Common Sense 101

Jesus teaches us, “I tell you truly, anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child, will never enter it.” There is a challenge with Chesterton. The challenge is this: we have to adjust our whole way of thinking when we read him. We are not used to thinking in the language he uses. But if we can learn to think his thoughts with him, he can reawaken in us that sense of wonder that will enable us to become like little children. And we can step closer to the Kingdom of God.

There is indeed something that children seem to grasp about eternal life that the rest of us have lost. They have abounding vitality; they are in spirit, fierce and free, and yet, as Chesterton says, they want things repeated and unchanged, “they always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon.”

World without end. Amen

Excerpted from Dale Ahlquist’s Common sense 101; Lessons from G.K. Chesterton, which I am enjoying and will be revisiting here throughout the weekend.

I also like this bit. Read it recalling that Chesterton was a journalist, and an excellent and prolific one, though he called himself “monstrously lazy.”

Chesterton’s objection to the press is not that it is exaggerative or overemotional or illiterate, or any of that. His only objection to ti s that it tells lies. And this is a real problem. What can we do about it?

We do not need a censorship of the press. We have a censorship by the press.

It is not we who silence the press. It is the press that silences us. It is not a case of the Commonwealth settling how much the editors shall say; it is a case of the editors settling how much the Commonwealth shall know. If we attack the press, we shall be rebelling, not repressing.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Bender

    grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony

    I don’t know. I certainly don’t need constant change, change, change in order to have hope. I don’t see the need for continual “progress” to have vitality.

    Do I exult in monotony? No, not really. But I am a creature of routine, and I prefer the security of that routine to the progress and change of fools who don’t know what they are doing or where the hell they are going. But then again, now and then people do accuse me of not being sufficiently grown up.

    Chesterton lived during a previous progressive era, such as we are threatened with now, so he no doubt was responding to that to a great extent, rather than stating a general principle.

    As for the press. What was true then is true again. However, it is abundantly clear for all the world to see now. Back in his day, people had no alternative sources of information, and it was not so obvious the extent to which the press plays gatekeeper with the news (in addition to simply twisting the facts). Chesterton was in a position to see what we thankfully can all see today.

  • lethargic

    I love Chesterton. He requires attention to read … which can be a problem some days … but when I do read him, I look up from the pages feeling as though the windows of my mind have been opened and a clean sweet breeze has freshened the entire house of my mind.

    Hey … let’s all pray to Chesterton for intercession on behalf of the conversion of the major media to Truth … Would the Church accept it as a miracle if one or more major media outlets began telling the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth?

  • SKAY

    “Chesterton was in a position to see what we thankfully can all see today.”

    I agree, yet it is amazing how many in this country today willingly choose not to see the obrious.

  • armiger jagoe

    Many thanks for reminding me one of my favorite Chesterton’s quotes, which is a great way to start each day.
    Armiger Jagoe, editor of The Joyful Catholic

  • Rick

    Then how come I’m in a rut?

  • Ag Sag

    If God revels in monotony, this is good. He must hear a lot of it when we are chronicling our sins.

  • Katherine

    My problem with Chesterton is that he was always in dire need of an editor. The Flying Inn is a perfect book for our day and age, but it’s rendered almost unreadable by a sloppiness that pervades his work.

    I think he knew that, and that is what he meant when he said he was lazy.


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