Mandeville, LA – This Lent I am attempting to increase my daily mortifications, an act that must look to the Agnostic or denominational like a scene from the new TV Series Bates Motel as many a voyeur wonders “who is that wacko talking to over that sugar boat!?” I’m also increasing the amount of Catholic works and literature I read, praying that eschewing Killing Lincoln for Augustine’s City of God might keep Moloch and O’Reilley permanently at bay. I am thus reading my friend Joseph Pearce’s magnificent “Literary Converts” (yes, for the FIRST time!) book and marveled at this sonnet written by Reggie Balfour and sent to the then agnostic poet Maurice Baring.
“Here lies Robert Peckham, Englishman and Catholic, who, after England’s break with the Church, left England not being able to live without the faith and who, coming to Rome, died not being able to live without his country.”
Later that year Baring, nearly moved to conversion after attending a Low Mass, and then a High Mass said by Pope Leo XIII in Rome, wrote to his friend George Grahame.
“Most people don’t punch [the Catholic Church] at all and [instead] say ‘Oh priests and idolatry’: but however bad priests are doesn’t affect the question of, ‘Is the Roman Church the catholic and Apostolic Church of The Creed or is the Anglican?’ And I think emphatically the Roman is and the Anglican is not…” [emphasis mine, Ed. – MC]
That is a bit like asking if the World Series Champion New York Yankees are from New York City or just from a big city, say Boston, that is New and has a York street downtown. Seriously, the story of Baring’s conversion as Pearce tells it is comforting for those praying for a friend or loved ones conversion this Lent. Count me in that number. Saint Monica, pray for us.