A Shining and Affirmative Thing

White is a colour. It is not the absence of colour; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black. When, so to speak, your pencil grows red-hot, it draws roses; when it grows white-hot, it draws stars. And one of the two or three defiant verities of the best religious morality, of real Christianity, for example, is exactly this same thing; the chief assertion of religious morality is that white is a colour. Virtue is not the absence of vices or the avoidance of moral dangers; virtue is a vivid and separate thing, like pain or a particular smell. Mercy does not mean not being cruel or sparing people revenge or punishment; it means a plain and positive thing like the sun, which one has either seen or not seen.

GKC – A Piece of Chalk

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An Education in Gratitude

“A CRITIC has truly pointed out that Savonarola could not have been fundamentally anti-æsthetic, since he had such friends as Michael Angelo, Botticelli, and Luca della Robbia. The fact is that this purification and austerity are even more necessary for the appreciation of life and laughter than for anything else. To let no bird fly past unnoticed, to spell patiently the stones and weeds, to have the mind a storehouse of sunset, requires a discipline in pleasure, and an education in gratitude.”

~G.K. Chesterton: ‘Savonarola’

(In “Twelve Types”: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/12491)

Image source: http://bit.ly/2CGpheJ

Wild and Utterly Unexplained

“THIS world is not to be justified as it is justified by the mechanical optimists; it is not to be justified as the best of all possible worlds. Its merit is not that it is orderly and explicable; its merit is that it is wild and utterly unexplained. Its merit is precisely that none of us could have conceived such a thing, that we should have rejected the bare idea of it as miracle and unreason. It is the best of all impossible worlds.”

~G.K. Chesterton: ‘Charles Dickens,’ Ch. XI— On the Alleged Optimism of Dickens.

https://tinyurl.com/ya8jmdjc

To Wander With a Wandering Star

And I thought, “I will go with you,

As man with God has gone,

And wander with a wandering star,

The wandering heart of things that are,

The fiery cross of love and war

That like yourself, goes on.”

O go you onward; where you are

Shall honour and laughter be,

Past purpled forest and pearled foam,

God’s winged pavilion free to roam,

Your face, that is a wandering home,

A flying home for me.

Ride through the silent earthquake lands,

Wide as a waste is wide,

Across these days like deserts, when

Pride and a little scratching pen

Have dried and split the hearts of men,

Heart of the heroes, ride.

Up through an empty house of stars,

Being what heart you are,

Up the inhuman steeps of space

As on a staircase go in grace,

Carrying the firelight on your face

Beyond the loneliest star.”

– GK Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse

This reminds me of Chesterton’s other poem, Love is Enough.

~ W.

Heresies and Fads

“FROM time to time in human history, but especially in restless epochs like our own, a certain class of things appears. In the old world they were called heresies. In the modern world they are called fads. Sometimes they are for a time useful; sometimes they are wholly mischievous. But they always consist of undue concentration upon some one truth or half-truth. Thus it is true to insist upon God’s knowledge, but heretical to insist on it as Calvin did at the expense of his Love; thus it is true to desire a simple life, but heretical to desire it at the expense of good feeling and good manners. The heretic (who is also the fanatic) is not a man who loves truth too much; no man can love truth too much. The heretic is a man who loves his truth more than truth itself. He prefers the half-truth that he has found to the whole truth which humanity has found. He does not like to see his own precious little paradox merely bound up with twenty truisms into the bundle of the wisdom of the world.”

~G.K. Chesterton: Excerpt from “On Reading.”

The Riddle of Love

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There is but one thing

Which is both work and wage,

Both wound and healing,

Both journey and inn,

Both motive and method,

Both master and servant,

Both giving and receiving,

Both law and freedom,

Both antiquity and novelty,

Both tradition and revolution,

Both mystery and familiarity,

Both innocence and knowledge,

Both germ and consummation,

Both child and ancient,

Both origin and aim.

~ GK Chesterton, mid 1890’s