November 28, 2011

An Attack of Wonder

“You can be sitting quietly in a chair and suffer an attack of wonder, simply because you are alive.”

An imaginary monologue in the voice of G.K. Chesterton, in which a Catholic priest of these times, Michael Paul Gallagher SJ, tries to capture aspects of Chesterton’s vision which can help us revive our language of religious wonder for Advent. A short excerpt:

In short my life has been a mystery-story, blessed with gratitude in spite of sorrow and with joy in spite of sin. Existence has remained such a strangeness opening me to the only One who can work such a miracle. So I have tried to live a simple religion of gratitude, but this gratitude needed a theology to ground it. It needed a tradition to go beyond a vague sense of purpose and presence. And so I found my own mystical, imaginative hunches confirmed in Christianity and Catholicism. The Church dared to go down with me into the depths of myself, healing my self-hurts with absolution and restoring me to joy, a joy that stays in touch with reality and with responsibility. Here in Christ is God’s answer to the riddle of the universe, the perfect fit for the human heart, swinging as it does like a pendulum between guilt and glory.
‘The less a man thinks of himself, the more he thinks of his good luck and of all the gifts of God.’ I am a large man, but thank God I have felt happily too small for life, for the life that wells up into eternity. ‘I have experienced the mere excitement of existence in places that would commonly be called as dull as ditchwater. And, by the way, is ditchwater dull? Naturalists with microscopes have told me that it teems with quiet fun.’

H/T: Società Chestertoniana Italiana



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