St. Ita, 2021
Although Christmas continues until Candlemas, the ostentatious celebration of it in Ladydale went up in flames last Saturday. On that day, as has been our custom for several years, the naked tree, having been stripped of its ornamentation, is carried to the fire pit. It is then stood upright, secured at its base by kindling gathered from the surrounding woods. Then, at dusk, we assembled around it to blaze forth the light of Christmas in epiphanous splendour. Evangeline, together with the children of friends whom we’d invited, set light to our tannenbaum’s lower branches. My, does it burn! Within seconds, flames twenty feet high reached for the sky, radiating intense heat. The light of Christ in a world of darkness.
Moving on from the festivity of the weekend, I made an appearance on Teresa Tomeo’s show on Ave Maria Radio to discuss my recent article, “Uncle Sam’s Good Servant But God’s First”. The gist of the article and of my conversation with Teresa was the manner in which Christians should manifest loyalty to their country in such dark times. The United States will either be one nation under God or it will be a disintegrating nation, descending towards anarchy. As for Christians, we should echo the words of St. Thomas More who proclaimed that he was the king’s good servant but God’s first. Following in his holy footsteps (which lead to heaven) we must be Uncle Sam’s good servants but God’s first. This is especially the case as the big-tech social media plutocrats, in league with the undemocratic Democrats, silence the dissident voice of the people, shutting down accounts and websites. As one commentator has suggested, quite correctly, this silencing of dissent and dissident opinion is reminiscent of the book burning of the Nazis.
On Tuesday I recorded the weekly FORMED Book Club with Father Fessio and Vivian Dudro of Ignatius Press. We are still discussing the late and sorely missed Thomas Howard’s wonderful book, Chance or the Dance? I also managed to finish the writing of another chapter of my next book, bringing my history of Catholic England up to the death of G. K. Chesterton in 1936. We’re so close to the finishing line!
On Wednesday I began teaching a course on “Romanticizing the Middle Ages” for Homeschool Connections, finishing work early to drive to the home of friends for a soirée with their pastor, whom they wanted me to meet. A true convivium! Baked brie upon arrival and then a wonderful dinner of Cornish game hen, green beans and almonds, and the most delectable homemade pierogis that I’d ever tasted, our hostess being of 100% Polish heritage. Good wines with the meal and a vodka and tonic as a nightcap. I stayed overnight and drove home in the morning.
Yesterday I wrote my weekly essay for the Imaginative Conservative, which is entitled “Which Direction is Heaven?” In an endeavour to answer this most elusive and enigmatic of questions, I invoked the assistance of Plato, Aquinas, liturgical tradition, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Gerard Manley Hopkins and, last but indubitably not least, the great literary convert, George Mackay Brown.
Today I was interviewed by Anna Mitchell for the Son Rise Morning Show on Sacred Heart Radio on Chesterton’s classic, The Everlasting Man, ahead of my two lectures on this seminal work for the International Institute of Culture over the next fortnight. I also gave the second of my four online lectures for Red Cultural (Culture Net) in Chile on Homer’s Iliad.
Then, this afternoon, I’ve recorded this week’s three podcasts for my friends in the Inner Sanctum, continuing our pilgrimage to Rome with Belloc, our discussion of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and our celebration of great poetry with verse by Tennyson and Chesterton. Check them out!
Until next time, every blessing on everyone in the Inner Sanctum.
Photo credit: Susannah Pearce