Sunday, March 30, 2014

Linking Up: Weekends with Chesterton

Even though I have a BA in English from a fine Catholic liberal arts college and have always been a voracious reader, I must admit that I have not read any of Chesterton's works (mea culpa!); but I keep saying I'm going to--because I've read so many quotes by the man, and every single one makes me exclaim, "Yes!  He's so right!"  I always love what he has to say, and the way he says it.
My daughter-in-law Regina counts his novel The Man Who Was Thursday among her favorite books, and I value her opinion very highly; so a couple of years ago I decided that I was going to read it myself.  Like so many of my good intentions, however...that resolution ended up falling by the wayside.
When I saw that there was a Chesterton link-up at Amongst Lovely Things, and that just posting snippets or quotes attributed to him was all that was required, I decided to join the fray.  I want to be Chesertonianized (that's a word--or at least, blogger and Weekends with Chesterton creator Sarah believes it ought to be), and I think I'll thoroughly enjoy reading more of this extraordinary writer's insightful comments.  (And I really hope this will get me inspired to finally read The Man Who Was Thursday.)
So here I am, sharing one G.K. quote that really resonated with me.
Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.
                                                      ~ G.K. Chesterton
The reason this quote speaks to me so loudly that it sounds like something my dear husband would say.  In fact, although my better half expresses it slightly differently, he espouses this same idea all the time when talking about people who claim to value their Faith and to "love" God, but then do absolutely nothing in their day-to-day lives to show it or prove it--to the point that if their religion was as sensitive and unforgiving as a neglected sweetheart/spouse might be, given a similar lack of interest and effort, it would break up with them on the spot.
When my husband talks about the Catholic Faith, he is passionate, of course, because it is a subject near and dear to his heart--it does, in fact, fill his heart, and his soul; but he is also very logical and rational (as any engineering major/former Navy jet pilot/commercial airline pilot ought to be).  So his take on this subject is very well thought-out and makes perfect sense.

If you love someone, he says, if you're completely in love with that person (think spousal love, love for your one and only, your "soul mate"), you want to spend all your time with him/her.  (So if you really love God, you want to be with Him as much as possible; and therefore, you have absolutely no problem with the concept of spending a mere hour with Him at Mass every Sunday, or sitting with Him for a while during adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.)

If you love someone, you think about him/her constantly--you can't help it.  (So if you really love God, then He is in your thoughts throughout the day--He is actually pretty much "with" you, always, even though you can't see Him.)

If you love someone, you want to talk to that person all the time--to talk to him/her about absolutely everything that's going on in your life, to share the highs and the lows and everything in between.  (So if you really love God, you want to talk to Him all the time, too, to seek His counsel in good times and bad--and you'll take time out of your busy day to talk to Him through prayer.)

If you love someone, you want to learn everything there is to know about him/her.  (So if you really love God, you are interested in finding out as much as you can about Him and about the Church He sent His Son to earth to establish.  You will read as much as you can about the Faith in which you were baptized, through the Bible and countless other sources.  You will never grow tired of learning more about Him, just as you never grow tired of discovering new things about your earthly beloved.)

If you love someone, you want to be made aware of the things that annoy and upset him/her, so that you can try your best to avoid doing them; and you will also want to know the things that make him/her happy, so that you can remember to do those things as much as possible.  (So if you really love God, you will try your best to learn which offenses cause Him the most pain, and you will do everything in your power to avoid committing those sins; you will also strive to make God happy by following His laws and commandments with a pure and loving heart.)

These are the kinds of things my husband says about loving God, not in "theory," but in actuality.  True love in marriage is sometimes an act of the will, he'll say, because everyone goes through ups and downs and every single moment isn't honeymoon-perfect. If you only theoretically love your spouse, but don't choose to work hard at keeping that love alive, day in and day out, your marriage will suffer. So it is with religion: if a person depends on warm fuzzies to keep loving God, then at some point (when his life inevitably hits one of those infamous rocky patches), he's going to have to love God and have faith in Him simply because that's what he's chosen to do--just as he's chosen to be true to his spouse in good times and bad, til death do them part.  Sometimes, loving God is an act of the will.  Even the saints have said so.

Anyway, I agree with both Chesterton and Pearl on this one: religion (believing in God, truly loving Him and His Church) can't be just a theory; it must be an honest-to-goodness love affair--a no-holds-barred, I'll love you til the day I die, there is nothing you can do to drive me away, my most precious one--love affair.

I just love this short yet profound quote by Chesterton!  And it was kind of nice spending part of my weekend with him--especially since I can't be with my adorable ersatz cowboy, who is over in Brussels today, resting up for his return flight tomorrow.
Here's who I like to spend my weekends with!
Now if you'd like to get further Chestertonianized, head on over to Sarah's.


  1. Loved this post :) You've captured the intimacy of faith really beautifully.

  2. Perfect quote. Knowing that love can be an act of the will gives you something concrete to begin with when the feelings are missing or subdued. Well said!

  3. This is so great! I'm really glad you're playing along. :) I really want to read The Man Who Was Thursday too!