Writer, poet, apologist, philosopher, humorist, journalist, and joyful soul, GK Chesterton lived from 1874 to 1936. When I hear the word “joy,” I think of how Chesterton’s ebullience rippled a joy-filled faith into the lives of C.S. Lewis, Eugen Rosenstock Huessy, TS Eliot, Frederick Buechner, Dorothy Sayers, and Philip Yancey to name a few. During this autumn season, I’ve been intentionally trying to remember stories of the people of God from across the ages.
I’ve put some links, quotes, essays and poetry below:
Visit the American Chesterton Society for some excellent resources on this dear fellow.
Some quotes I love:
“What is education? Properly speaking, there is no such thing as education. Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another. What we need is to have a culture before we hand it down. In other words, it is a truth, however sad and strange, that we cannot give what we have not got, and cannot teach to other people what we do not know ourselves.” – Illustrated London News, July 5, 1924
“When we step into the family, by the act of being born, we do step into a world which is incalculable, into a world which has its own strange laws, into a world which could do without us, into a world we have not made. In other words, when we step into the family we step into a fairy-tale.”
“The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.”
What was wonderful about my childhood is that anything in it was a wonder. It was not merely a world full of miracles; it was a miraculous world. – GKC, Autobiography, 32
On running after Ones Hat
The Praise Of Dust
by G. K. Chesterton
‘What of vile dust?’ the preacher said.
Methought the whole world woke,
The dead stone lived beneath my foot,
And my whole body spoke.
‘You, that play tyrant to the dust,
And stamp its wrinkled face,
This patient star that flings you not
Far into homeless space.
‘Come down out of your dusty shrine
The living dust to see,
The flowers that at your sermon’s end
Stand blazing silently.
‘Rich white and blood-red blossom; stones,
Lichens like fire encrust;
A gleam of blue, a glare of gold,
The vision of the dust.
‘Pass them all by: till, as you come
Where, at a city’s edge,
Under a tree–I know it well–
Under a lattice ledge,
‘The sunshine falls on one brown head.
You, too, O cold of clay,
Eater of stones, may haply hear
The trumpets of that day
‘When God to all his paladins
By his own splendour swore
To make a fairer face than heaven,
Of dust and nothing more.’
GLORIA IN PROFUNDIS
(Chorus from an Unfinished Play)
There has fallen on the earth a token
A god too great for the sky.
He has burst out of all things and broken
The bounds of eternity:
Into time and the terminal land
He has strayed like a thief or a lover,
For the wine of the world brims over,
Its splendour is spilt on the sand.
Who is proud when the heavens are humble,
Who mounts if the mountains fall,
If the fixed suns topple and tumble
And a deluge of love drown all—
Who rears up his head for a crown,
Who holds up his will for a warrant,
Who strives with the starry torrent
When all that is good goes down?
For in dread of such falling and failing
The Fallen Angels fell
Inverted in insolence, scaling
The hanging mountain of hell:
But unmeasured of plummet and rod
Too deep for their sight to scan,
Outrushing the fall of man
Is the height of the fall of God.
Glory to God in the Lowest
The spout of the stars in spate—
Where the thunderbolt thinks to be slowest
And the lightning fears to be late:
As men dive for a sunken gem
Pursuing, we hunt and hound it,
The fallen star that has found it
In the cavern of Bethlehem.
(ca. 1920) (X:137)