Home & Hearth

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This past Wednesday we had the privilege of chatting with Dale Ahlquist, president of the American Chesterton Society, on our radio show.  His ardent love and enthusiasm for the thought and virtue of GK Chesterton is contagious – we found ourselves talking about it for the rest of the evening.

Among the many prophetic insights of Chesterton which Dale shared with us, the one that most struck a chord with us  was GKC’s realization that the west was facing the rise of a new Dark Ages (and remember, he saw this coming some 80 years ago), with an attack on the sanctity and autonomy of the family.  In these new times, he said, the family would be as the monasteries of old during the Dark Ages of barbarian invasions – luminous beacons  tasked with preserving truth, beauty, craft, art, life, and culture.  (For an in-depth look at how exactly the monasteries did this, read How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas Woods, Jr).

Wow!  Think about that for a moment: the family, the domestic church, as Pope John Paul II often called it, acting in the capacity of the monasteries which did so much to preserve, transform, and build the culture of Europe.  As quickly as the barbarians burned the monasteries to the ground, the monks began anew, rebuilding churches, re-copying ancient manuscripts.  They were hardy and resilient; like weeds, they just kept coming back.

Home is where the hearth is.  It is also the first place we should find holiness, beauty, art, and truth.  That hearth that warms our homes is to be more than just a cozy place to gather our families. God is asking us to stoke that fire until it becomes a blazing beacon of light, whose brilliance will shine out against the darkness of a culture of death and hopelessness.  And as you stoke the hearth fire in your own home, others will be kindled, too.  One thing about fire, it’s hard to contain, and this fire of truth and beauty is the kind that needs to spread.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Jn 1:5

Listen to our interview with Dale Ahlquist:

To learn more about GK Chesterton, or to find out more about the American Chesterton Society, including their upcoming conference, click here.  You’ll find lots of resources, events, and other things to feed your mind and your soul.

And if you’re new to the writings of Chesterton, you’ll find great suggestions on where to start reading by checking out their Chesterton reading plan.

Consider a subscription to Gilbert Magazine (one of our favorite publications), an artfully and thoughtfully produced periodical devoted to Chesterton’s thought and writings.

In the Church God calls us to be part of His family

 This week Pope Francis began a new series in his weekly General Audience catechesis: reflections on the mystery of the Church based on the Vatican II documents.  Below is the Vatican Radio translation:

Dear brothers and sisters,

Last Wednesday I stressed the deep connection between the Holy Spirit and the Church. Today I would like to start some reflections on the mystery of the Church, a mystery that we all live and of which we are part. I would like to do this, using some well-known phrases taken from the documents of the Second Vatican Council.

Today the first: the Church as Family of God.

In recent months, more than once I have made reference to the parable of the prodigal son, or rather of the merciful father (cf. Lk 15:11-32). The youngest son leaves the house of his father, squanders everything, and decides to return because he realizes he made a mistake, though he no longer considers himself worthy of sonship. He thinks he might be welcomed back as a servant. Instead, the father runs to meet him, embraces him, gives him back his dignity as a son, and celebrates. This parable, like others in the Gospel, shows well the design of God for humanity.

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