|Gilbert and his beloved Frances|
He is a real-life Santa Claus, not only in his girth, but in his magnanimous spirit. I use that word deliberately, a word that comes from the Latin: "magna" for great, and "animus" for soul. He was, indeed, a "great soul" who loved his fellow man and never preened his brilliance to impress an audience. When asked, "What's wrong with the world?" he responded humbly without a pause, "I am."
Thinking about Chesterton recently, I embraced the acronym WOW! to describe him. Three of his greatest characteristics were his sense of WONDER, his OPTIMISM, and his WIT. He exuded joy and cheerfulness, a man who, like comedian and social commentator Will Rogers, "never met a man [he] didn't like." He could debate and criticize an atheist contemporary without the conversation degenerating to the level of animosity. Don't we desperately need that kind of respectful exchange today? In fact, the writer H.G. Wells, with whom he vigorously disagreed, once said:
“If, after all, my Atheology turns out wrong and your Theology right I feel I shall always be able to pass into Heaven (if I want to) as a friend of G.K.C.'s. Bless you.”When the issue of Chesterton's canonization came up in recent years I rejoiced. What a saint he would be for our nasty, insane times. If anyone lived in the "real" world, it was Chesterton. I can only imagine his treatment of gender insanity. A man who loved children and regretted that he and Frances never had any, he would surely demand those defending same sex marriage -- "Show me the baby!" He's often called the "apostle of common sense," a quality sorely lacking today, and you can't read his work without nodding your head like a bobble-head doll saying, "Yes, of course, that's it, he nails it, he's absolutely right!"
Chesterton pricked the hot air bags in Parliament and in business calling them Hudge and Gudge and praising common men and women who have more sense than aristocrats. His detective Fr. Brown understands human nature because his creator did. His novels are a romp with characters cutting through the insanity of the age like sharp sickle in a field of weeds
I often ask Gilbert for help and that brings me to the reason I'm writing this post.
My brother is seriously ill and has been for some time. When discussing his situation I said I was praying for a miracle cure. Practical man, Ray replied that, well if he were cured he would like it to be through the intercession of G.K. Chesterton to advance his cause for canonization.
So when my brother was in the hospital recently possibly dying, I told Chesterton I would write a blog post when my brother came home. And he did about ten days ago. He is desperately ill and only by a miracle of grace is he likely to share his own brilliant wit again with the world. A scientist, a teacher, a lover of Chesterton, an expert on the Shroud of Turin and C.S. Lewis, he still has so much to offer our sad and cynical world if the Lord chooses to give him a few more years to work in the vineyard.
And so I'm asking all my readers to please pray for my brother Ray through the intercession of GKC for a miracle cure. Throughout his ordeals, Ray has never complained and faces the prospect of impending death with a calm and accepting spirit, but how much I long for him to hear the words the Lord sent to Hezekiah by the prophet Isaiah, "I have heard thy prayer, and I have seen thy tears: behold I will add to thy days fifteen years."
Gilbert Keith Chesterton, please pray for my brother's cure and for all of us that we might share a portion of your wonder, optimism, and wit!