Friday, October 24, 2008

Stranger than Fiction

TRUTH must necessarily be stranger than fiction; for fiction is the creation of the human mind and therefore congenial to it.

(Todays quote of the day)

I think the following story from the marvelous Wisdom and Innocence by Joseph Pearce, is very much in the spirit of the quote above

Many years later this splendid stir and thrum was to have a marked effect on
Douglas Hyde during a train journey through south London:

Through my mind, in rhythm with the wheels, ran a verse from Chesterton's Ballad of the White Horse I had re-read not long before:

Therfore I bring these rhymes to you,

Who brought the cross to me,

Since on you flaming without flaw,

I saw the sign that Guthrum saw

When he let break the ships of awe,

And laid peace upon the sea

Could there be so many Catholic Churches? I asked myself, as cross followed cross. Why had I not seen them before? Through Herne Hill, Tulse Hill, smug, suburban Streatham, the crosses came and went. And still the wheels hammered out Chesterton's lines:

Out of the mouth of the Mother of God

Like a little word come I;

For I go gathering Christian men

From sunken paving and ford and fen,

To die in a battle, God knows when,

By God, but I know why.

Hyde was, at this time, a leading member of the Communist Pary and news
editor of its paper, the Daily Worker. Soon after, he resigned from its ranks
and became a Catholic.


Dr. Thursday said...

Yes, that phrase, "truth is stranger than fiction" is rather important to me at present. It comes up at least three times in GKC's work, and is well worth considering in each context - perhaps I will post on them later.

But as important as it is, I think you bring up a much more important topic - the topic of conversion.

Unlike many other converts, GKC, a writer, spent a good bit of his energy writing about his own conversion, and about the process in a somewhat more general manner - perhaps chief of those words is The Catholic Church and Conversion which is available in CW3.

However, every time this topic arises, I feel I must point out the behind-the-scenes work which was revealed in the letter to GKC from Maurice Baring, reprinted in Maisie Ward's biography of GKC (page 475) - the critical point of which how much prayer plays a part in conversion! It seems clear that, despite GKC's long interest and friendship towards the Church, the "divine economy" required prayer as well.

We must remember this: it is a grave duty for us Chestertonians to pray for those who are converting - as well as for us who daily struggle with our commitment to the Faith.

St. Paul, mighty wielder of voice and pen, patron of media, pray for us!

Old Fashioned Liberal said...

Peter Kreeft calls human creativity a kind of discovery. If this is true (which I think it is), then fiction is no more a creation of the human mind than truth. On the other hand, it would seem that those things that end up being discovered by the human mind would be the ones that have some sort of affinity to it, so the quote is still mostly true.