An American Conversion, by Deal W. Hudson (2003) recounts how one man sought the truth of beauty he found outside but not separated from the Scriptures. Religion, in particular, Catholicism found voice in art, music, literature, drama, and even in architecture long before science discovered ways to elevate mind over body. Hudson shares a few gems from authors whose sexual desires materialized in their body of works a in their longing for God. Authors who desired absolute truths, and opened their eyes to choices where truth and beauty can lead those of us longing for what lies beyond what we see with our eyes.
Hudson shares a few unexpected, but transformative experiences in his personal journey from preaching Scripture to living with the real presence of Christ in the Mass, a celebration of the Eucharist which is pretty much the same as it was 2,000 years ago.And the history of the Church appealed to Hudson’s senses. He writes as did G.K. Chesterton: “The Church really is ‘the thing’ that Chesterton once called it, a reality that was established by the life and death of Christ and made present to all souls, regardless of their beliefs. The Church is always there, not so much behind the sin and dissent but in its very midst!”
James Hitchcock, a historian at St. Louis University, wrote in his letter to Deal Hudson: “ “When one becomes a Catholic, one in effect enters into unity with the Church in its widest sense – not only the geographical breadth that exists at present but also all the ages which have gone before…A certain historical-mindedness is a great advantage for a Catholic, hence being a scholar is also an advantage. However, for the religious clay one finds in one’s local community, one can always travel across the centuries to enter in unity with the great saints and theologians.”
To desire is human, to focus on what is desired above all things desireable on earth, leads Deal W. Hudson to the divine. There are many more gems in his tale of An American Conversion. Read, reflect, don’t miss out on what’s possible.
Hudson, Deal (2003) An American Conversion: One Man’s Discovery of Beauty and Truth in Times of Crisis. N Y A Crossword Book
Who has not read The Life of Dr. Johnson (1791)? Or read in literature about the deep friendship shared by Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, his biographer?
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), historian and essayist wrote of Samuel Johnson. “Through long generations we point to him, and say, ‘Here also was a man; let the world once more have assurance of a man!’” Carlyle admired Johnson’s show of morality, “For as the highest Gospel was a Biography, so is the life of every good man still an indubitable Gospel; and preaches to the eye and heart and whole man, so that Devils even must believe and tremble at these gladdest tidings: Man is heaven-born; not the thrall of Circumstances, of Necessity, but the victorious subduer thereof.”
In his (2000) Boswell’s Presumptuous Task, the Making of the Life of Dr. Johnson, Adam Sisman has added to this enduring literature of friendship by writing another book about Dr. Johnson under observation by his friend, James Boswell who’s sole purpose of shadowing the well-known doctor is to document the family man’s history for posterity. It was tantamount to living in a glass house, the closest friendship reality show available to the 18th Century general public. The masses craved to read attributes of the man, they devoured the juicy details, and not unlike readers of today, demanded more.
“Where father or mother treat their offspring with an incivility which, offered to any other young people, would simply terminate the acquaintance, dogmatic assertions on matters which children understand and their elders don’t, ruthless interruptions, flat contradictions, ridicule of things the young take seriously – sometimes of their religion – insulting references to their friends, all provide easy answers to the question of why their children never come home…Who does not prefer civility to barbarism?’” (Lewis, C.S., 1960, The Four Loves).
Again from C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves), “To say that every Friendship is consciously and explicitly homosexual would be too obviously false…It has actually become necessary in our time to rebut the theory that every firm and serious friendship is really homosexual…Those who cannot conceive Friendship as a substantive love but only as a disguise or elaboration of Eros betray the fact that they have never had a friend.” And “By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets…as the blessed souls say in Dante, ‘Here comes one who will augment our loves’… Seraphim in Isaiah’s vision are calling ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ one to another (Isaiah 6:3). The more we thus share Heavenly Bread between us, the more we shall all have.”
Aristotle classified Philia as a virtue and Cicero wrote a timeless book on Amicitia. Friendship used to be the happiest and most human of all loves. Now it is not counted as love because few people allow themselves to experience the deep, mutual love of Friendship before they drown it in the idolatry of an all-pervasive, human sex drive.
I interviewed a priest who started up a ministry for Catholics attracted to same sex partners. The one thing he said that I still remember is that people should feel blessed to experience a deep, close friendship with another person of the same sex. And the blessing of such friendship seems to be extolled by both G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis, writers who also mourn the passing of acceptance for such deep friendships as they experienced in their lifetimes.