Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesdays with Words: For all the saints . . .

I'm currently reading Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White, which I'm really enjoying but I'm not ready to make a post of quotes -- it would take too long to get it together and I want to get back to my book.  Instead, here's a quote from a book I've never read (but which now has to go into my wish list!) that I found at Alan Jacobs' blog on Tumblr and is perfectly suited to this week in the Church year.

To those who know a little of christian history probably the most moving of all the reflections it brings is not the thought of the great events and the well-remembered saints, but of those innumerable millions of entirely obscure faithful men and women, every one with his or her own individual hopes and fears and joys and sorrows and loves — and sins and temptations and prayers — once every whit as vivid and alive as mine are now. They have left no slightest trace in this world, not even a name, but have passed to God utterly forgotten by men. Yet each one of them once believed and prayed as I believe and pray, and found it hard and grew slack and sinned and repented and fell again. Each of them worshipped at the eucharist, and found their thoughts wandering and tried again, and felt heavy and unresponsive and yet knew — just as really and pathetically as I do these things. There is a little ill-spelled ill-carved rustic epitaph of the fourth century from Asia Minor: — ‘Here sleeps the blessed Chione, who has found Jerusalem for she prayed much’. Not another word is known of Chione, some peasant woman who lived in that vanished world of christian Anatolia. But how lovely if all that should survive after sixteen centuries were that one had prayed much, so that the neighbours who saw all one’s life were sure one must have found Jerusalem! What did the Sunday eucharist in her village church every week for a life-time mean to the blessed Chione — and to the millions like her then, and every year since then? The sheer stupendous quantity of the love of God which this ever-repeated action has drawn from the obscure Christian multitudes through the centuries is in itself an overwhelming thought.

— Dom Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy (1945). One of my favorite paragraphs I’ve ever read. (via wesleyhill)

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Biographies, shelf 2 of 3

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Sunday, October the 26th, was the feast day of Alfred the Great.  Every year in October I read Chesterton's Ballad of the White Horse to remember him and to learn from him.  I've blogged about both the poem and the man several times over the years, so be sure to check out my Alfred the Great tag.  One of the posts includes lots of links to cool websites with history, music, and more.

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Current Reading

A History of Mathematics, Uta C. Merzbach and Carl B. Boyer
A History of Pi, Petr Beckmann
Introduction to Arithmetic, Nichomachus of Gerasa
The Code of the Warrior:  Exploring Warrior Values Past and Present, Shannon E. French
The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
Onward and Upward in the Garden, Katharine S. White
A Book of Hours, Thomas Merton, ed. Kathleen Deignan

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  1. I love that quote. It's definitely worthy of inclusion in my commonplace book.

    Alan Jacobs has a blog. I plan to go visit as soon as I have a few minutes to spare. :)

    I loved the Moonstone. You are inspiring me to finally read The Woman in White, too.


    1. He actually has more than one -- be sure the check the links to the others in his sidebar.

  2. I am sorry to say I never knew about the feast day of Alfred, but now I've learned it, it will give me a prod to read The Ballad of the White Horse, if not every year, at least more often than I have done! That is a wonderful paragraph from Dix, which I will save, and *also* thank you for telling me that Jacobs has a blog - that will be well worth adding to my reader. What a treasure store this one post is.

  3. Beautiful, Kelly. Sorry it has taken more than a week to get here. I love the reminders of the Church Triumphant and their encouragement to refocus and try again. To God be the glory for his sustaining and goodness to me.


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