Tag Archives: GK Chesterton

Christ the King III

strasb.palm (270x393)

This scene shows the start of Holy Week, it is Palm Sunday, when Jesus was acclaimed as King by the people of Jerusalem.

Even the donkey is excited: look at his ears, look at his eyes! He is taking it all in. This is his hour:

One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

G.K.Chesterton, The Donkey.

This was not just a moment of irrelevance in the Holy Week story, but a moment of truth.

Enjoy the hour, enjoy the moment, and like Mary, treasure all these things in your heart.

Although we know what the next chapter of this story brings, treasure this hour and ponder on it.

Although you do not know what the next chapter of your own story may bring, treasure this hour in your heart and ponder on it.

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A New Heaven, A new Earth

Yesterday we had St Francis and GKC together. Time to look into Chesterton’s life of the Saint.Early on, Chesterton scans the world into which Francis was born. It could almost be our own:

It was no metaphor to say that [pagan Romans and Greeks] needed a new heaven and a new earth; [Revelation 21:1] for they had really defiled their own earth and even their own heaven …  It was no good telling such people to have a natural religion full of stars and flowers; there was not a flower or even a star that had not been stained. They had to go into the desert where they could find no flowers or even into the cavern where they could see no stars. Into that desert and that cavern the highest human intellect entered for some four centuries; and it was the very wisest thing it could do. Nothing but the stark supernatural stood up for its salvation; if God could not save it, certainly the gods could not.


Francis, Chesterton suggests, was able to contribute to a new understanding of nature as God’s creation. He can sing of Brother Sun, Sister Water, Sister Mother Earth, and even Sister Death.

We have certainly defiled our earth and our atmosphere and our street lamps blot out the stars.

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Symbols Everywhere

Michael Glover’s piece reminded me of Chesterton’s parable of a man’s sudden awareness of the crosses all around him:

Not a light shifted, not a leaf stirred, but he saw as if by a sudden change in the eyesight that this paling was an army of innumerable crosses linked together over hill and dale. And he whirled up his heavy stick and went at it as if at an army. Mile after mile along his homeward path he broke it down and tore it up. For he hated the cross and every paling is a wall of crosses. When he returned to his house he was a literal madman … He broke his furniture because it was made of crosses. He burnt his house because it was made of crosses. He was found in the river.

It’s too glib to have a Bible verse to hand, such as: ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.’ (Luke 9:23) My point is that the believer – as well as the unbeliever! – can have that sudden change in the eyesight and see what is to be seen.

So St Francis sang his Canticle of Creation, seeing God in all things:

Be praised, my Lord, for all your creation
and especially for our Brother Sun,
who brings us the day and the light;
he is strong and shines magnificently.

GK Chesterton, The Ball and the Cross, can be found at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/5265/5265-h/5265-h.htm

The whole Canticle of Creation can be found in many places, including: Catholic On Line:  http://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=3188


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