Robert Hugh Benson: the Beauty of Catholicism

I have just recently been reading Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson (author of one of Pope Francis’ favourite novels – the incredibly prophetic Lord of the World) on Lourdes, and came across the wonderful passage below. It captures so succinctly what marks the Catholic Church as being the true home of Christian doctrine in all its fullness, and the comfort that it provides once entered and lived in with faith. Benson also puts the vexed question of what it means to be happy in its proper context, by anchoring it firmly to the question of how we can know truth and reality:

I have been asked lately whether I am “happy” in the Catholic Church. Happy! What can one say to a question like that? Does one ask a man who wakes up from a foolish dream to sunshine in his room, and to life and reality, whether he is happy? Of course many non-Catholics are happy. I was happy as an Anglican; but as a Catholic one does not use the word; one does not think about it. The whole of faith is different; that is all that can be said. Faith is faith, not hope; God is Light, not twilight; eternity, heaven, hell, purgatory, sin and its consequences – these things are facts, not guesses and conjectures and suspicions desperately clung to. “How hard it is to be a Christian!” moans the persevering non-Catholic. “How impossible it is to be anything else!” cries the Catholic.

from Lourdes and Paradoxes of Catholicism (2008), pp.65-66, Biblio Bazaar.


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