Monday, 13 August 2007

A priest who made sense of religion

(Ed: An interesting slice of old Chelmsford life.)

Father Andrew wrote passion plays that Baylis used to stage at the Old Vic, but it is for his letters that he will be remembered. First published in 1948, The Life and Letters of Father Andrew, published by Mowbray and edited by Kathleen Burne, went into many editions.

I sometimes think that if a fire broke out in my house, and I could take only one book, it would be this. When one has felt most inclined to chuck religion, for all the usual reasons, this is the book that has made a total break impossible. It is a record of "the real thing".

"I went to my poor consumptive man this afternoon, and did what I often do with a sick man, lay down on the bed beside him and read him the chapters of St Luke which bear upon the passion of our divine Lord. After I had read a few verses he fell asleep, so I stopped reading, and a little while after I fell asleep, too." Dostoevsky could have written this scene.

Or, to one who was losing their faith: "Don't call it religion. If your faith just means going to Mass on Sundays and making that an end, you will get tired as you would get tired of any occupation; but call it 'Love'."

Or: "Belief has to do with a very great deal besides intellectual assent and emotional experience. Read more

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