast out all sicknesses from those who seek their aid. Many will rejoice at these miracles. The 21st century will come to be known as the Second Golden Age of Mankind." (Excerpts of a newspaper article written by Vincenzo Sardi from the Weekly World News, copyright © 1999)
May it be for the glory of God
The Vergel of the Immaculate Virgin of Guadalupe
June 3, 2001 • Pentecost Sunday
Imitation of Christ(continued).
.....doubtless thou wouldst immediately cast thyself down to the very earth, and wouldst rather seek to be under the feet of all, than to have command over so much as one.
Neither wouldst thou covet the pleasant days of this life, but wouldst rather be glad to suffer tribulation for God's sake, and esteem it thy greatest gain to be reputed as nothing among men.
Ah! If thou didst but relish these things, and suffer them to penetrate deeply into thy heart, how wouldst thou dare so much as once to complain! Are not all painful labors to be endured for everlasting life? It is no small matter to lose or gain the kingdom of God.
Lift up therefore thy face to heaven. Behold I, and all My saints with Me, who in this world have had a great conflict, do now rejoice, are now comforted, are now secure, are now at rest, and they shall for all eternity abide with Me in the kingdom of My Father. -- (Wis. 5, 1).
Need for Victim Souls
"It is a truly terrifying mystery on which one cannot meditate sufficiently, namely, that the salvation of many depends on the prayers and voluntary penances of the members of the mystical body of Christ, which they take upon themselves for this purpose, and on the cooperation of the shepherds and the faithful, especially fathers and mothers, with our Divine Redeemer." (Pope Pius XII).
This terrifying mystery of which the Pope speaks we fully realize in its depth and consequences, especially when we consider that at every second two human beings depart this life, or when we are present at a fatal accident or at a sick or deathbed. Now, after a few days, hours, minutes, the die will be cast: either eternally safe in God's love, or eternally lost in the pains of hell. O moment on which depends eternity!
The Rule of the Judges
THE news of the respite was brought to David by the sons of the priests. But by ill luck their mission was discovered and Absalom sent men to capture the messengers. With a good start, and running like deer, the priests' sons had time to win the co-operation of a man who hid them in a well in his courtyard. And after they had gone down the well a friendly woman, whose name is lost to history, spread a covering of cloth over the hole and sprinkled ground corn on it, to conceal its real use. Safe in the well, the messengers crouched unseen, until the pursuers were gone. Then the pair sped on their way over Jordan and delivered Hushai's words of direction and assurance.
Meanwhile Ahithophel, full of chagrin because Absalom had listened to someone else, went out and hanged himself.
Following the advice of Hushai, David went to Mahanaim, that ancient and important city where once, perhaps a thousand years before, Jacob as he was returning from Mesopotamia fell in with the unknown angels of God. There the fugitive David was welcomed and succored, especially by one Barzillai, a Gileadite, who was heart and soul for the harassed king, and there he resolved to establish his headquarters. But soon Absalom got tired of waiting; he and his men passed over Jordan at last, with Amasa, his captain, pitting his strength and strategy against the soldiers of David's general, Joab.
David wanted to take an active part in the battle, but his people would not hear of it.
"You are worth ten thousand of us," they cried, and would not see his life endangered. So David, bowing to their democratic will, had to stand by the gateside as the battalions went marching through. But he called to Joab one parting injunction:
"Deal gently with the young man—even with Absalom."
The battle began early in the wood of Ephraim. Before nightfall the slaughter in the rebel army was decimating; the sword of David's hosts unquenchable in blood, and the thick woods swallowed up uncounted dead of the revolutionists.
Completely defeated, Absalom, the upstart, mounted his mule and sought to escape southward, by a narrow, secret way through the woods. If he had gone carefully he might have made his escape, but Absalom was born to recklessness, to heedlessness, to haste. He whipped his donkey, resolved to put a chasm of space between him and his pursuers.
Thus it was that as he rushed on in the fading glow of late afternoon, his extraordinarily long hair caught fast in the boughs of an oak, the branches and the thorn briars tearing the flesh of his face. From the bough Absalom dangled helplessly, until soldiers of David saw the hapless prisoner and, knowing it was the king's son, reported to Joab, the general.
"Why did you not smite him to the ground?" roared Joab, ready to burst in his absolute abhorrence of a traitor, king's son or not. "I would have given you ten shekels of silver and a girdle."
"Not for a thousand shekels would I have done it," said his informant. "For we all heard the king charge you to deal gently with him---"
The man's fears meant nothing to Joab, whose code consisted only of courage and fidelity. Taking three darts in his hand, Joab hurried off to where Absalom hung by the hair in his agony. The dispatch was quick and merciful; the old campaigner thrust the darts through the rebellious heart. Then ten of Joab's young aides joined him and slashed at the limp body of the lost pretender. Finished with their bloody work, they cast the body of the dead prince in a pit in the wood, heaping stones upon the spot, and even as the leader of the rebellion was being buried the horns were blowing in victorious signal.
Victory at last. The sound of it reached the ears of David waiting, old and careworn, at the tower gate. The watchman warned David of the approach of a runner—of two runners. Hope and fear tore at the king's heart.
"All is well!" shouted the first courier, sweat pouring from him.
"Is the young man Absalom safe?" asked David.
Ahimaaz could not say, for he did not know; he turned aside from the look in the king's eyes. But the second messenger rushed up with the truth, and told the tale bluntly and without preliminary. For to the hard practical mind of that soldier, Absalom was no more than any other enemy of his lord and king.
But to David, Absalom still remained, in his ignominious death, the darling of his heart and soul. The king-father's grief in the midst of military triumph was overwhelming. All in an instant he seemed to forget the treachery, the stark fact that his favorite would have killed his father if he could, would have taken his throne, worn his crown, and reigned by his father's murder. All bitterness drained out of David's heart. Weeping, he stood at the window of his private room and raised a broken voice to God:
"O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would God I had died for you, O Absalom, my son, my son!"
No one could console him, and after many weeks the prolonged mourning began to create resentful talk in the palace. An unending threnody of sorrow was all the life the court knew.
David was not king any more, but a metrist of lamentation; as poet he remained endlessly indoors, and fashioned psalms of woe:
"Absalom, my son!"
His despondency was like a disease that had crept over him and paralyzed his faculties. He turned his disheartened eyes to the clouds and started as if wondering how he had lost his way to God.
At last Joab, the son of David's sister and general-in-chief of his armies, was moved to protest. Had the king, in his egocentric sorrow, forgotten what his devoted people had done, what risks of limb and life they had run to save him and his kingdom? Did he, then, love his enemies more than his friends? Let him answer; was the life of Absalom so precious, that it outweighed all the love and service of his followers?
"Speak well to your servants, the people," warned the forthright Joab, "or worse evil will befall you than any hitherto in your life."
And that settled it. Even in his sorrow David was a mixture of passion and practicality, and he knew when to yield to one or the other. Removing the garments of his grief, the king pulled open the crimson curtains of his chamber and looked out at the world. He made a speech, a stirring appeal to the elders and people. And in response he heard the cries of frightened subjects from far and near:
"Return, O king, and all your servants!"
So David started back toward the Jordan and his beloved city of Jerusalem.
But trouble was starting again, even before they got back to the capital. There was, first and foremost, the murder of Amasa, his nephew. Some advisers had urged David to kill the hardy soldier the moment the revolution was ended. But David yearned for a general reconciliation; he wanted a unified kingdom, full of peace and everybody forgiving everybody else and living agreeably together. To bring about that happy state, he made large concessions, as in the case of Amasa. David knew all of which Joab, his general, reminded him about the man's treachery. Amasa had deserted to go along with Absalom. But David, in his kingly desire to quiet all bad feeling and to show mercy to his defeated enemies, went to the extreme length of welcoming Amasa's return to the fold. More, David made that partner in revolution, a general of the armies.
Now Joab reported that a new revolt was afoot and Amasa had to be dispatched. At his death, the revolution had almost run its course. Abel, the only leader left to the rebels, was betrayed by his own people; a woman's treachery sent his bleeding head soaring over the wall of the last town to be besieged--and all resistance ceased.
Now David resolved to reign again as a monarch unequaled in the history of Israel. Before he crossed over the river many persons who had stood with his enemies in his long struggle gathered around him, wanting to be counted as lifelong friends. Among his former foemen were Shimei, who once had cursed him and stoned his men; Ziba, wily servant of Mephibosheth; and Mephibosheth himself, the crippled son of Jonathan.
When the once scornful Shimei bowed before the king, Abishai, General Joab's elder brother, help up his sword, drawn and ready to slay the betrayer—but David shook his graying locks; let the scoundrel go free. Even when Mephibosheth stammered aloud how Ziba had deceived him, as well as David, the king waved the treachery aside and sent them away unharmed. Not once during that wonderful day did David lose his temper, not even when one of his dearest wishes was balked. His heart was set upon taking back to Jerusalem with him Barzillai whose loyalty had never faltered; the king wanted him to live in the palace at Jerusalem. But Barzillai was stubborn in his feebleness.
"I am fourscore," he pleaded. "Let me turn back, that I may die in my own city, and be buried with my father and mother."
The king kissed the grand old man, and blessed him. For in the alembic of that experience, of flight, exile, revolution, and war with his most beloved son, the soul of the headstrong king had been tested, purified, and transformed.
In troubled days that were to come, and many peaceful years afterward, David was to write and compose some of the greatest of his psalms. He had come to know that God will speak to man, if man will listen:
Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 45)
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
(Psalm 102) (To be continued)
"Heaven's Last Call to Humanity," Vol. I and ii. $10.00 + 1.50 postage. The "United Hearts" of Jesus and Mary are calling us to enter this refuge of these last days. Send order (postage paid) to:
82 E. Crafton Ave.,
Pittsburgh, PA 15205-2902.
Or phone: 1 (412) 921-6773.
MARIAN UNION OF BEAURAING Daily spiritual obligations: pray 3 Hail Marys with the invocation: "Our Lady of Beauraing, convert sinners. You have promised us." Members are united to the prayers said daily at the shrine of Beauraing. For enrollment, please contact: Miss Doris Poisson, 22 Second Av., Lowell, MA 01854–2808
OUR LADY BUILDS A STATUE. $10.00 + 2.00 p & h. Leroy Lee, 2845 Nettie, Butte, MT 59701
American Chesterton Society
4117 Pebblebrook Circle
Minneapolis, MN 55437.
Chesterton University: $4.00 plus $3 shipping. Write for free list of books. • Subscription to "Gilbert!" magazine (1 yr): $29.95
ð Web page: www.chesterton.org
THERE ARE Catholic prisoners who need pen-pals to help them spiritually. For information, write to: Dr. Joseph Strada, 5120 Pheasant Ridge Road, Fairfax, VA 22030
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The book "Faith is Greater than Obedience," by Rev. A. Drexel, is now available in FRENCH. For more information, please contact: Johan Distler,
100 Summit Cr., Montréal, Québec, Canada H3Y 1L9
"La Foi est plus importante que L’Obéissance."
Following His Footsteps
by Anselmo del Alamo
Chapter 6. The Interior Life, the Kingdom of God, Temple of the Holy Spirit
Perhaps the experience of living has provided you with the knowledge that if it is joyful giving, it is even more joyful giving oneself.
When you truly begin to experience it, you will be more like God, and you will participate more in his paternity. The interior life is nothing else than the development of grace within us. This seed of divinity, of immortality, is nothing else than a participation in his life, a spark of his love, a free gift of himself.
It is given to us so that we may be a kingdom, an interior empire inside ourselves, with a throne, a scepter and a crown, a sanctuary of prayer and adoration, where he wants to be adored in spirit and in truth. Acknowledge your dignity: esteem and be grateful for his wonderful gift.
1. We should be intimately persuaded that just one interior soul, a soul that tends to perfection, gives more glory to God than millions of mediocre religious or Christians. Dom Godfrey Belorgey
2. In the saints, the Holy Ghost, together with the Father and with the Son, makes his dwelling in the most interior part of the soul, that is, he lives there, like God in his own temple. The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost come to us in the same degree that we go toward them. They come helping us; we go toward them listening to them. They come enlightening us; we approach with the desire to be enlightened. They come to us to enrich us; we travel to them with desires of receiving. St. Augustine
3. Let us realize that within ourselves is a palace of great wealth, all its building is of gold and precious stones, as befits such a Lord, and you are made to form such a building (as in reality it is, for there is no building of such beauty as a soul that is clean and pure and filled with virtues, and the greater the virtues are, the more resplendent are the precious stones). And in this palace lives this great King, who is pleased to call himself your Father, and is on a throne of great value, which is your heart. St. Teresa of Jesus
4. My son, cast all your cares in your God, and try never to forget your interior. Be pure, and detach yourself from all occupations that are not necessary. Lift your thoughts to heaven, and fix them in God, and you will feel more enlightened, and you will know the sovereign Good. Blessed Henry Suso
5. "You are my tabernacle. I want to dwell in you," the divine Master confided to a privileged soul. And she answered: "If I were you, I would not choose myself." Lucia Christina Beauchesne
6. You should know that very often when I visit souls, I am rejected by them and treated like a stranger. But to those who love me, I not only come with effusion and tenderness, but I even re-main in them and dwell in them, and in them I fix my secret dwelling. But no one notices it, except the small number of those who live solitary, removed from the things of the world and with their heart fixed in me, in order to know my desires and to follow them.
Blessed Henry Suso
Ch. IX: Authority and the Adventurer
By G. K. Chesteron(continued from previous issue)
Thus these three facts of experience, such facts as go to make an agnostic, are, in this view, turned totally round. I am left saying, "Give me an explanation, first, of the towering eccentricity of man among the brutes; second, of the vast human tradition of some ancient happiness; third, of the partial perpetuation of such pagan joy in the countries of the Catholic Church." One explanation, at any rate, covers all three: the theory that twice was the natural order interrupted by some explosion or revelation such as people now call "psychic." Once Heaven came upon the earth with a power or seal called the image of God, whereby man took command of Nature; and once again (when in empire after empire men had been found wanting) Heaven came to save mankind in the awful shape of a man. This would explain why the mass of men always look backwards; and why the only corner where they in any sense look forwards is the little continent where Christ has His Church. I know it will be said that Japan has become progressive. But how can this be an answer when even in saying "Japan has become progressive," we really only mean, "Japan has become European"? But I wish here not so much to insist on my own explanation as to insist on my original remark. I agree with the ordinary unbelieving man in the street in being guided by three or four odd facts all pointing to something; only when I came to look at the facts I always found they pointed to something else.
I have given an imaginary triad of such ordinary anti-Christian arguments; if that be too narrow a basis I will give on the spur of the moment another. These are the kind of thoughts which in combination create the impression that Christianity is something weak and diseased. First, for instance, that Jesus was a gentle creature, sheepish and unworldly, a mere ineffectual appeal to the world; second, that Christianity arose and flourished in the dark ages of ignorance, and that to these the Church would drag us back; third, that the people still strongly religious or (if you will) superstitious -- such people as the Irish -- are weak, unpractical, and behind the times. I only mention these ideas to affirm the same thing: that when I looked into them independently I found, not that the conclusions were unphilosophical, but simply that the facts were not facts. Instead of looking at books and pictures about the New Testament I looked at the New Testament. There I found an account, not in the least of a person with his hair parted in the middle or his hands clasped in appeal, but of an extraordinary being with lips of thunder and acts of lurid decision, flinging down tables, casting out devils, passing with the wild secrecy of the wind from mountain isolation to a sort of dreadful demagogy; a being who often acted like an angry god -- and always like a god. Christ had even a literary style of his own, not to be found, I think, elsewhere; it consists of an almost furious use of the a fortiori. His "how much more" is piled one upon another like castle upon castle in the clouds. The diction used about Christ has been, and perhaps wisely, sweet and submissive. But the diction used by Christ is quite curiously gigantesque; it is full of camels leaping through needles and mountains hurled into the sea. Morally it is equally terrific; he called himself a sword of slaughter, and told men to buy swords if they sold their coats for them. That he used other even wilder words on the side of non-resistance greatly increases the mystery; but it also, if anything, rather increases the violence. We cannot even explain it by calling such a being insane; for insanity is usually along one consistent channel. The maniac is generally a monomaniac. Here we must remember the difficult definition of Christianity already given; Christianity is a superhuman paradox whereby two opposite passions may blaze beside each other. The one explanation of the Gospel language that does explain it, is that it is the survey of one who from some supernatural height beholds some more startling synthesis.
I take in order the next instance offered: the idea that Christianity belongs to the Dark Ages. Here I did not satisfy myself with reading modern generalisations; I read a little history. And in history I found that Christianity, so far from belonging to the Dark Ages, was the one path across the Dark Ages that was not dark. It was a shining bridge connecting two shining civilizations. If any one says that the faith arose in ignorance and savagery the answer is simple: it didn't. It arose in the Mediterranean civilization in the full summer of the Roman Empire. The world was swarming with sceptics, and pantheism was as plain as the sun, when Constantine nailed the cross to the mast. It is perfectly true that afterwards the ship sank; but it is far more extraordinary that the ship came up again: repainted and glittering, with the cross still at the top. This is the amazing thing the religion did: it turned a sunken ship into a submarine. The ark lived under the load of waters; after being buried under the debris of dynasties and clans, we arose and remembered Rome. If our faith had been a mere fad of the fading empire, fad would have followed fad in the twilight, and if the civilization ever re-emerged (and many such have never re-emerged) it would have been under some new barbaric flag. But the Christian Church was the last life of the old society and was also the first life of the new. She took the people who were forgetting how to make an arch and she taught them to invent the Gothic arch. In a word, the most absurd thing that could be said of the Church is the thing we have all heard said of it. How can we say that the Church wishes to bring us back into the Dark Ages? The Church was the only thing that ever brought us out of them.
I added in this second trinity of objections an idle instance taken from those who feel such people as the Irish to be weakened or made stagnant by superstition. I only added it because this is a peculiar case of a statement of fact that turns out to be a statement of falsehood. It is constantly said of the Irish that they are impractical. But if we refrain for a moment from looking at what is said about them and look at what is done about them, we shall see that the Irish are not only practical, but quite painfully successful. The poverty of their country, the minority of their members are simply the conditions under which they were asked to work; but no other group in the British Empire has done so much with such conditions. The Nationalists were the only minority that ever succeeded in twisting the whole British Parliament sharply out of its path. The Irish peasants are the only poor men in these islands who have forced their masters to disgorge. These people, whom we call priest-ridden, are the only Britons who will not be squire-ridden. And when I came to look at the actual Irish character, the case was the same. Irishmen are best at the specially hard professions -- the trades of iron, the lawyer, and the soldier. In all these cases, therefore, I came back to the same conclusion: the sceptic was quite right to go by the facts, only he had not looked at the facts. The sceptic is too credulous; he believes in newspapers or even in encyclopedias. Again the three questions left me with three very antagonistic questions. The average sceptic wanted to know how I explained the namby-pamby note in the Gospel, the connection of the creed with mediaeval darkness and the political impracticability of the Celtic Christians. But I wanted to ask, and to ask with an earnestness amounting to urgency, "What is this incomparable energy which appears first in one walking the earth like a living judgment and this energy which can die with a dying civilization and yet force it to a resurrection from the dead; this energy which last of all can inflame a bankrupt peasantry with so fixed a faith in justice that they get what they ask, while others go empty away; so that the most helpless island of the Empire can actually help itself?"
There is an answer: it is an answer to say that the energy is truly from outside the world; that it is psychic, or at least one of the results of a real psychical disturbance. The highest gratitude and respect are due to the great human civilizations such as the old Egyptian or the existing Chinese. Nevertheless it is no injustice for them to say that only modern Europe has exhibited incessantly a power of self-renewal recurring often at the shortest intervals and descending to the smallest facts of building or costume. All other societies die finally and with dignity. We die daily. We are always being born again with almost indecent obstetrics. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that there is in historic Christendom a sort of unnatural life: it could be explained as a supernatural life. It could be explained as an awful galvanic life working in what would have been a corpse. For our civilization ought to have died, by all parallels, by all sociological probability, in the Ragnorak of the end of Rome. That is the weird inspiration of our estate: you and I have no business to be here at all. We are all revenants; all living Christians are dead pagans walking about. Just as Europe was about to be gathered in silence to Assyria and Babylon, something entered into its body. And Europe has had a strange life -- it is not too much to say that it has had the jumps -- ever since.
I have dealt at length with such typical triads of doubt in order to convey the main contention -- that my own case for Christianity is rational; but it is not simple. It is an accumulation of varied facts, like the attitude of the ordinary agnostic. But the ordinary agnostic has got his facts all wrong. He is a non-believer for a multitude of reasons; but they are untrue reasons. He doubts because the Middle Ages were barbaric, but they weren't; because Darwinism is demonstrated, but it isn't; because miracles do not happen, but they do; because monks were lazy, but they were very industrious; because nuns are unhappy, but they are particularly cheerful; because Christian art was sad and pale, but it was picked out in peculiarly bright colours and gay with gold; because modern science is moving away from the supernatural, but it isn't, it is moving towards the supernatural with the rapidity of a railway train.
But among these million facts all flowing one way there is, of course, one question sufficiently solid and separate to be treated briefly, but by itself; I mean the objective occurrence of the supernatural. In another chapter I have indicated the fallacy of the ordinary supposition that the world must be impersonal because it is orderly. A person is just as likely to desire an orderly thing as a disorderly thing. But my own positive conviction that personal creation is more conceivable than material fate, is, I admit, in a sense, undiscussable. I will not call it a faith or an intuition, for those words are mixed up with mere emotion, it is strictly an intellectual conviction; but it is a primary intellectual conviction like the certainty of self of the good of living. Any one who likes, therefore, may call my belief in God merely mystical; the phrase is not worth fighting about. But my belief that miracles have happened in human history is not a mystical belief at all; I believe in them upon human evidences as I do in the discovery of America. Upon this point there is a simple logical fact that only requires to be stated and cleared up. Somehow or other an extraordinary idea has arisen that the disbelievers in miracles consider them coldly and fairly, while believers in miracles accept them only in connection with some dogma. The fact is quite the other way. The believers in miracles accept them (rightly or wrongly) because they have evidence for them. The disbelievers in miracles deny them (rightly or wrongly) because they have a doctrine against them. The open, obvious, democratic thing is to believe an old apple-woman when she bears testimony to a miracle, just as you believe an old apple-woman when she bears testimony to a murder. The plain, popular course is to trust the peasant's word about the ghost exactly as far as you trust the peasant's word about the landlord. Being a peasant he will probably have a great deal of healthy agnosticism about both. Still you could fill the British Museum with evidence uttered by the peasant, and given in favour of the ghost. If it comes to human testimony there is a choking cataract of human testimony in favour of the supernatural. If you reject it, you can only mean one of two things. You reject the peasant's story about the ghost either because the man is a peasant or because the story is a ghost story. That is, you either deny the main principle of democracy, or you affirm the main principle of materialism -- the abstract impossibility of miracle. You have a perfect right to do so; but in that case you are the dogmatist. It is we Christians who accept all actual evidence -- it is you rationalists who refuse actual evidence being constrained to do so by your creed. But I am not constrained by any creed in the matter, and looking impartially into certain miracles of mediaeval and modern times, I have come to the conclusion that they occurred. All argument against these plain facts is always argument in a circle. If I say, "Mediaeval documents attest certain miracles as much as they attest certain battles," they answer, "But mediaevals were superstitious"; if I want to know in what they were superstitious, the only ultimate answer is that they believed in the miracles. If I say "a peasant saw a ghost," I am told, "But peasants are so credulous." If I ask, "Why credulous?" the only answer is -- that they see ghosts. Iceland is impossible because only stupid sailors have seen it; and the sailors are only stupid because they say they have seen Iceland. It is only fair to add that there is another argument that the unbeliever may rationally use against miracles, though he himself generally forgets to use it.
He may say that there has been in many miraculous stories a notion of spiritual preparation and acceptance: in short, that the miracle could only come to him who believed in it. It may be so, and if it is so how are we to test it? If we are inquiring whether certain results follow faith, it is useless to repeat wearily that (if they happen) they do follow faith. If faith is one of the conditions, those without faith have a most healthy right to laugh. But they have no right to judge. Being a believer may be, if you like, as bad as being drunk; still if we were extracting psychological facts from drunkards, it would be absurd to be always taunting them with having been drunk. Suppose we were investigating whether angry men really saw a red mist before their eyes. Suppose sixty excellent householders swore that when angry they had seen this crimson cloud: surely it would be absurd to answer "Oh, but you admit you were angry at the time." They might reasonably rejoin (in a stentorian chorus), "How the blazes could we discover, without being angry, whether angry people see red?" So the saints and ascetics might rationally reply, "Suppose that the question is whether believers can see visions -- even then, if you are interested in visions it is no point to object to believers." You are still arguing in a circle -- in that old mad circle with which this book began.
The question of whether miracles ever occur is a question of common sense and of ordinary historical imagination: not of any final physical experiment. One may here surely dismiss that quite brainless piece of pedantry which talks about the need for "scientific conditions" in connection with alleged spiritual phenomena. If we are asking whether a dead soul can communicate with a living it is ludicrous to insist that it shall be under conditions in which no two living souls in their senses would seriously communicate with each other. The fact that ghosts prefer darkness no more disproves the existence of ghosts than the fact that lovers prefer darkness disproves the existence of love. If you choose to say, "I will believe that Miss Brown called her fiancé a periwinkle or, any other endearing term, if she will repeat the word before seventeen psychologists," then I shall reply, "Very well, if those are your conditions, you will never get the truth, for she certainly will not say it." It is just as unscientific as it is unphilosophical to be surprised that in an unsympathetic atmosphere certain extraordinary sympathies do not arise. It is as if I said that I could not tell if there was a fog because the air was not clear enough; or as if I insisted on perfect sunlight in order to see a solar eclipse.
As a common-sense conclusion, such as those to which we come about sex or about midnight (well knowing that many details must in their own nature be concealed) I conclude that miracles do happen. I am forced to it by a conspiracy of facts: the fact that the men who encounter elves or angels are not the mystics and the morbid dreamers, but fishermen, farmers, and all men at once coarse and cautious; the fact that we all know men who testify to spiritualistic incidents but are not spiritualists, the fact that science itself admits such things more and more every day. Science will even admit the Ascension if you call it Levitation, and will very likely admit the Resurrection when it has thought of another word for it. I suggest the Regalvanisation. But the strongest of all is the dilemma above mentioned, that these supernatural things are never denied except on the basis either of anti-democracy or of materialist dogmatism -- I may say materialist mysticism. The sceptic always takes one of the two positions; either an ordinary man need not be believed, or an extraordinary event must not be believed. For I hope we may dismiss the argument against wonders attempted in the mere recapitulation of frauds, of swindling mediums or trick miracles. That is not an argument at all, good or bad. A false ghost disproves the reality of ghosts exactly as much as a forged banknote disproves the existence of the Bank of England -- if anything, it proves its existence.
Given this conviction that the spiritual phenomena do occur (my evidence for which is complex but rational), we then collide with one of the worst mental evils of the age. The greatest disaster of the nineteenth century was this: that men began to use the word "spiritual" as the same as the word "good." They thought that to grow in refinement and uncorporeality was to grow in virtue. When scientific evolution was announced, some feared that it would encourage mere animality. It did worse: it encouraged mere spirituality. It taught men to think that so long as they were passing from the ape they were going to the angel. But you can pass from the ape and go to the devil. A man of genius, very typical of that time of bewilderment, expressed it perfectly. Benjamin Disraeli was right when he said he was on the side of the angels. He was indeed; he was on the side of the fallen angels. He was not on the side of any mere appetite or animal brutality; but he was on the side of all the imperialism of the princes of the abyss; he was on the side of arrogance and mystery, and contempt of all obvious good. Between this sunken pride and the towering humilities of heaven there are, one must suppose, spirits of shapes and sizes. Man, in encountering them, must make much the same mistakes that he makes in encountering any other varied types in any other distant continent. It must be hard at first to know who is supreme and who is subordinate. If a shade arose from the under world, and stared at Piccadilly, that shade would not quite understand the idea of an ordinary closed carriage. He would suppose that the coachman on the box was a triumphant conqueror, dragging behind him a kicking and imprisoned captive. So, if we see spiritual facts for the first time, we may mistake who is uppermost. It is not enough to find the gods; they are obvious; we must find God, the real chief of the gods. We must have a long historic experience in supernatural phenomena -- in order to discover which are really natural. In this light I find the history of Christianity, and even of its Hebrew origins, quite practical and clear. It does not trouble me to be told that the Hebrew god was one among many. I know he was, without any research to tell me so. Jehovah and Baal looked equally important, just as the sun and the moon looked the same size. It is only slowly that we learn that the sun is immeasurably our master, and the small moon only our satellite. Believing that there is a world of spirits, I shall walk in it as I do in the world of men, looking for the thing that I like and think good. Just as I should seek in a desert for clean water, or toil at the North Pole to make a comfortable fire, so I shall search the land of void and vision until I find something fresh like water, and comforting like fire; until I find some place in eternity, where I am literally at home. And there is only one such place to be found.
I have now said enough to show (to any one to whom such an explanation is essential) that I have in the ordinary arena of apologetics, a ground of belief. In pure records of experiment (if these be taken democratically without contempt or favour) there is evidence first, that miracles happen, and second that the nobler miracles belong to our tradition. But I will not pretend that this curt discussion is my real reason for accepting Christianity instead of taking the moral good of Christianity as I should take it out of Confucianism.
I have another far more solid and central ground for submitting to it as a faith, instead of merely picking up hints from it as a scheme. And that is this: that the Christian Church in its practical relation to my soul is a living teacher, not a dead one. It not only certainly taught me yesterday, but will almost certainly teach me to-morrow. Once I saw suddenly the meaning of the shape of the cross; some day I may see suddenly the meaning of the shape of the mitre. One free morning I saw why windows were pointed; some fine morning I may see why priests were shaven. Plato has told you a truth; but Plato is dead. Shakespeare has startled you with an image; but Shakespeare will not startle you with any more. But imagine what it would be to live with such men still living, to know that Plato might break out with an original lecture to-morrow, or that at any moment Shakespeare might shatter everything with a single song. The man who lives in contact with what he believes to be a living Church is a man always expecting to meet Plato and Shakespeare to-morrow at breakfast. He is always expecting to see some truth that he has never seen before. There is one only other parallel to this position; and that is the parallel of the life in which we all began. When your father told you, walking about the garden, that bees stung or that roses smelt sweet, you did not talk of taking the best out of his philosophy. When the bees stung you, you did not call it an entertaining coincidence. When the rose smelt sweet you did not say "My father is a rude, barbaric symbol, enshrining (perhaps unconsciously) the deep delicate truths that flowers smell." No: you believed your father, because you had found him to be a living fountain of facts, a thing that really knew more than you; a thing that would tell you truth to-morrow, as well as to-day. And if this was true of your father, it was even truer of your mother; at least it was true of mine, to whom this book is dedicated. Now, when society is in a rather futile fuss about the subjection of women, will no one say how much every man owes to the tyranny and privilege of women, to the fact that they alone rule education until education becomes futile: for a boy is only sent to be taught at school when it is too late to teach him anything. The real thing has been done already, and thank God it is nearly always done by women. Every man is womanised, merely by being born. They talk of the masculine woman; but every man is a feminised man. And if ever men walk to Westminster to protest against this female privilege, I shall not join their procession.
For I remember with certainty this fixed psychological fact; that the very time when I was most under a woman's authority, I was most full of flame and adventure. Exactly because when my mother said that ants bit they did bite, and because snow did come in winter (as she said); therefore the whole world was to me a fairyland of wonderful fulfilments, and it was like living in some Hebraic age, when prophecy after prophecy came true. I went out as a child into the garden, and it was a terrible place to me, precisely because I had a clue to it: if I had held no clue it would not have been terrible, but tame. A mere unmeaning wilderness is not even impressive. But the garden of childhood was fascinating, exactly because everything had a fixed meaning which could be found out in its turn. Inch by inch I might discover what was the object of the ugly shape called a rake; or form some shadowy conjecture as to why my parents kept a cat.
So, since I have accepted Christendom as a mother and not merely as a chance example, I have found Europe and the world once more like the little garden where I stared at the symbolic shapes of cat and rake; I look at everything with the old elvish ignorance and expectancy. This or that rite or doctrine may look as ugly and extraordinary as a rake; but I have found by experience that such things end somehow in grass and flowers. A clergyman may be apparently as useless as a cat, but he is also as fascinating, for there must be some strange reason for his existence. I give one instance out of a hundred; I have not myself any instinctive kinship with that enthusiasm for physical virginity, which has certainly been a note of historic Christianity. But when I look not at myself but at the world, I perceive that this enthusiasm is not only a note of Christianity, but a note of Paganism, a note of high human nature in many spheres. The Greeks felt virginity when they carved Artemis, the Romans when they robed the vestals, the worst and wildest of the great Elizabethan playwrights clung to the literal purity of a woman as to the central pillar of the world. Above all, the modern world (even while mocking sexual innocence) has flung itself into a generous idolatry of sexual innocence -- the great modern worship of children. For any man who loves children will agree that their peculiar beauty is hurt by a hint of physical sex. With all this human experience, allied with the Christian authority, I simply conclude that I am wrong, and the church right; or rather that I am defective, while the church is universal. It takes all sorts to make a church; she does not ask me to be celibate. But the fact that I have no appreciation of the celibates, I accept like the fact that I have no ear for music. The best human experience is against me, as it is on the subject of Bach. Celibacy is one flower in my father's garden, of which I have not been told the sweet or terrible name. But I may be told it any day.
This, therefore, is, in conclusion, my reason for accepting the religion and not merely the scattered and secular truths out of the religion. I do it because the thing has not merely told this truth or that truth, but has revealed itself as a truth-telling thing. All other philosophies say the things that plainly seem to be true; only this philosophy has again and again said the thing that does not seem to be true, but is true. Alone of all creeds it is convincing where it is not attractive; it turns out to be right, like my father in the garden. Theosophists for instance will preach an obviously attractive idea like re-incarnation; but if we wait for its logical results, they are spiritual superciliousness and the cruelty of caste. For if a man is a beggar by his own pre-natal sins, people will tend to despise the beggar. But Christianity preaches an obviously unattractive idea, such as original sin; but when we wait for its results, they are pathos and brotherhood, and a thunder of laughter and pity; for only with original sin we can at once pity the beggar and distrust the king. Men of science offer us health, an obvious benefit; it is only afterwards that we discover that by health, they mean bodily slavery and spiritual tedium. Orthodoxy makes us jump by the sudden brink of hell; it is only afterwards that we realise that jumping was an athletic exercise highly beneficial to our health. It is only afterwards that we realise that this danger is the root of all drama and romance. The strongest argument for the divine grace is simply its ungraciousness. The unpopular parts of Christianity turn out when examined to be the very props of the people. The outer ring of Christianity is a rigid guard of ethical abnegations and professional priests; but inside that inhuman guard you will find the old human life dancing like children, and drinking wine like men; for Christianity is the only frame for pagan freedom. But in the modern philosophy the case is opposite; it is its outer ring that is obviously artistic and emancipated; its despair is within.
And its despair is this, that it does not really believe that there is any meaning in the universe; therefore it cannot hope to find any romance; its romances will have no plots. A man cannot expect any adventures in the land of anarchy. But a man can expect any number of adventures if he goes travelling in the land of authority. One can find no meanings in a jungle of scepticism; but the man will find more and more meanings who walks through a forest of doctrine and design. Here everything has a story tied to its tail, like the tools or pictures in my father's house; for it is my father's house. I end where I began -- at the right end. I have entered at least the gate of all good philosophy. I have come into my second childhood.
But this larger and more adventurous Christian universe has one final mark difficult to express; yet as a conclusion of the whole matter I will attempt to express it. All the real argument about religion turns on the question of whether a man who was born upside down can tell when he comes right way up. The primary paradox of Christianity is that the ordinary condition of man is not his sane or sensible condition; that the normal itself is an abnormality. That is the inmost philosophy of the Fall. In Sir Oliver Lodge's interesting new Catechism, the first two questions were: "What are you?" and "What, then, is the meaning of the Fall of Man?" I remember amusing myself by writing my own answers to the questions; but I soon found that they were very broken and agnostic answers. To the question, "What are you?" I could only answer, "God knows." And to the question, "What is meant by the Fall?" I could answer with complete sincerity, "That whatever I am, I am not myself." This is the prime paradox of our religion; something that we have never in any full sense known, is not only better than ourselves, but even more natural to us than ourselves. And there is really no test of this except the merely experimental one with which these pages began, the test of the padded cell and the open door. It is only since I have known orthodoxy that I have known mental emancipation. But, in conclusion, it has one special application to the ultimate idea of joy.
It is said that Paganism is a religion of joy and Christianity of sorrow; it would be just as easy to prove that Paganism is pure sorrow and Christianity pure joy. Such conflicts mean nothing and lead nowhere. Everything human must have in it both joy and sorrow; the only matter of interest is the manner in which the two things are balanced or divided. And the really interesting thing is this, that the pagan was (in the main) happier and happier as he approached the earth, but sadder and sadder as he approached the heavens. The gaiety of the best Paganism, as in the playfulness of Catullus or Theocritus, is, indeed, an eternal gaiety never to be forgotten by a grateful humanity. But it is all a gaiety about the facts of life, not about its origin. To the pagan the small things are as sweet as the small brooks breaking out of the mountain; but the broad things are as bitter as the sea. When the pagan looks at the very core of the cosmos he is struck cold. Behind the gods, who are merely despotic, sit the fates, who are deadly. Nay, the fates are worse than deadly; they are dead. And when rationalists say that the ancient world was more enlightened than the Christian, from their point of view they are right. For when they say "enlightened" they mean darkened with incurable despair. It is profoundly true that the ancient world was more modern than the Christian. The common bond is in the fact that ancients and moderns have both been miserable about existence, about everything, while mediaevals were happy about that at least. I freely grant that the pagans, like the moderns, were only miserable about everything -- they were quite jolly about everything else. I concede that the Christians of the Middle Ages were only at peace about everything -- they were at war about everything else. But if the question turn on the primary pivot of the cosmos, then there was more cosmic contentment in the narrow and bloody streets of Florence than in the theatre of Athens or the open garden of Epicurus. Giotto lived in a gloomier town than Euripides, but he lived in a gayer universe.
The mass of men have been forced to be gay about the little things, but sad about the big ones. Nevertheless (I offer my last dogma defiantly) it is not native to man to be so. Man is more himself, man is more manlike, when joy is the fundamental thing in him, and grief the superficial. Melancholy should be an innocent interlude, a tender and fugitive frame of mind; praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul. Pessimism is at best an emotional half-holiday; joy is the uproarious labour by which all things live. Yet, according to the apparent estate of man as seen by the pagan or the agnostic, this primary need of human nature can never be fulfilled. Joy ought to be expansive; but for the agnostic it must be contracted, it must cling to one corner of the world. Grief ought to be a concentration; but for the agnostic its desolation is spread through an unthinkable eternity. This is what I call being born upside down. The sceptic may truly be said to be topsy-turvy; for his feet are dancing upwards in idle ecstacies, while his brain is in the abyss. To the modern man the heavens are actually below the earth. The explanation is simple; he is standing on his head; which is a very weak pedestal to stand on. But when he has found his feet again he knows it. Christianity satisfies suddenly and perfectly man's ancestral instinct for being the right way up; satisfies it supremely in this; that by its creed joy becomes something gigantic and sadness something special and small. The vault above us is not deaf because the universe is an idiot; the silence is not the heartless silence of an endless and aimless world. Rather the silence around us is a small and pitiful stillness like the prompt stillness in a sick-room. We are perhaps permitted tragedy as a sort of merciful comedy: because the frantic energy of divine things would knock us down like a drunken farce. We can take our own tears more lightly than we could take the tremendous levities of the angels. So we sit perhaps in a starry chamber of silence, while the laughter of the heavens is too loud for us to hear.
Joy, which was the small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian. And as I close this chaotic volume I open again the strange small book from which all Christianity came; and I am again haunted by a kind of confirmation. The tremendous figure which fills the Gospels towers in this respect, as in every other, above all the thinkers who ever thought themselves tall. His pathos was natural, almost casual. The Stoics, ancient and modern, were proud of concealing their tears. He never concealed His tears; He showed them plainly on His open face at any daily sight, such as the far sight of His native city. Yet He concealed something. Solemn supermen and imperial diplomatists are proud of restraining their anger. He never restrained His anger. He flung furniture down the front steps of the Temple, and asked men how they expected to escape the damnation of Hell. Yet He restrained something. I say it with reverence; there was in that shattering personality a thread that must be called shyness. There was something that He hid from all men when He went up a mountain to pray. There was something that He covered constantly by abrupt silence or impetuous isolation. There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth.
End of Orthodoxy, 1908.
Quotations of G. K. Chesterton
"Misers get up early in the morning; and burglars, I am informed, get up the night before." - Tremendous Trifles
"A change of opinions is almost unknown in an elderly military man." - A Utopia of Usurers, CW, V, p396
"The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice." - A Defense of Humilities, The Defendant, 1901
"A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it." - Everlasting Man, 1925
"Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions." - ILN, 4/19/30
"Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference, which is an elegant name for ignorance." - The Speaker, 12/15/00
"What embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but an absence of self-criticism." - Sidelights on New London and Newer New York
"He is a [sane] man who can have tragedy in his heart and comedy in his head." - Tremendous Trifles, 1909
"Among the rich you will never find a really generous man even by accident. They may give their money away, but they will never give themselves away; they are egotistic, secretive, dry as old bones. To be smart enough to get all that money you must be dull enough to want it." - A Miscellany of Men
"Moderate strength is shown in violence, supreme strength is shown in levity." - The Man Who was Thursday, 1908
"The simplification of anything is always sensational." - Varied Types
"Complaint always comes back in an echo from the ends of the world; but silence strengthens us." - The Father Brown Omnibus
"Customs are generally unselfish. Habits are nearly always selfish." - ILN 1-11-08
"I believe what really happens in history is this: the old man is always wrong; and the young people are always wrong about what is wrong with him. The practical form it takes is this: that, while the old man may stand by some stupid custom, the young man always attacks it with some theory that turns out to be equally stupid." - ILN 6-3-22
"The center of every man's existence is a dream. Death, disease, insanity, are merely material accidents, like a toothache or a twisted ankle. That these brutal forces always besiege and often capture the citadel does not prove that they are the citadel." - "Sir Walter Scott," Twelve Types
"The person who is really in revolt is the optimist, who generally lives and dies in a desperate and suicidal effort to persuade other people how good they are." - Introduction to The Defendant
"To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it." - A Short History of England, Ch.10
"All the exaggerations are right, if they exaggerate the right thing." - "On Gargoyles." Alarms and Discursions
"The comedy of man survives the tragedy of man." - ILN 2-10-06
"We have had no good comic operas of late, because the real world has been more comic than any possible opera." - The Quotable Chesterton
"When learned men begin to use their reason, then I generally discover that they haven't got any." - ILN 11-7-08
"The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog." - Broadcast talk 6-11-35
"Aesthetes never do anything but what they are told." - "The Love of Lead" Lunacy and Letters
"The aesthete aims at harmony rather than beauty. If his hair does not match the mauve sunset against which he is standing, he hurriedly dyes his hair another shade of mauve. If his wife does not go with the wall-paper, he gets a divorce." - ILN,12/25/09 "The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right." - ILN 10-28-22
"Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it." - "Charles II" Twelve Types
"Man is always something worse or something better than an animal; and a mere argument from animal perfection never touches him at all. Thus, in sex no animal is either chivalrous or obscene. And thus no animal invented anything so bad as drunkenness - or so good as drink." - "Wine when it is red" All Things Considered
"When we step into the family, by the act of being born, we do step into a world which is incalculable, into a world which has its own strange laws, into a world which could do without us, into a world we have not made. In other words, when we step into the family we step into a fairy-tale." - Heretics, CW, I, p.143
"A thing may be too sad to be believed or too wicked to be believed or too good to be believed; but it cannot be too absurd to be believed in this planet of frogs and elephants, of crocodiles and cuttle-fish." - Maycock, The Man Who Was Orthodox
"Do not enjoy yourself. Enjoy dances and theaters and joy-rides and champagne and oysters; enjoy jazz and cocktails and night-clubs if you can enjoy nothing better; enjoy bigamy and burglary and any crime in the calendar, in preference to the other alternative; but never learn to enjoy yourself." - The Common Man
"Do not look at the faces in the illustrated papers. Look at the faces in the street." - ILN, 11/16/07
"When giving treats to friends or children, give them what they like, emphatically not what is good for them." - Chesterton Review, February, 1984
"I agree with the realistic Irishman who said he preferred to prophesy after the event." - ILN, 10/7/16
The Cult of Progress
"Progress is a comparative of which we have not settled the superlative." - Chapter 2, Heretics, 1905
"Progress should mean that we are always changing the world to fit the vision, instead we are always changing the vision." - Orthodoxy, 1908
"My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday." - New York Times Magazine, 2/11/23
"Men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back." - What's Wrong With The World, 1910
ILN: Illustrated London News
Messages to the Portavoz
"It is necessary to withdraw from the vice that has infected everyone at the present time: radio and television. They must have a moderate schedule for this diversion, and not occupy themselves with immoral programs, as most of them are, and err by permitting children to lose their innocence through this wicked diversion." (Jan. 10, 1974)
"They must use vocal prayers, although they be little ones, but they will elevate the soul to its God. They would have to have a most intimate filial relationship with my Blessed Mother. The holy family Rosary, communions and visits to my Eucharistic Sacrament, even spiritually, at least, and this during the day and even at night." (Jan. 10, 1974)
"Another sinful thing at present is the decor of the rooms of seculars, where now no place of preference is given to my Sacred Heart not to the images of my Immaculate Mother, my saints and my angels. ... The homes of believing seculars are a shame. Let them show with works the faith and love that some of them still claim to have for me." (Jan. 10, 1974)
"With respect to the life of perfection, it is just as you have grasped it this morning. Let people be guided by the book written by my very beloved son, Thomas a Kempis. He entitled his writings 'The Imitation of Christ' by an order that I gave him, because he wrote these marvelous pages by the light of my spirit." (Nov. 14, 1973)
"These souls do not need to change their manner of living externally, that is, the married couples in their homes and in the married state, can form a part of my Work of Atonement. The young, who have not chosen a state, or the adults that are still single, those, yes. Let them consecrate themselves completely to giving veneration to my Victim Heart. Let them live united to me, and to the Minim brothers and nuns. The sick, the professionals, let them live as though fastened to the cross of their duties: let them unite themselves to the legion of victim souls." (July 17, 1974)
"Read this text (Legion of Victim Souls) with a simple and proper spirit, and I promise to give you the graces necessary to participate in the Work of Atonement. I, Christ, your Redeemer and Master, promise it to you. This is the last revelation my Victim Heart makes to men. My peace be with all those who believe in my messages given through your mediation. I am honored and served by those who believe me." (Nov. 5, 1973)