17 February 2017

Even If You're 49...

Sometimes I read something so well written and insightful I just have to cut and paste it here. Hilary White posted the following paragraphs (and more), in a recent piece at Orwell's Picnic on her plans to return to Norica:


If you are over 50, you might have experienced this feeling of remoteness from your past. It seems as though we look back and down on a long road, as though we have spent many days climbing a mountain trail. And in some places the trail turns and you can sit down on a stone or a bit of grass and see the way you’ve come, with the place you started perhaps just visible, far off in the misty distance. Then you see this other person, a little dark figure toiling uncertainly up the long way and you can pity that person because you know what lies ahead. But it’s just a phantom, a distant memory.

Converts will recognise this strange feeling of detachment from our past. And the moreso if we are converts not only from secularist modernism to a serious-minded Catholicism, which is rare and alienating enough, but to the far less likely “second conversion” to a realm even further in and higher up, to Traditional Catholicism.

Many who read him wonder how C.S. Lewis could have been so insightful, to so accurately identify human failings. But he answered the question himself, saying that he was a Christian "not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else". In reality, to be a Traditional Catholic is to live every moment of every day in an entirely different country, a dazzlingly illuminated parallel world of meaning, of rationality and coherence that seems to exist slightly out of phase with the rest of the world and from which we watch the world moving farther away every day.

So we have become interior expatriates. And the longer we stay in this realm, the more distant and vague and shadowy the World Outside becomes; the less it has to do with us, the less we can even understand the old language, the old ways of our previous lives. We can remember them, but they are no longer ours.

We converts, we newcomers, stop now and then and wonder how we came into this brilliantly lit place whose walls are clear as windows, pouring light onto the shadowy World Outside. I know people who have lived their whole lives in that bright house and have never known the vast and terrifying gloom outside. But their native language is the one we have had to adopt. This is the value of converts to the Kingdom, since we can remember how we used to think and see and feel. We can, if we try, even still understand and speak the old Black Tongue, and know it when we hear it.

I am often asked, “How did you know so quickly that Bergoglio was going to be such a disaster?” I try not to say the first thought that comes to mind: “How is it that you didn’t?” The moment he walked out onto the loggia, he was sending the signals, his dress, his gestures, his words all speaking the language he intended us to understand; it was as though he was looking straight at us. Those first hours and days he was all but shouting his blasphemous intentions. I have not yet met a Traditionalist Catholic who did not understand him almost immediately. By its light we see everything else.



How did I get here? There is one constant impulse I’ve felt throughout life that I don’t know the origin of, this drive to know what’s really true. The need to know the truth has been a lash prompting this long chase half way around the world. Searching for the One True Thing has been Ariadne’s thread, unwound behind every step through the strange labyrinth of this life. But however strange it seems, here I am and I've had my answers and know what to do.

__________________

A few lines that particularly resonate with me and which I could adopt as my own were I bright enough to write them:

"In reality, to be a Traditional Catholic is to live every moment of every day in an entirely different country, a dazzlingly illuminated parallel world of meaning, of rationality and coherence that seems to exist slightly out of phase with the rest of the world and from which we watch the world moving farther away every day."

"So we have become interior expatriates."

"We [reverts] stop now and then and wonder how we came into this brilliantly lit place whose walls are clear as windows, pouring light onto the shadowy World Outside."

"I am often asked, 'How did you know so quickly that Bergoglio was going to be such a disaster?' I try not to say the first thought that comes to mind: 'How is it that you didn’t?'”

"Searching for the One True Thing has been Ariadne’s thread, unwound behind every step through the strange labyrinth of this life. But however strange it seems, here I am and I've had my answers and know what to do."

__________________

God has a plan for each of us. The Truth is a Person, a Person Who loves us. This Truth founded one Church, the True Church. We are His spouse. The undiscovered country has already been discovered. And when we realize we are strangers here, the impulse to go home can effect its desire.


Thank you, Miss White, for writing it down.

5 comments:

Christophe said...

And why, as GKC said, we feel homesick at home.

Jane said...

I had the same sinking feeling when I saw him on the loggia. I had an interior message of his intentions, just by the look on his face as he stared out at the crowd:

"Just wait till you see what I am going to do to your Church."

St. Athanasius, pray for us!

Capt. Morgan said...

This almost made me cry. Same boat as me, same emotions. Could not put it into words. Now I can. Thank you. And thank you Hillary White!

trad deacon said...

I too remember well that day. When I saw the grim demeanor in the very beginning and the signs I felt physically sick. I remember talking to s friend on the phone and relatives telling them that "this is not going to be good".

Each day I waited for the other shoes to drop on Tradition. They have been dropping ever since.

I often wonder who he really is.

Frieda said...

I too experienced a sense of dread from the moment I saw him and heard "Good Evening".

But I was also amazed at the excited and positive - even giddy - reactions from some people, starting
with my doctor whose office I was in the next morning. These people knew nothing more than I did about Francis at the time, and it was as though they were responding to some strange call.

It seems to me that Francis has been very open all along about what he's doing.

Frieda