Thursday, September 07, 2006

Chesterton at prayer

To begin this Thursday, thinking of Nancy and all the many who need our assistance and that of God, let us consider some few words by GKC on the subject of prayer:

That external vigilance which has always been the mark of Christianity (the command that we should watch and pray [See Mt 26;41, Mk 14:38, Lk 21:36]) has expressed itself both in typical western orthodoxy and in typical western politics: but both depend on the idea of a divinity transcendent, different from ourselves, a deity that disappears. Certainly the most sagacious creeds may suggest that we should pursue God into deeper and deeper rings of the labyrinth of our own ego. But only we of Christendom have said that we should hunt God like an eagle upon the mountains: and we have killed all monsters in the chase.
Orthodoxy CW1:339

You say grace before meals
All right.
But I say grace before the play and the opera,
And grace before the concert and pantomime,
And grace before I open a book,
And grace before sketching, painting,
Swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing;
And grace before I dip the pen in the ink.
-- "The Notebook" quoted in Maisie Ward's Gilbert Keith Chesterton

We should thank God for beer and burgundy by not drinking too much of them.
-- Orthodoxy CW1:268

"The cross of Christ be between me and harm," said Father Brown.
-- "The Purple Wig" in The Wisdom of Father Brown

"If I want any miracles, I know where to get them."
-- "The Miracle of Moon Crescent" in The Incredulity of Father Brown

One more, perhaps one of the most amazing snapshots of all, revealing the secret of all conversions:

After the lecture on the umbrella two priests saw [GKC] at the railway bookstall and asked him if the rumour was true that he was thinking of joining the Church. He answered, "It's a matter that is giving me a great deal of agony of mind, and I'd be very grateful if you would pray for me."

... St. Theresa said the hardest penance was easier than mental prayer: was not much of Gilbert's thought a contemplation?
-- quoted in Maisie Ward's Gilbert Keith Chesterton

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