Friday, November 19, 2004 +

Notes 57

I said: I am more important than the world. So is my neighbor. In saying this I merely acknowledge what C. S. Lewis said in “The Weight of Glory”: “Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat” and what Newman said in Anglican Difficulties: “The Church . . . regards this world, and all that is in it, as a mere shadow, as dust and ashes, compared with the value of one single soul.” That the nations, etc., do not know this is understandable: they do not know Him. It is their sin against the Holy Spirit. As was said in a speech 141 years ago today, “the world will little note, nor long remember” what we do. This is irksome, if we overrate the world. We read:

She dwelt among the untrodden ways
  Beside the springs of Dove,
A Maid whom there were none to praise
  And very few to love:

A violet by a mossy stone
  Half hidden from the eye!
—Fair as a star, when only one
  Is shining in the sky.

She lived unknown, and few could know
  When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and, oh,
  The difference to me!

and naturally take the point of view of the poet. It is a bit of a shock to recognize that most of us are much more like Lucy than like Wordsworth, that most of us will live and die unregarded. All right then: Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, for the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than the temple, than Solomon, than John the Baptist, greater even than “rocks, and stones, and trees.”