Essays in Idleness


Trumping along

It is interesting, at least to me, that I have received more “negative feedback” from the few words I’ve expended on Donald Trump, than on any topic I have touched in the history of this little blogue. I have, in addition to quick abuse, received long anguished letters from several people who say they had been following me for years, in mainstream media and out, and were now parting ways. A couple of correspondents regretted there was no way to cancel their free rides. I have been effectively and repeatedly accused of “elitism,” which seems to replace treason as the crime most egregious in a democratic polity.

Have I sneered at ye Donald? Not as much as I sneered at e.g. Barack Hussein Obama Soebarkah, when he was rising to power. And one of my points against him was that he is mesmerizing, even when he is talking rot.

Do I consider myself superior to Trump? Not in real estate holdings. Do I think he has the emotional make-up of a nine-year-old child, but the intellectual equipment of a lad much younger? I suppose. Do I count him dangerously vulgar? Yes. Am I an elitist?

You betcha. The odd thing is, I’ve been confessing to elitism for as many decades as I can count on the fingers of one hand, using the index of the other. Did my critics not notice? Can they find an instance when I have spoken well of populism? Why wouldn’t I be opposed to this populist blowhard?

Verily, I think everybody should be elitist, as much as they are able. We should all be trying to raise the tone of our public life. We should all learn to disparage what is low, and praise what is higher in our human nature, such as it is.

The populist reader, I observe, might agree with you nine cases in ten, but if you disagree once, you are finished. In other words, he is not open to the possibility of education, or independent thought. Trump seems to satisfy his natural impulses.

While it is difficult to discern any principles from the verbal circuities of this nightfall loon, Trump drops hints that he is against everything I am for, and for everything I’m against. Why then should I support him? Because he might win the election? Because, if he doesn’t, some Democrat might win?

It is not my fault if Americans are reduced by the weight of history to the kind of choices people made on the Eastern Front of the last World War — where “none of the above” could have won any poll.

If for no other reason, I would prefer Cruz because I can follow much of what he says. There is little left of Cicero, in the rhetoric of the Republic, but Cruz does not speak in a stream of over-spontaneous coordinate clauses with loose or missing connectives, and without the graded pauses where one might intuitively supply a comma, or semi-colon, or stop, or even a mark of exclamation, into the riverrun of drivel.


Rhetoric is important. Read the early prose of Ennius, or of Chaucer, and gentle reader will discover that they are incomprehensible. It took centuries for the Romans and the English respectively to master the means to conversational expression that could have meaning if transcribed; that did not entirely depend upon grunts and gestures. How soon it is lost!

The verse of both ancient poets is disciplined and focused by metrical regularity. Without this, they go right off the rails. Prose rhythm, and with it reliably ordered civilization, comes always later in the day.

Rhetoric grows from nature and experience, from out of the poetic heart of every human language. God gave us speech, not only to communicate, but to construct a civil life. He expects us, gradually by an aesthetic path, to master logic and consistency. And then, He expects us to maintain it.

The only possible answer, in our political crisis, is to insist that all candidates for public office speak exclusively in metrically-regulated verse, for the foreseeable future; by preference in ecclesiastical Latin. “Trumping” (it is a colloquialism of the English nursery) should be reserved for consenting adults, out of sight and scent.

We must rebuild from barbarity again.

The new idealism

“Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward; for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health, until death do you part?”

“Ideally, yes.”

“And do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward; for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health, until death do you part?”

“Yes, in principle.”

“Then I join you in official matrimony subject to the laws of the Province of Ontario, and the most recent pronouncements of the Holy See.”

Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini, &c.


Now, strictly speaking, under Ontario law, there are no longer such things as man, woman, husband, wife, (father, mother, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, &c), so the form may be contested in the courts eventually. Then perhaps: “Do you take this person to be your lawfully wedded spouse?”


Certainly the last time I attended a wedding in a Catholic church, the priest (a Basilian) substituted the word “person” for each party, although it seemed to me that one was male and the other female, and they were dressed in the contrasting, “wedding cake” manner.

After the administration of the Sacrament, if indeed it was administered, the biological mother of the soi-disant “bride” had tears in her eyes. She said, “I’m so glad N. and M. decided to have a traditional wedding in the old way. That’s what the Church is for.”

Another attendee, known to me at least as a good drinking companion, though not in any sense a Christian, approached me all smiles with his wife, mistress, or partner, whom I had not previously met. (How odd this gentleman looked in a suit. How strangely “normal” the woman looked beside him.)

In his benevolence, he warned her that I am some kind of Roman dinosaur.

“I’m not a Catholic,” she said, cheerfully. … “But I love your pope!”

Amoris Laetitia

A good way to cultivate popularity, in politics or religion, is to preach constantly against the sins to which we are not tempted. There may have been a time when people were tempted to be censorious of flagrantly public homosexuals, for instance, or remarried divorcées. This is not that time. To bring down the wrath of the Almighty on those who are censorious is, in our situation, playing to the gallery.

There may have been instances when priests got rough on sinners in the Confessional. But to say that The Box should not be “a torture chamber” is rather odd, at the present day. Unless, or course, one is feeding upon the Hollywood fantasia, that the Church is synonymous with the Spanish Inquisition. In which case, such remarks get a round of cheers.

It is no wonder to me that Pope Francis is at least mildly popular, apparently among every group except “traditional Catholics.” He says what everyone else wants to hear. We, for our part, are a small minority, even among the minority who care what the pope says.

Consider, for instance, the release of the apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, yesterday. (A title I would have avoided, in Latin, for fear it might be translated, “The Joy of Sex.”) By the secular media, it was almost ignored. I did not notice any item about it “trending” on any news aggregator site. If, as our friends at Rorate Caeli suggest, the document is “a catastrophe,” then it is a catastrophe that no one will notice, like a massacre in southern Sudan. For the victims it might be a big issue, and for the perpetrators a big win, but for the world outside our sudanized Church, it is no great bother.

So the popularity of the pope should be taken as no grave threat, even among those who are often (and the some who are always) appalled by him. If he can’t make the “top ten” of the BBC, even on a Vatican red-letter day, it will all wash over. Two thousand years of excitement has breezed through our ecclesiastical quarters, leaving dust that the invisible janitor later sweeps away.

The document is 264 pages. Muffins will be served to those who reach the end. Few popes have been windier (I can think of none), and most of the document is, joy to tell, perfectly orthodox. It has been celebrated already in the Catholic Herald as a theological “kitchen sink.” Beauty has been spotted in some passages, by several papal apologists, though I note they are those in which His Holiness is wordily echoing scripture and past teachings.

I find no crisp point, no particular reason for the document, except that it was expected after the recent synods. I’d have been happier with a one-page exhortation, saying now we have learnt why, in the past, the Church was not governed by episcopal synods.

The worst fears of “traditionalists” (i.e. faithful Catholics) — that the pope would open the gate to Communion for persons in various “irregular unions” — has not been realized. He has merely tupped the latch so others may let them in. Twice the question seems to be approached, in the eighth chapter, but in both cases it is funked, or rather, deferred to footnotes which hint that the matter was avoided by Evangelium Gaudium in another way.

We should rejoice in this: there has been no explicit breach of the immortal doctrine. After three years we can be fairly sure this pope does not do that sort of thing. (Some tried, and their memories are not happy ones.)

On the other hand, we should weep at the sentence, “In certain cases, this can include the help of the Sacraments,” inserted into one of those footnotes with no further explanation.

My question would be, “What the devil did you mean by that?” (To which my answer would be, he tupped the latch.)

An Apostolic Exhortation ranks below an Encyclical. And a footnote in an Apostolic Exhortation ranks below the text, in type size. But that sentence is just what every liberal progressive wanted, and they have it now to whistle in the winds.

Many in these “irregular unions” do not now hesitate to take Communion, and priests do not hesitate to avoid confronting them. On both sides, this shows how little “the cracker” (Donald Trump’s expression) means to them, except as a form of talisman, with magic powers to bring good luck, good health, and improved self-regard. (Chinese fortune cookies promise as much.) Or as the pope puts it, “not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”

There is a serious confusion here between the weak in power, and the weak in morals.

It was the difference between such a talisman, and the Body and Blood of Christ, that needed some explaining to our contemporaries. Once grasped, it will be understood why one does not approach the rail (if indeed your church still has one) in a state of mortal sin — at any time, or in any culture.

There are vague indications that vexed questions of “pastoral practice” will or should be devolved to local churches, sensitive as they are to local sensitivities. Some cultures, such as ours, are much more accommodating to adultery and perversion than other cultures, elsewhere. That is why the mission of the Church has always been to change some cultures.

It is why, if I may contradict the pope directly, Christian virtue has not been upheld as some unattainable ideal, but actually recommended in practice, with graduated penalties for Catholic non-observers. Of course we fail to become perfect. But the idea is not to make excuses; the idea is to make a stand. (Indeed, that is what “apostolic exhortations” are supposed to be for.)

“It can no longer simply be said that all those in any ‘irregular’ situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace.”

While the distinction between objective mortal sin and subjective intention is admitted, this is petrol he is sprinkling in current circumstances. Even low-information Catholics know darn well that Matrimony is a Sacrament; and Protestants, too, have the general idea. We are not Gauguin maids in antediluvian Polynesia.

It can indeed simply be said, and has always been said by Holy Church, with innocent simplicity, that mortal sin is mortally sinful, so once again I think the pope must be corrected. Men, including my heroes Thomas More and John Fisher, went to the block for such simple assertions as the indissolubility of marriage. Does the Holy Father now propose to decanonize half our saints and all our martyrs?

I quoted that passage, however, not because I sniff rather twisted theology (and logic), but as an example of the “progressivism” I have categorically condemned, even on this website, passim. The notion that something once true is now dated, is a false notion. If it was true then, it is true now. If it is true now, it was true then. The truth does not “evolve” in this way.

If the age is corrupt, we fight the corruption; we do not try to assimilate it.

Panama papers

Politics I have been avoiding since Holy Week began: I’d meant to give them up for Lent. (“Politics” are a plural.) I remembered, however, to give up returning phone calls, and paying bills. Now it appears that they are still there. It is in the nature of our society in its current, badly fallen form, that you cannot get away from politics, and must participate even to defend the few rights you retain. With the help of a little modest technology, our bureaucracies now enjoy powers of diurnal intrusion unprecedented in the history of the world. There is no place to hide from them any more, not even Panama.

On the face of it, we might find a certain satisfaction in reading news of an enormous Internet breach, that has exposed thousands of the rich and famous. The electronic “papers” — millions of “pages” — were hacked the other day from Mossack Fonseca, one law firm in Panama City. We are left wondering what other lawyers are flourishing in that town.

A broad selection of the sort of people I despise anyway (in an affectionate Christian way, of course) now have their laundry aired — rock stars, plutocrats, populists, and the miscellaneous stinking rich. Alike, they were trying to avoid crushing taxes. And doing so legally, for the most part, for loopholes exist in every tax system to accommodate insiders and their friends. And these can only be closed gradually, as new and better loopholes are invented.

My sympathies in this case are with the rich. They carry vastly more than their share of the income tax burden — the “top 1 percent” already pay nearly half the total haul in USA and Canada. Any politician who says “the rich aren’t paying their share” is a bald liar. Though it is true, they’d be paying still more without their dodges.

This is how the world works, get used to it, my mama said. I cannot imagine a human society in which there are no rich and powerful. Nor can I imagine one in which they are not taking care of their own interests. The most that can be done by political intervention is to transfer the wealth, from persons out of favour to persons now in — adding multiple new layers of injustice in the process, while promoting Envy and other Deadly Sins.

To my mind, the rich are not a problem. That is because they can take care of themselves. Even without their help, the rest of us “99 percent” could easily take care of each other.

My plan, incidentally, is a little like Ted Cruz’s. It is to simplify the income tax system by firing almost everyone in the Revenue Department, and making the payments voluntary. The government would record what everyone paid, and make this information freely available. Instead of those boring tax forms, they could mail a colour catalogue, with all the welfare programmes prettily laid out, so the citizen could earmark every dollar. We might even get more money out of the rich that way; for count on it, they are as vain as we are. Give them better opportunities to flaunt it. He who pays most for any given boondoggle, gets his name put on it, &c.

It wouldn’t really matter if some of them were misers who didn’t give a moulting aardvark for what anybody thought. They’d still have to do something with their money, and they might as well be doing it here instead of Panama. They could be productively investing it, for instance, instead of shooting it down some bottomless administrative hole.

Meanwhile, the politician with his pet spending scheme can go out to the public and beg. And if it’s a permanent scheme, he can keep begging, year after year. Let everyone who wants it pay, pay, pay. And let everything that has had it’s season die, die, die away.

(I’m not naïve. I would also have a flat sales tax to cover the essentials: cops, courts, soldiers, and retiring the national debt.)

Of course, I must think like this because I am some backward, reactionary Catholic and Christian. We favour civic freedom. Our doctrine, shared with Jews and Buddhists, is that people should be encouraged to do the right thing, and compelled by law only in the most extreme cases. Whereas, the contrary doctrine, held by liberal progressives and Muslim terrorists, is that people should be compelled to do every little thing. Sometimes these positions are labelled respectively “Right” and “Left,” but really it is the difference between good and evil.

Yes, now that I think of it: Vote for me.

Spiritual asthenia

We have, for the purposes of everyday life up here in the High Doganate, made a distinction between sloth and acedia. Either might be considered idle, but where the first is closer to philosophy, the second is farther away. I convict the whole living world of acedia, except perhaps some obscure patches in the mountains somewhere.

It often takes the form of “busy work.” I’d say about four in five of those actually employed, in this cold northwestern region of former Christendom, are doing things that shouldn’t be necessary, that don’t need doing, or that ought to be against the law. But they aren’t lazy. Some are working hard.

This proportion (four in five) corresponds to the number whose jobs could easily be sent offshore, or done by machines; and therefore are being exported or mechanized. (Meanwhile we import people for the jobs that need doing.) Our economy is based on acedia, not sloth.

My title today may sound a little grand, except to those who read the New Testament in the original Greek, or other classical types. I propose to travel, by the shortest route, from acedia to asthenia.

Asthenia could be translated “weakness” in many contexts — debility; loss of vital power — but wouldn’t you know, the flavour is a little different from the modern term. By putting the word “spiritual” in front of it, we move at least slightly backward, towards the recovery of things as they are, and thus away from things as they aren’t.

To the ancients, asthenia wasn’t mere laziness. It was disease. By the modern medical fraternity it is being gradually rediscovered as a form of disease; but one they can do nothing for, because it is, after all, a spiritual condition, and modern medicine won’t go there. But modern psychology will, and has gone, with the invention of the term “neurasthenia,” which so far as I can see adds nothing but a syllable.

Nietzsche, master of the neurasthenic pansies, is, I suspect, systematically misunderstood, on the assumption that he is advocating, as opposed to diagnosing, our nihilism. German thinkers often skim through our hair in this way, without leaving intellectual wounds.

Over at seminary, I have my poor beleaguered charges reading Hermann Broch (1886–1951), whose Death of Virgil (and other poetical novels) confuse the English reader, and German ones, too, because we forget he might be Catholic. (He was, albeit subtle about it.) He, too, was studying spiritual asthenia, chiefly through creative art. But in a never-completed academic treatise entitled Massenpsychologie (published anyway in Zurich, after his death) he tried to be scientific. Unlike others who traded in mass psychology (Elias Canetti; Ortega y Gasset; Wilhelm Reich for that matter) he eschews material explanations of a spiritual condition.

The mass-man can be addressed only to the extent he has ceased to be fully human. He has become instead a product of nation, race, class, whatever. He is interchangeable, like industrial parts. He resonates on precisely the same frequencies as everyone around him. The modern crowd is not a plurality of individual cells, as in a whole body; it is a singular thing. It is more like dust, and can be whipped into dustdevils.

All this could be filed under the heading of asthenia.

Broch was concerned chiefly with the German-speaking world, from which he came. (Viennese.) His overall view is larger, but he is focused on a political history which he takes from around 1880. That was about the time from which Hitler was coming, though the man himself was not yet born. Still, the wind out of Prussia was blowing, on the modern mass man, no longer anchored.

On men who were, in the New Testament sense, weak. (Not, most assuredly not, meek.) On the man who had lost his spiritual centre, thus his balance. Who could be blown about.

The temptation of evangelism today is to join the party; to blow men our way; to sweep them with a broom into our corner; to improve our demographic position, or slow the decline. But this is ineffective. We are reducing religion to politics — from a something to a nothing.

Rather, the metaphor should be damp them down; return them to the mud of their Creation, so they may live; free them from the weakness, the spiritual asthenia, that has made them slaves.

This has nothing to do with removing their shackles. For remove those, and they are still shackled, no longer to the earth but to the wind.

Mother Angelica

I wish that God would send us a few more Mother Angelicas. Now that the first one has surely gone to Heaven (from Alabama), and Mother Teresa (of Calcutta) is so long gone that she is scheduled for canonization in September, there is a discernible need for more Mothers of this sort. I mean, Mothers who don’t take any nonsense, even from liberal bishops, and perform miracles of fundraising and proselytization right before our eyes. Mothers who attract not only congregants to Holy Church, but nuns to holy convents, and priests to the sanctuaries, and more generally, get people praying, and acting, just as if they were Christians.

She (Mother Angelica), who died on Easter Sunday — born Rita Rizzo into a badly broken home with an abusive (if soon absent) father, and a mother given to clinical depression, plus “health issues” that would kill off any normal child — discovered early in life that having God on your side makes all the difference. It started with the nine days she devoted to a novena to get her deadly stomach pain cured. (It worked, of course.) Soon after she became Sister Mary Angelica of the Poor Clares. An Ohio girl, she was called (by God) to go found a nunnery in the heart of the ultraprotestant South, and naturally she obeyed. And then another monastery, and so forth.

Gentle reader may know her chiefly as the founder of the television network, EWTN. Her “media outreach” began with tapes of her spunky talks, sold with the baked goods to raise a spot of money. There were the usual tribulations associated with starting a broadcasting empire in a nunnery garage. One thing led to another, however, and now it is beaming Masses, Rosaries, major church events, and much Catholic instruction into a couple hundred million homes, quite around the planet. And this without ever stooping to the dissemination of filth, which was the means to success in most parallel cases.

I don’t watch television myself, but I know some people who do, and am assured that EWTN really does teach orthodox religion, or at least tries consistently to do so; that it has yet to be taken over by the liberals in human flesh, who (like the Devil) can never create anything, so focus on appropriating other people’s creations.

Like most other saint-grade Catholics, Mother Angelica was of the curious opinion that Faith could move mountains; and leaves a record of mountains moved.

There are many delicious anecdotes of her to be found by Google-searching the obituaries. Never having met her, I have none to add. Let us be content with my quoting just two of her remarks which, from this great distance, seem to bare her soul.

One was her explanation of why she did so poorly as a child at school. She said that she had difficulty remembering e.g. what the capitals were of the various United States, “because I was more curious about whether my mother had committed suicide that day.”

The other was her response to Archbishop Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles (retired, thank God), whose typically callow misrepresentation of the Real Presence she had rebutted point by point on air. When it was ill-advisedly insinuated that she was risking her control of her nunnery and her network by correcting him in this way, she replied: “I’ll blow the damn thing up before you get your hands on it.”

Now, this is precisely the attitude I recommend when dealing with that (human, all too human) part of the Catholic hierarchy that seems intent on replacing Jesus Christ with the worship of “progress”; and verily, liberals of all other sub-species. Correct them on points of doctrine and of fact in the plainest, untimidly public way, and don’t be afraid it will cost you.

It may, it probably will cost you, in my experience; but if one is sufficiently robust, the mountains may begin to rumble.

Mother Angelica was notoriously “indiscreet,” but discretion does not come into this. What does, is the determination to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and in the words of that wonderful old cliché, let the chips fall where they may.

The unknown good

Let it not be said that no truth is ever spoken in our Canadian House of Commons, notwithstanding the Party of Lies has been in power these last 148 years (9 months, and 4 days). On Maundy Thursday of this year, the Hon. Kevin Sorenson (Battle River-Crowfoot), rose to say:

“Mr Speaker, this weekend, around the world those of the Christian faith will celebrate Easter. Western civilization, our Parliamentary institutions, human rights, the Canadian Constitution, common law, criminal law, and le Code Civil all have deep roots in Christianity.

“Our traditions and cultures have evolved over time from the promise of a coming Messiah in the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament. We are promised everlasting life when we put our faith in Jesus Christ. The struggles of our daily lives and the sacrifices that we make pale in comparison to the sacrifice of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. He died on the Cross at Calvary to pay for our sins and then rose from the grave to give us hope for our resurrection and eternal life.

“This weekend we celebrate the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, but even more we celebrate his victory over death.”


“What is truth?” Pontius Pilate famously asked. This was very droll.

I love old Pilate. I’m sure Jesus did, too, in his tough-love, Christian sort of way. Here was a man with plenty of guile, but also at some level, an humane administrator given half a chance, usually in control of his personal demons. At this key moment, it is remarkable how many, not only of droll lines, but of droll situations, have been captured by Saint John the Divine.

Or by Saint Luke: for instance, the little affair of the two administrators, as Pilate, discovering that Jesus is from Nazareth, thinks he can shunt Him off on the governor of Galilee. For that governor, Herod Antipas, happens to be in town. Herod, who does not know what to do with Him either, sends Jesus back. Neither could have wanted the Son of God to land in his jurisdiction.

We “just know” that given a choice of Jesus or Caiaphas, Pilate would rather take tea with Jesus. Early churchmen and mediaevals often saw it that way. Pilate is less than perfect, ahem, but he is a civilized man, and one may imagine him rolling his eyes at all the religious crazies, of whom he must be thinking, “this Jesus is hardly the worst.” The instinct to wash his hands is itself the mark of a good man. It is as if he already knows, in the Trotskyite vernacular, that he is getting put on “the wrong side of history.”

I have no idea how the Risen Lord must deal with gentlemen like Pilate. The Living Christ did, however, break His silence to have a few words with him. This, to me, seems to have some significance: that Pilate was not beyond speaking to. And in the words, “thou sayest,” Our Lord is speaking in Pilate’s own language of legality.

O poor Pilate, whose political office has blinded his eyes to Faith. Like the rich man, the man of power cannot afford to give up all he has. This saddens him; he must make compromises. He tries to squirm out of impossible situations. They are “above his pay grade,” or, he wishes they were. He gives the crowd the choice, Jesus or Barabbas. But he knows what crowds are like, once aroused. Pilate has instead given himself the choice of this choice; and finally he “is stuck with” the Crucifixion. He was no Judas, however; he wasn’t doing it for money and fame. He was only doing “what he had to do,” in the order of his blindness.

It is my belief that John, in his Gospel, fully apprehends the political “ironies” which each of the Synoptics has touched upon: the ironies, and with them, some of the implications, that otherwise must speak for themselves. I, at least, think the disciple that Jesus loved was, for all his virtues, ill-fitted for the first papacy.

John emphasizes the little paradoxes, the little twists, to carry a minor theme. This is the impossibility of “political solutions,” including, most pointedly, “democratic” political solutions. The others know this from Christ’s own lips, but John has it, too, from the deepest meditation: that Christ alone can save. Hence, paradoxically, he is the boldest of all the Apostles; and in his boldness at the foot of the Cross, the only survivor among them to old age.


John on Patmos with his eyes fixed on Heaven, faithfully transcribing what he has seen. That John, who is a small wooden statue standing as sentinel beside my bed: carved, I think, in the eastern Carpathians. His symbol is the chalice he is holding, which, like the figure, is tall and thin; John’s hand is cupped over the chalice. A world of meanings in that symbolic gesture; the peasant wood-carver successfully conveyed them.

It was sold to me by a Persian junk dealer, many years ago. He had no idea what it was or from where it had come. My sense of its provenance is from my own researches.

The sight of it reminds me there are no political solutions. We think there are, sometimes; sometimes we think this even up here in the High Doganate. We think, at least we can pass them off. Someone can be elected “to take care of it”; someone will know what to do. But no one knows.

And it is the man who says, “I know what to do,” while he is running for political office, who scares me. The Mister Fix It who will make us all great again. When, in reality, in the conditions that pertain to this planet, we are all going to die. Yet it is also pointless to fear: for what will happen, will happen.


Thomas Traherne: “News from a forrein Country came, / as if my Treasure and my Wealth lay there: / So much it did my Heart Enflame. …”

“Few will believ the Soul to be infinit,” the same poet wrote in his Centuries of meditations, “yet Infinit is the first Thing which is naturaly Known. Bounds and Limits are Discerned only in a Secondary maner. Suppose a Man were Born Deaf and Blind. By the very feeling of His Soul He apprehends infinit about Him, infinit Space, infinit Darkness. He thinks not of Wall or Limits till He feels them and is stopt by them. …”

The “news” of this Easter season comes only to one thing: that, from all the “wall or limits” of this world, He is risen.