in defense of gaiety

Socialism. Abortion. Fornication. Hate. Apathy. Adultery. Profanity. Sodomy. Sin.
Weighty words. Weighty evil. It makes me angry and it makes me sad. It makes my shoulders slump and my soul kneel, panting, in the dust.
It’s a dark and devilish world and there is so much to fight.
It’s enough to turn me into the worst of cynics. It’s enough to make me despair.

Almost enough.

A cloud was on the mind of men, and wailing went the weather,
Yea, a sick cloud upon the soul when we were boys together.
Science announced nonentity and art admired decay;
The world was old and ended: but you and I were gay.
Round us in antic order their crippled vices came–
Lust that had lost its laughter, fear that had lost its shame.
Like the white lock of Whistler, that lit our aimless gloom,
Men showed their own white feather as proudly as a plume.
Life was a fly that faded, and death a drone that stung;
The world was very old indeed when you and I were young.
They twisted even decent sin to shapes not to be named:
Men were ashamed of honour; but we were not ashamed.
Weak if we were and foolish, not thus we failed, not thus;
When that black Baal blocked the heavens he had no hymns from us.
Children we were–our forts of sand were even as weak as we,
High as they went we piled them up to break that bitter sea.
Fools as we were in motley, all jangling and absurd,
When all church bells were silent our cap and bells were heard.
-G.K. Chesterton, from the dedication of The Man Who Was Thursday

I cannot fight evil with cynicism.
I cannot fight demons with despair.

“Take heart”, Christ declares. “I have overcome the world.”
Not, “I WILL overcome.”
“I HAVE OVERCOME.”
It is finished. Done.
OVERCOME.
We are fighting, but the war is won.
Sin does not rule this world. Love rules this world.
He is not sleeping, nor is He silent.
He is strong. He is sovereign. He is supreme.

We can only see the shadows because the Light has risen. The Light commands them, “This far and no further”. They are subject. They are defeated. The Light is eternally shining. “God’s in His heaven; all’s right with the world.” All’s right. The command is His. All’s right. He controls the dark. All’s right. Sin pays tribute.
“Where, O Death, is thy sting? Where, O Grave, is Thy victory?”
In other words, HA! And let the Church take heart! For Her bridegroom has overcome the world.

I can fight evil with exaltation.
I can fight demons with delight.
Because He has already declared the victory.

Blessed are they who did not see, but being blind, believed.

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5 responses

  1. Oh, Grace, you are just marvelous! =)

    August 14, 2012 at 8:00 pm

  2. Your powerful words are perfect for this powerful message. And, I love the Chesterton poem:

    “Science announced nonentity and art admired decay;
    The world was old and ended: but you and I were gay.”

    August 15, 2012 at 7:54 am

  3. May

    Grace, I found your blog by chance. I’m not an english native speaker, but i’m learning. You quoted Chesterton’s poem here, and i’m trying to understand what it’s all about. What does he mean when he says: Fools as we were in motley, all jangling and absurd,
    When all church bells were silent our cap and bells were heard.? Is he talking about a jester, and does the cap refer to a fool’s cap?

    December 16, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    • Hello! Yes, I believe he is comparing himself and his friend to jesters who refused to cease their singing in the face of evil. The philosophy is from the words of Jesus himself:

      “I praise thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and understanding and hast revealed them unto children.”

      December 17, 2013 at 9:43 am

  4. May

    Thank you so much for your explanation, Grace 🙂 BTW, your writing is beautiful

    December 18, 2013 at 8:32 pm

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