Sunday, January 19, 2014

Weekends With Chesterton: On Wonder and White

I have been battling a cold all weekend and I had to stay home from Mass this evening. So I brewed up a warm cup of chai with milk and honey and settled in with the The Chesterton Collection (I can't believe how cheap this great collection of his works is!)

There are 34 books total in this volume but I chose to start reading from Tremendous Trifles, which is a collection of column pieces Chesterton wrote for a periodical on finding something significant in ordinary things. I read the preface essay, from whence comes this well-loved Chesterton gem:

and then proceeded on to " A Piece of Chalk". This is my favorite part of the essay:

"...white is a color. It is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black. When, so to speak, your pencil grows red-hot, it draws roses; when it grows white-hot, it draws stars. And one of the two or three defiant verities of the best religious morality, of real Christianity, for example, is exactly this same thing; the chief assertion of religious morality is that white is a color. Virtue is not the absence of vices or the avoidance of moral dangers; virtue is a vivid and separate thing, like pain or a particular smell. Mercy does not mean not being cruel, or sparing people revenge or punishment; it means a plain and positive thing like the sun, which one has either seen or not seen. Chastity does not mean abstention from sexual wrong; it means something flaming, like Joan of Arc. In a word, God paints in many colors; but he never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white"
Chesterton's style makes me chuckle and it makes me think. And I can't think of a better cure for Sunday cold blues than a warm cup of tea and that. So, thanks, Sarah for inviting us along to your weekend Chesterton tea time.

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