Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

Divine Love

What do we do when the Beatrician quality, the experience of Divine Love, is gone? For Dante, this happened because Beatrice died. For us, it could be simply that the first divine flame of romance ebbs and flows throughout the course of a marriage or that the first "mountaintop experience" as a Christian comes and goes with many valleys in between. We cannot command the vision of Divine Love. God reveals Himself in His own time and in His own ways. Charles Williams writes, "It is for us to decide whether its disappearance makes nonsense of its first appearance."

Must we continue in the vows we made in that first vision, that first experience that filled us with Divine Love? Or was it all an illusion, a trick of the mind? Williams continues:

"In this, as in so much, we have on inadequate evidence to make up our minds on the principles of things; it is the old gamble. 'Then the wise course is not to gamble.' 'Yes, but you must; you are not free to choose.' The agnostic, the anti-romantic, gambles as much as the believer and the romantic--nor is he any more certain of the great classic end. He is indeed less certain, for he has ceased to explore the distances; he has given up measuring the times; he has, that is to say, abandoned proportion."

When the light of Divine Love is gone, we cannot seek the light for its own sake. That would be to desire desire. In a marriage this would mean licentiousness. In religion this would mean unfaithfulness to our God and Lord, moving from one "religious experience" to another. However, we can devote our lives to moving toward the center of the circle, toward Love, arriving at the place of Divine Love Himself and therefore the source of the light.