…all this sounds… elevated. My own rhetoric begins to approach that of John Henry Newman, or even some of his less reputable Victorian contemporaries: Felicia Hemans, perhaps, or even Robert Browning on a bad day. That’s almost inevitable when writing or thinking about heaven; we begin to sound like a high Victorian Christmas card.
Dr. Paul Griffiths in his lecture The End of Sacraments (lecture 6 of the 2012-2013 Stanton Lectures)
Full audio of this lecture can be found here and the entire collection of lectures can be found here.
It was July 16, 2011. Quill had introduced me to Saint Louis de Montfort’s Total Consecration to Mary and we decided to make the Consecration together, reminding each other to say the preparatory prayers for each of the 33 days. Our first Consecration was on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel–July 16th.
In preparation for it, I decided to practice my calligraphy by writing out the Act of Consecration for him and mailing it to him. Halfway through it, the beginning of a paragraph reads, “I, ________, a faithless sinner…” This froze me up. It was one thing to acknowledge myself as a faithless sinner, but someone else? My best friend, my greatest spiritual influence? Some part of me wanted to just leave it blank and make him fill it in. It was uncomfortable. It was difficult. So much so that it made me blow my own surprise in order to ask him about it. And he requested I write it in myself, gently reminding me that we are all faithless sinners.
Last year (2012) I hurriedly wrote out my own Act of Consecration in my sketchbook while at work. This year, I took my time on my own Act of Consecration. (I make it a policy to hand-write it for myself every year.) Six pages of calligraphy later (done in brush pen on semi-gloss paper straight off the school printers), my hand was killing me–a small penance. As I wrote, I meditated on that line. “I, [Ink], a faithless sinner…” And I remembered back to the time I wrote it for him. Though I was (and still am) not qualified in the least to speak in his voice, it was no less true–because we are all faithless sinners. It may take someone else to see the best in us, and we may see the best in others, but that does not make it any less true–that we are, in fact, all faithless sinners. And sometimes we need to relate to each other as one sinner to another.
To any of my readers who are thinking about this devotion, I would recommend it. And I’m praying for you.
As of July 3rd (aka yesterday), this blog is two whole years old! Wow.