Religion, they say, is an escape, but it is the only escape that they do not try.
It is the particular tragedy of today that so many people have lost their faith in mammon and have not found it in God, because of the wrong conception of him that is printed upon their imagination. There is nothing to attract them to seek for him.
Religion, they say, is an escape, but it is the only escape that they do not try. For a man who has slammed the door on God must try to escape from the emptiness in the house of his soul. The solitude that is sweet is to be alone with God; to be shut up alone with oneself is more than human nature can bear.
Man has a good appetite for beauty and for pleasure, but he does not perceive the measure of good that is in them if his mind is not illuminated with the ray of the divine light. If it were he would know that even his highest pleasures, the delights of the mind, are only shadows of eternal joy, more distinct when they are thrown sharp and clear on a page that reflects such brilliance.
And in every passing, simple happiness, in the brief loveliness of the senses, the multitudinous beauty of the world, though it be swift as a shooting star or a wing in flight, he would know the eternal now.
His escapes fail him, or perhaps it is truer to say he fails them. In the end he withers away from his pleasures like a brown leaf that falls from the tree and is trodden into the earth. Had he seen in Christ's light, he would have known that even in the escapes from self that this world can offer there is no escape from the invitation of the overflowing love that is God, and death is but a passage through the dreams of darkness to the reality of dawn.
Caryll Houselander. "Death and Resurrection." from Lift up your hearts (Arena Letters, 1979).
Reproduced by kind permission of Sophia Press. This excerpt appeared in the February, 2015 issue of Magnificat.
Caryll Houselander (1901-1954) was a British Roman Catholic laywoman; a mystic, writer, artist, visionary and healer. Her first book, This War is the Passion, written during World War II, launched her prolific writing career. She is best known for: A Rocking Horse Catholic, The Reed of God, The Way of the Cross, This War is the Passion, The Risen Christ, The Letters Of Caryll Houselander: Her Spiritual Legacy, and Wood of the Cradle, Wood of the Cross: The Little Way of the Infant Jesus.Copyright © 1979 Public Domain
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