Two Conversion Stories
#1
First Oscar Wilde.  A man saved by art.  Now a little background, Oscar Wilde was a homosexual and artistic.  I am not artistic at all, and I really don't like queers, or being around them.  Nonetheless, de Profundis is incredible.  It even has my favorite phrase from psalm "out of the depths".   It was written when he was agnostic.  It is a letter to his "friend", but it is not graphic.  Still, when you start reading it, it puts you off.  Stick with it if you do attempt to read it.
Quote: Religion does not help me.  The faith that others give to what is unseen, I give to what one can touch, and look at.  My gods dwell in temples made with hands; and within the circle of actual experience is my creed made perfect and complete: too complete, it may be, for like many or all of those who have placed their heaven in this earth, I have found in it not merely the beauty of heaven, but the horror of hell also.  When I think about religion at all, I feel as if I would like to found an order for those who cannot believe: the Confraternity of the Faithless, one might call it, where on an altar, on which no taper burned, a priest, in whose heart peace had no dwelling, might celebrate with unblessed bread and a chalice empty of wine.  Every thing to be true must become a religion.  And agnosticism should have its ritual no less than faith.  It has sown its martyrs, it should reap its saints, and praise God daily for having hidden Himself from man.  But whether it be faith or agnosticism, it must be nothing external to me.  Its symbols must be of my own creating.  Only that is spiritual which makes its own form.  If I may not find its secret within myself, I shall never find it: if I have not got it already, it will never come to me.
Haunting.  Clearly you can perceive the Actual Graces at work.   Att this point in his letter, I believe he is no longer talking to his friend.  He is talking to God.  And he is giving God the highest compliment.  And he goes on:
Quote: On the occasion of which I am thinking I recall distinctly how I said to her that there was enough suffering in one narrow London lane to show that God did not love man, and that wherever there was any sorrow, though but that of a child, in some little garden weeping over a fault that it had or had not committed, the whole face of creation was completely marred.  I was entirely wrong.  She told me so, but I could not believe her.  I was not in the sphere in which such belief was to be attained to.  Now it seems to me that love of some kind is the only possible explanation of the extraordinary amount of suffering that there is in the world.  I cannot conceive of any other explanation.  I am convinced that there is no other, and that if the world has indeed, as I have said, been built of sorrow, it has been built by the hands of love, because in no other way could the soul of man, for whom the world was made, reach the full stature of its perfection.  Pleasure for the beautiful body, but pain for the beautiful soul.

When I say that I am convinced of these things I speak with too much pride.  Far off, like a perfect pearl, one can see the city of God.  It is so wonderful that it seems as if a child could reach it in a summer’s day.  And so a child could.  But with me and such as me it is different.  One can realise a thing in a single moment, but one loses it in the long hours that follow with leaden feet.
Quote: Nor is it merely that we can discern in Christ that close union of personality with perfection which forms the real distinction between the classical and romantic movement in life, but the very basis of his nature was the same as that of the nature of the artist—an intense and flamelike imagination.  He realised in the entire sphere of human relations that imaginative sympathy which in the sphere of Art is the sole secret of creation.  He understood the leprosy of the leper, the darkness of the blind, the fierce misery of those who live for pleasure, the strange poverty of the rich.
Quote:More than any one else in history he wakes in us that temper of wonder to which romance always appeals.  There is still something to me almost incredible in the idea of a young Galilean peasant imagining that he could bear on his own shoulders the burden of the entire world; all that had already been done and suffered, and all that was yet to be done and suffered: the sins of Nero, of Caesar Borgia, of Alexander VI., and of him who was Emperor of Rome and Priest of the Sun: the sufferings of those whose names are legion and whose dwelling is among the tombs: oppressed nationalities, factory children, thieves, people in prison, outcasts, those who are dumb under oppression and whose silence is heard only of God; and not merely imagining this but actually achieving it, so that at the present moment all who come in contact with his personality, even though they may neither bow to his altar nor kneel before his priest, in some way find that the ugliness of their sin is taken away and the beauty of their sorrow revealed to them.
Quote:I had said of Christ that he ranks with the poets.  That is true.  Shelley and Sophocles are of his company.  But his entire life also is the most wonderful of poems.  For ‘pity and terror’ there is nothing in the entire cycle of Greek tragedy to touch it.  The absolute purity of the protagonist raises the entire scheme to a height of romantic art from which the sufferings of Thebes and Pelops’ line are by their very horror excluded, and shows how wrong Aristotle was when he said in his treatise on the drama that it would be impossible to bear the spectacle of one blameless in pain.  Nor in Æschylus nor Dante, those stern masters of tenderness, in Shakespeare, the most purely human of all the great artists, in the whole of Celtic myth and legend, where the loveliness of the world is shown through a mist of tears, and the life of a man is no more than the life of a flower, is there anything that, for sheer simplicity of pathos wedded and made one with sublimity of tragic effect, can be said to equal or even approach the last act of Christ’s passion.  The little supper with his companions, one of whom has already sold him for a price; the anguish in the quiet moon-lit garden; the false friend coming close to him so as to betray him with a kiss; the friend who still believed in him, and on whom as on a rock he had hoped to build a house of refuge for Man, denying him as the bird cried to the dawn; his own utter loneliness, his submission, his acceptance of everything; and along with it all such scenes as the high priest of orthodoxy rending his raiment in wrath, and the magistrate of civil justice calling for water in the vain hope of cleansing himself of that stain of innocent blood that makes him the scarlet figure of history; the coronation ceremony of sorrow, one of the most wonderful things in the whole of recorded time; the crucifixion of the Innocent One before the eyes of his mother and of the disciple whom he loved; the soldiers gambling and throwing dice for his clothes; the terrible death by which he gave the world its most eternal symbol; and his final burial in the tomb of the rich man, his body swathed in Egyptian linen with costly spices and perfumes as though he had been a king’s son.  When one contemplates all this from the point of view of art alone one cannot but be grateful that the supreme office of the Church should be the playing of the tragedy without the shedding of blood: the mystical presentation, by means of dialogue and costume and gesture even, of the Passion of her Lord; and it is always a source of pleasure and awe to me to remember that the ultimate survival of the Greek chorus, lost elsewhere to art, is to be found in the servitor answering the priest at Mass.
  Written by an agnostic and horrible sinner.
Oscar Wilde was baptized on his deathbed and also received Extreme Unction.

The second convert was Dutch Schultz, the ultimate Realist, a Jewish Mobster, the exact opposite of Oscar Wilde.  Can you get more "Realist" than a Jewish mobster?  He was a horrible sinner covered with blood, and yet one can imagine in the neighborhoods he "operated" he must have seen the simple, holy Catholics, and realized they were right.  And for whatever reason, the Lord gave him two days (?) of life after he was gunned down, at which time he called for the Laver of Regeneration and stole heaven.
Quote: As the day wore on, Schultz, at the outset the healthiest of the ill-fated quartet except for a single gallstone, began to sink rather rapidly. At 2:00 P.M., he called for Father Mclnerey, who had left the hospital briefly. The priest came back within half an hour and spent a few minutes with the dying man. When he came downstairs, the reporters asked him why he would minister to the Jewish Schultz.

"Because he sent for me," Father Mclnerney replied.

"What for?"

"He wants to die a Catholic."

"Will he die in the faith?"

"Yes. I baptized him and gave him the last rites of the church."

So if you are having a "dark night", or you wallow in sin, think of these converts, and have Hope in Jesus.  Surely these were some of the greatest sinners, and the Lord found a way to save them.
Reply
#2
That's just plain weird. Why did the mods highlight this thread?  That's exactly the kind of thing that keeps me a healthy arms/axe-length from "trads"!
Reply
#3
Weird?  Two horrible sinners who have death bed conversions and make it to heaven?  "Inspiring" is a better adjective.  Or as a Catholic "cause for celebration".  Don't the angels rejoice in heaven when the worst sinners repent?
Reply
#4
Yeah but that's just how you see it. What you wrote is more about you than them, don't you think? Make your point about death-bed conversions if you like, but don't mess with the truth while you do it. What you wrote was like wikipedia for trads. That kind of stuff is fine as an opinion, but how it was picked out as a highlight for reading by the mods I don't understand. 
Reply
#5
How am I messing with the truth?  How is this an opinion?  These are both historical events.  Both men converted on their deathbed, what did I get wrong?  Are you denying that Baptism saves you?

Reply
#6
Sorry, but it's just the histrionic language you use ( like "a horrible sinner covered with blood")  for one thing, and the personal ideas stated as facts (like "a man saved by art"). That kind of thing annoys the hell out of me, especially after many conversations with "rad-trads". I also always get annoyed by the misuse of "dark night". Plus if you look into the life of Oscar Wilde, he wasn't "a homosexual" at all - he was a married man who was posessed by the dark side of art, vanity etc to such a degree that it led him into some perverse acts, which is the whole lament of the very sad (and certainly not redeeming) De Profundis. So your facts are wrong too.

But I agree with your point! Just not the way you put it across.

And yes, I'm a very grumpy person about what I think are "rad-trad" ways of thinking! That kind of stuff is just a pain in the arse. (So don't take personal offence, please. Just typing my two cents' worth!)
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)