Thursday, August 25, 2005 +

Evangelization 5

Truth vs. Experience. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matthew 7:13-14). Experience will almost always be against life. Few are apparently saved. Most take to well-worn paths. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind
lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. (Matthew 15:14). Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God (Luke 9:60; see also Matthew 8:22).

Father Martin D’Arcy quoted in George Weigel, “St. Evelyn”, First Things 33 (May 1993):

Few [converts] can have been so matter of fact as Evelyn Waugh. As he said himself, “On firm intellectual conviction but with little emotion I was admitted to the Church.” All converts have to listen while the teaching of the Church is explained to them-first to make sure that they do in fact know the essentials of the faith and secondly to save future misunderstandings. . . . Another writer came to me at the same time . . . and tested what was being told him by how far it corresponded with his experience. With such a criterion, it was no wonder that he did not persevere. Evelyn, on the other hand, never spoke of experience or feelings. He had come to learn and understand what he believed to be God's revelation, and this made talking with him an interesting discussion based primarily on reason.

Not that discussion must be based primarily on reason (how complete a Catholic was Waugh?), but that the convert must be willing to leave the crowd. For many are called, but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14).