Monday, February 25, 2008

What do we mean by "belief"?

"When I was a small child," writes Caryll Houselander in her book The Reed of God,
"someone for whom I had a great respect told me never to do anything that Our Lady would not do; for, she said, if I did, the angels in heaven would blush. For a short time this advice 'took' in me like an inoculation causing a positive paralysis of piety. It was clear to me that all those things which spelt joy to me were from henceforward taboo ­ blacking my face with burnt cork, turning somersaults between props against the garden wall, putting two bull's-eyes into my mouth at the same time-all that was over! But even if I faced a blank future shackled with respectability, it was still impossible to imagine Our lady doing anything that I would do, for the very simple reason that I simply could not imagine her doing anything at all.

The inoculation of piety wore off quickly, and so completely that when the sunset warmed the sky over our tangled garden with a pink glow, I thought that it must be the faint reflection of the rosy blush that suffused all heaven!

"This would not be worth recording but for one thing, namely, that the wrong conception of Our Lady which I had is one that a great many other people have, too; a very great many people still think of Our Lady as someone who would never do anything that we do."
Hence The Reed of God, 1944 was written to contemplate the Blessed Virgin Mary that we may imitate her.

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