The other day a priest friend brought up a line from Hilaire Belloc’s The Path To Rome, which I have not read for many a year.
This is the story of the wine of Brule, and it shows that what men love is never money itself but their own way, and that human beings love sympathy and pageant above all things.
“[H]uman beings love sympathy and pageant above all things.”
I must have read that way back when but it did not register with me then as it does now.
From time to time we ought return to good books we’ve already read. As we change, we can glean more from them.
Thanks to the Laudator, I am able the more easily to share this timely observation by now-Blessed John Henry Newman from An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent:
Let us consider, too, how differently young and old are affected by the words of some classic author, such as Homer or Horace. Passages, which to a boy are but rhetorical common-places, neither better nor worse than a hundred others which any clever writer might supply, which he gets by heart and thinks very fine, and imitates, as he thinks, successfully, in his own flowing versification, at length come home to him, when long years have passed, and he has had experience of life, and pierce him, as if he had never before known them, with their sad earnestness and vivid exactness. Then he comes to understand how it is that lines, the birth of some chance morning or evening at an Ionian festival, or among the Sabine hills, have lasted generation after generation, for thousands of years, with a power over the mind, and a charm, which the current literature of his own day, with all its obvious advantages, is utterly unable to rival.
I was once told, as an undergrad, that I wouldn’t really start to appreciate Horace until I was older. Too true.
In her grace-filled genius Holy Church, the greatest expert on humanity that there is, gives us a cyclical liturgical year. She thereby takes into consideration the fact that each year we change. Each year we can enter into the mysteries, being constantly represented to us, with a fresh perspective. Each year we are able to gain something new that we were, even the year before, incapable of seeing.
We must return constantly to review the fundamentals of our Faith and not take it for granted that we have them down cold and don’t need to refresh ourselves.