So I am reading Frank Sheed’s “Sidelights on the Catholic Revival (1940)”. A book of essays originally from his publishing house to promote their books. In the introduction, he jokes it could be called “Our own trumpet”. The cover art alludes to this.
Just a couple of essays in and I am enjoying pretty much every paragraph.
“Catholic novels have got themselves a bad
name,so that even Catholics avoid them. Why? Not, we think for the reasons usually given. It is not simply that too many of them end with a flurry of wedding-bells and a shower of conversions. The reason is more fundamental. The Catholic as a Catholic has been taught that God is everywhere and that all things are overruled by Providence: he has been taught and he believes it. But he sees the hand of Providence best when things fall out as he would have arranged them if he had been God! So that as a novelist the Catholic too often takes his little section of life, and instead of seeing Providence in it, acts Providence to it. As you read you feel that the thing is being maneuvered.”
In another essay, he talks about arguing facts and statistics and why it will go nowhere in many cases. His example is that the Communist has a vision and we can only meet this with our own vision. “You can only meet a vision with a vision”. That we have one starting with the Magnificat.
“Use and custom have dulled the edge of the wonder of Catholicism. We even lay it as an accusation against the Communist that he is a visionary. For with all the Sun for our birthright we are cold, as they are aflame with their small ray.”
This is super-insightful and really explains so much of talking-past-each-other debate. I love all the facts, details, apologetic arguments, etc. But we must never forget the fullness of truth as a vision given us. We must never stop marveling at it.
This ties in with something I just read from G.K. Chesterton “On Sir Walter Scott”.
“And because I love everything that adds at least to the wonder of the world and because I hate familiarity as I hate contempt, I am glad that the strange god in the garden grows stronger every day. For we need mystery to console and encourage us.”
We can’t help others see the vision of the truth of the Catholic faith if we have lost that vision ourselves.