Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Two Epigraphs and a Comment

The great Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor said, “Most of us come to the church by a means the church does not allow.”

The latest excerpt from my memoir, “Europe,” posted above begins to explain—though not fully—why I have chosen this quote as an epigraph for my forthcoming book.

Because of events described in the excerpt and for other reasons too, a priest friend commented after reading an earlier draft of my book, “You, Webster, are the last man who should have ended up on the doorstep of the Catholic Church in the first decade of the twenty-first century.”

I agree. This is why I experience my new life as a Catholic as so surprising, so beautiful and graceful, and worth “witnessing” about.

How did this happen? How did “this man” become Catholic after the events described and others to come in future excerpts?

I’m pretty sure that an answer lies buried in the other epigraph I have chosen for my book. I will end with that quotation, leaving it for the reader to interpret. I myself am still interpreting it!

“Certainly, I have always contended that obedience even to an erring conscience was the way to gain light, and that it mattered not where a man began, so that he began on what came to hand, and in faith; and that any thing might become a divine method of Truth; that to the pure all things are pure, and have a self-correcting virtue and a power of germinating."

The words were written by another convert, the 19th-century Anglican-cleric-turned-Catholic-cardinal Blessed John Henry Newman.

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