Depth in the Shallows

Month: May, 2016

Island Of Time In The Ocean Of Eternity

Wandering In Place

Travellers by George Mackay Brown

George Mackay Brown (1921-1996), poet, playwright, essayist, and novelist was a native and lifelong resident of the Orkney Islands.  He experienced poverty at a young age, endured loneliness and depression, and bore Orcadian isolation with serenity (and a few pints).  Brown’s oeuvre is substantial. Not merely by the number of works, but by their durability. His creative force was bound up in the rhythm of the Orkneys. His poetry is spare, minimal, and elemental. Because Brown dug so deep in one place, without the overlay of much of life’s finery, he was able to reveal all of life in its most basic, primal truth. Simplicity sustains his poems, but the complexity of all humanity is here. His grave stone reads :

Carve the runes
Then be content with silence.

In Memoriam John L. Broom

(July 28 1992)

In sorrow the bread and salt are eaten.

From first cry to last sinking under wounds like a hunted


The circuit is sorrowful.

The man who owns veins of gold

No different from the eater of crusts.


The feast and the dance

Are more beautiful

For that road of thorns and stones.


Somewhere, to all men and women

The summons is coming to a feast, with music and the

            only bread and wine.

            -It is a furrow you follow.


Yesterday we gave the dust of a friend to the wind.

And afterwards

Between a black cliff and the sea

A rosebush was planted.

The Cult Of European Personality

The Culture Of Faith

The Works Of Christopher Dawson 

Christopher Dawson (1889-1970), Catholic convert and historian, perhaps better than anyone else, investigated and defended the crucial role religion plays in society. More specifically and significantly, he elucidated the inseparable relationship between Christianity and Europe (and by extension the West). He took an interdisciplinary approach, bringing sociology and anthropology to bear on the question of religion and civilization. It is Dawson who argued the fundamental idea of “cult,” (that is, religion) the root of “culture,” as demonstrating faith as the foundation of culture. Nowhere is this more clearly manifested than in Europe.

Now, why should you care? Because by looking back to Dawson we see clearly what was before, what is, and what is coming. Europe today is sipping the last drops of its cultural inheritance in cafes all over the continent, while the residue of a Christian past is recast as the birthright of a secular European Union. Mass migration of Muslims, including supremacist terrorists, have arrived in Europe as we all have seen. The challenge, therefore, is announced. And unlike the medieval era, Europeans cannot meet the challenge of a supremacist Islam with the fullness of the Christian faith. Rather, they meet it in the emptiness of their espresso cups. Mere hyperbole? After the Paris attacks last year, Parisians flooded the cafes to show they were not afraid. They did not gather in churches.

Christopher Dawson saw this coming. He is a prophet from whose works you will profit.

It is the religious impulse which supplies the cohesive force which unifies a society and a culture… A society which has lost its religion becomes sooner or later a society which has lost its culture.

The Devil Made Me Do It

Why Do We Let Him?

The Art, Visions, and Writing of St. Hildegard of Bingen 

The Devil, cunning as he is, doesn’t mind being an excuse.  It gives him credit for being the source of evil. A point of pride for the Wretched One. The Devil tempts, but it is we who choose to fail. That is the damnable misery of free will. We get to make choices.  Following our own light inevitably leads to darkness. Hildegard of Bingen (1090-1179), saint, visionary, mystic, theologian, abbess, and advisor to the powerful, reminds us there is One Light.  It illuminates all of life and will never be extinguished.

The devil keeps man from good with a thousand machinations spewed from his belly, so that when a person sighs to do good, he pierces him with his shafts; and when he desires to embrace God with his whole heart in love, he subjects him to poisonous tribulations, seeking to pervert good work before God. And when a person seeks the viridity of virtue, the devil tells him that he does not know what he is doing, and he teaches him that he can set his own law for himself.

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