Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hilaire Belloc & Ecumenism

"Those of us who boast so stable an endowment make no claim thereby to personal peace; we are not saved thereby alone .... But we are of so glorious a company that we receive support, and have communion. The Mother of God is also our own. Our dead are with us. Even in these our earthly miseries we always hear the distant something of an eternal music, and smell a native air. There is a standard set for us whereto our whole selves respond, which is that of an inherited and endless life, quite full, in our own country. You may say, “all that is rhetoric.” You would be wrong, for it is rather vision, recognition, and testimony. But take it for rhetoric. Have you any such? Be it but rhetoric, whence does that stream flow? Or what reserve is that which can fill even such a man as myself with fire? Can your opinion (or doubt or gymnastics) do the same? I think not! One thing in this world is different from all others. It has a personality and a force. It is recognized and (when recognized) most violently hated or loved. It is the Catholic Church. Within that household the human spirit has roof and hearth. Outside it is the night."

I'm not trying to proselatize or start a fight, I just read this quote and thought it was very interesting, I've re-read it a few times now and am thinking about it and whether or not I agree with it... I post it only as food for thought.

Now he is being polemically Catholic, and I know that route is popular among the Traditionalists, but I don't favor that as much as Ecumenism. I want to switch gears at this point in the blog, I am glad that Catholics can be that proud of their establishments, indeed I believe them to be the truest establishments, but I have lived to long with God fearing Protestants to believe they have no inspiration or rhetoric of their own. So I want to show how this quote is a beautiful quote in part for all Christians. "Even in these our earthly miseries we always hear the distant something of an eternal music, and smell a native air". That line brings to my mind immediately one of my favourite portions of the bible, the hall of faith in Hebrews 11:

"By faith he [Abraham] stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents... For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.... They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland... they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them. " (NRSV)
Scripture is our joint Liturgy and source of rhetoric, we can all rally behind that.
As the Liturgy of the Eucharist sings: "in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor are yours Almighty Father, forever, and ever."
May Christians of all kinds find the sweet fragrance of our Lord in the miseries of life.

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