Sunday, April 14, 2013

Epigraph for a Memoir Not Yet Written, #2

Here’s a worthy epigraph for a serious memoir, which mine aims to be—serious, that is.

Unlike the first epigraph, which I posted yesterday, this one isn’t by a maybe-Christian pop group, Mumford & Sons, but by a genuine Blessed, for heaven’s sake, a card-carrying Great Catholic Convert.

Furthermore, it’s not a single line but a whole big darn chunk.

Blessed John Henry Newman might have been describing my life and the process of coming to terms with it too when he wrote:

“As years roll on, by little and little one will discover that, after all, he is not, as he imagined, possessed of any real substantial good. He will begin to find, and be startled at finding, that the things which once pleased, please less and less, or not at all. He will be unable to recall those lively emotions in which he once indulged, and he will wonder why. Thus, by degrees, the delightful visions which surrounded him will fade away, and in their stead, melancholy forms will haunt him, such as crowded round the pool of Bethesda . . .

“Then a man will begin to be restless and discontented, for he does not know how to amuse himself. Before, he was cheerful only from the natural flow of his spirits, and when such cheerfulness is lost with increasing years, he becomes evil-natured. He has made no effort to change his heart—to raise, strengthen, and purify his faith—to subdue his bad passions and tempers. Now their day is come, they have sprung up and begin to domineer . . .

“Gain healing from troubled waters. Make up your mind to the prospect of sustaining a certain measure of pain and trouble in your passage through life; by the blessing of God this will prepare you for it—it will make you thoughtful and resigned without interfering with your cheerfulness.”

I wish that many of my friends, some of whom have passed through the same fires, might find such healing; that they might make up their minds to “the prospect of sustaining a certain measure of pain and trouble”; and that, by the blessing of God, as Newman says, they might grow more cheerful in later years, as I find to my surprise I have.

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