Chew the cud this weekend

“Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle, reposed beneath the shadow of the British oak, chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field.” Edmund Burke in 1790

It was brought to my attention by Matthew Parris in The Times. He uses it for political purposes for me I think it is relevant for those issues that trouble good Christian souls. The Humanist Society in Scotland make a great deal of noise in their continued attack on religion. The Pride movement blow their trumpets very loudly. Do not read into that comment an attack on gay people it’s not but Pride is another matter altogether.

The silent majority still exists. Militant groups can make a lot of noise, fads come and go, but in the end as Christians we must get on quietly and faithfully with our work. What is our work? Worship and quiet witness is what we are called to by the Lord. Be strong, swimming against the tide is always a slog. But unlike the strident voices today we have been swimming against the social fashions, dictats, and ideologies for 2,000 years and will still be here when all else is dust.

Plato’s Cave

Plato has Socrates describe a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall from objects passing in front of a fire behind them, and give names to these shadows. The shadows are the prisoners’ reality. Socrates explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall are not reality at all, for he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the manufactured reality that is the shadows seen by the prisoners. The inmates of this place do not even desire to leave their prison, for they know no better life. The prisoners manage to break their bonds one day, and discover that their reality was not what they thought it was. They discovered the sun, which Plato uses as an analogy for the fire that man cannot see behind. Like the fire that cast light on the walls of the cave, the human condition is forever bound to the impressions that are received through the senses. Even if these interpretations (or, in Kantian terminology, intuitions) are an absurd misrepresentation of reality, we cannot somehow break free from the bonds of our human condition—we cannot free ourselves from phenomenal state just as the prisoners could not free themselves from their chains. If, however, we were to miraculously escape our bondage, we would find a world that we could not understand—the sun is incomprehensible for someone who has never seen it. In other words, we would encounter another “realm”, a place incomprehensible because, theoretically, it is the source of a higher reality than the one we have always known; it is the realm of pure Form, pure fact.[1]

[1]Ferguson, A. S. “Plato’s Simile of Light. (Part II.) The Allegory of the Cave (Continued)”. The Classical Quarterly 16, no. 1 (1922): 15–28. JSTOR 636164

(and so it is for all who come to Christ and the Catholic faith) – Augustine

The Dormition of the Mother of God

Now toward the end of the summer season, at a time when fruits are ripe in the gardens and fields, the Church celebrates the most glorious “harvest festival” in the Communion of Saints. Mary, the supremely blessed one among women, Mary, the most precious fruit which has ripened in the fields of God’s kingdom, is today taken into the granary of heaven. 

— Pius Parsch, The Church’s Year of Grace