So Fixed a Faith

I added in this second trinity of objections an idle instance taken from those who feel such people as the Irish to be weakened or made stagnant by superstition. I only added it because this is a peculiar case of a statement of fact that turns out to be a statement of falsehood. It is constantly said of the Irish that they are impractical. But if we refrain for a moment from looking at what is said about them and look at what is done about them, we shall see that the Irish are not only practical, but quite painfully successful. The poverty of their country, the minority of their members are simply the conditions under which they were asked to work; but no other group in the British Empire has done so much with such conditions. The Nationalists were the only minority that ever succeeded in twisting the whole British Parliament sharply out of its path. The Irish peasants are the only poor men in these islands who have forced their masters to disgorge. These people, whom we call priest-ridden, are the only Britons who will not be squire-ridden. And when I came to look at the actual Irish character, the case was the same. Irishmen are best at the specially hard professions–the trades of iron, the lawyer, and the soldier. In all these cases, therefore, I came back to the same conclusion: the sceptic was quite right to go by the facts, only he had not looked at the facts. The sceptic is too credulous; he believes in newspapers or even in encyclopædias. Again the three questions left me with three very antagonistic questions. The average sceptic wanted to know how I explained the namby-pamby note in the Gospel, the connection of the creed with mediæval darkness and the political impracticability of the Celtic Christians. But I wanted to ask, and to ask with an earnestness amounting to urgency, “What is this incomparable energy which appears first in one walking the earth like a living judgment and this energy which can die with a dying civilisation and yet force it to a resurrection from the dead; this energy which last of all can inflame a bankrupt peasantry with so fixed a faith in justice that they get what they ask, while others go empty away; so that the most helpless island of the Empire can actually help itself?”

G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy.

Religion’s Never Mentioned Here

Gates in the Peace Line at Lanark Way, between the Shankill and Springfield Roads, west Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Gates in the Peace Line at Lanark Way, between the Shankill and Springfield Roads, west Belfast, Northern Ireland.

A New Pair of Beads

I recently commissioned Gayle Murphy of Queen of Peace Rosaries to restring a set of beads and hardware using her excellent — both sturdy and handsome — wire-wrapping technique. The result is magnificent!

The crucifix is a heavy, handmade, sterling silver piece from South America — Peru, I believe. The Pater beads are sterling silver, handmade in Bali; the Ave beads are very fine round amethysts; the accents are a lighter, faceted amethyst. The centre medallion depicts a calla lily (a symbol of Our Lady — and, coincidentally and quite unintentionally, of Irish republicanism and nationalism since 1926 to commemorate the fallen of the 1916 Easter Rising and onwards). The rosary is strung on solid sterling silver wire.

The new rosary.
The new rosary.
Close-up of the Spanish colonial-style crucifix.
Close-up of the Spanish colonial-style crucifix.
Detail of the beads, showing the wire-wrapping technique.
Detail of the beads, showing the wire-wrapping technique.

This is the first sacramental blessed for me by Fr. Doc as a Catholic priest!