A (Catholic) Cry from the Heart …


Statue at La Salette in France, where Our Lady appeared weeping for the modern world …

May I be permitted, may I permit myself, I wonder, a lamentation here, a cry, even a scream from the heart?

Cry out, as I continue in the personal and autobiographical mode of my last entry – in which entry I also invoked the words of a deceased, anonymous author writing in French, just before the arrival of the new Mass:

“Dear Unknown Friend, imagine to yourself a world without the Church. Imagine a world of factories, clubs, sports, political meetings, utilitarian universities, utilitarian arts or recreations– in which you would hear not a single word of praise for the Holy Trinity or of benediction in its name.

Imagine to yourself a world in which you would never hear ‘Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancti, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper et in saecula saeculorum” or ‘Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus, Pater, Filius et Spiritus Sanctus’

A world without worship and without benediction … how deprived of ozone the psychic and spiritual atmosphere would then be, and how empty and cold it would be!”

And my point was, that this is the world so many of us have now. I grew up in an Anglophone world where Catholicism was virtually invisible. I grew up with near-total cultural invisibility of the Catholic Mystery.

And I grew up in a world that many find cold indeed. I came to adulthood in the 1980´s.

There was a film then, The Big Chill. The film posters carried a slogan: “In a cold world, you need your friends to keep you warm.” And many remarked that the movie owed its success to the fact that it did indeed starkly evoke the malaise of modern life.

Of course, the number of modern films and books and forms of art, pointing to a cold, atomised, hyper-individualised malaise is legion.

Who am I? I am a Catholic, who despite the near-total cultural blackout on the Catholic Mystery, discovered the Church and converted.

Who am I? I am a Catholic who aspires each day to unite himself with His Body and Blood. I am a Catholic who is warmed, warmed daily by His Body and Blood. I am a Catholic who will gladly suffer the oft inane, trivialised and banalised Novus Ordo to so unite myself.

I am a Catholic also, who after decades of living in England, Scotland and America, began to take up abode in different countries. In Germany and Switzerland and then later in Catholic countries: Ireland, France and Spain.

I am a Catholic who saw and felt something different there – in Catholic Spain and Catholic Ireland most of all. Ireland – it was living in this country where I felt the warmest and most communitarian cultural ethos I have ever experienced. Shocking – this kindness and genuine helpfulness of the Irish. Shocking. At times, I reeled.

To the scandal no doubt of many other sectors of the English world from which I stem, sectors proud of their secular and Protestant heritage, I confess I cannot help but see this legendary and real Irish warmth as linked to centuries of faithful practice of the Catholic Mystery.

And a practice which thirsts for daily communion, as I now thirst. At least, when I was in Ireland, the numbers were striking indeed who sought daily communion with the warmth-currents flowing from His Sacred Heart.

Who am I? I am an Anglo-American Catholic who looks out upon the Mystery of uniting warmly with the God-Man and asks why have we constructed this cultural black-out in the Anglo-American world? Why? Why? Why?

The answers are complex indeed and after being permitted this little burst of semi-incoherence from the heart, I will no doubt be returning somewhat less dramatically to the matter of the Anglophone cultural invisibility of the Catholic Mystery – and its consequences.

Post Script: I have further entries on Catholic Ireland here

From Amazon US:

These books can also be found in our Amazon UK store here. The following titles also have Reviews at these links: (Puritan’s Empire) (Meditations on the Tarot) (When Corporations Rule the World).

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  1. Posted 24 January 2010 at 11:19 | Permalink

    Roger – don’t be fooled by us Irish! 🙂 We have our good points but we’re no better than anyone else!! We have a beautiful heritage that we may yet again tap into, now that the celtic tiger has vanished into thin air.

    Oliver James has written a very interesting book “affluenza” about the epidemic ‘sweeping through the English-speaking world… that makes us twice as prone to depression, anxiety and addictions than people in other developed nations. And now we are infecting the rest of the world with this virulent virus.’

    He describes very clearly ‘Shelfish Capitalism’ in all its manifestations. His prescription for how we can get ourselves out of this however seems to be based solely on using our own will.

    It is incumbent on all of us who have, or have returned to, or have found The Faith to spread the word to all those who realise we’re all in a mess but don’t know what to do or where to start.

    Aftr the vacuum of the last 100 years I think the world is ready for Jesus, Thanks be to God!

    check it out

  2. roger
    Posted 24 January 2010 at 14:38 | Permalink

    Thank you warmly for this, Epsilon.

    Regarding Ireland, I will speak at the comment you left on another weblog entry about Ireland.

    Here I will say thank you for pointing me to Affluenza – the second such pointer I have had recently!

    I definitely need to check this out when I can. Though your comment does not surprise me:

    “He describes very clearly ‘Shelfish Capitalism’ in all its manifestations. His prescription for how we can get ourselves out of this however seems to be based solely on using our own will.”

    I appreciate good, informed writing about the nature and causes of the affluent, materialist disease we are all suffering from – but as to the healing and solution such writing usually gives, a Pelagian we-can-do-by-ourselves I find very much to be lacking.

    In other words, such books have real descriptive value value for me but little prescriptive value. Yes what you say is “incumbent” indeed. Proposing without imposing as Ven. John Paul II would say.

    I also want to say again how much I appreciated seeing at your blog, a combined concern for world capitalism and the Tradition of the Church. It is a combination that is all-too-rare, and as I also said there feels to me something particularly heartfelt and compassionate to your blog.

    Which means to say, to anyone else reading this, I find much of meaning and beauty at Epsilon´s weblog here and am glad to have discovered her …

    Finally Kim will also be replying. She has a disability which effects her regarding computer screens, often slowing her down, but we both appreciate your comments here very much.

    Thank you again, unknown friend.

  3. Posted 24 January 2010 at 23:19 | Permalink

    You’re both very welcome! I too have been influenced by new-ageism – anyone with a sense of spirituality in the last 40 years where the Catholic Church was banalised beyond belief has bound to have been imho:) Thank God we can now find true expression of spirituality within some of the Church’s walls. Our prayers and patience must be for those within who are a little slower than us:)

    I really don’t think we’re alone in this – I hope and pray that God will forgive us for taking so long to realise how much our minds were colonised. What’s very interesting to me is that Thomas Merton and others spoke of the evil of modern-day living long before the 60s which was when I thought it all took off. In other words, the seeds of the imprisoning “freedom” of the 60s were sewn a lot earlier in the first half of the 20th century.

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