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Friday, December 28, 2018

The Key to Heaven


He is born!  Rejoice!  Sing choirs of angels!  Celebrate today!  As a parent and a grandparent, I understand very well the joy and excitement felt by the parents, and the family at large, when a new little one enters the world. 

Our grandson, Austin James, was born on a Christmas Eve fourteen years ago and I still remember the happy tears and laughter of the occasion.  Taken literally, our own family can share in this special happiness of the Holy Family, Blessed Mary and Joseph her spouse, as they welcomed Baby Jesus into this world. 
Away in a manger, no crib for His bed....
However, theirs wasn’t just any baby, as we know.  This child was the key, the long awaited answer to centuries of shame and suffering after the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden.  So beyond the literal happiness that comes from staring your newborn infant in the face and saying to it for the very first time, “Hello, I’m your mother and I’m going to love you forever,” there is a much deeper meaning attached to this birth in the manger filled with hay, surrounded by sheep and the warmth of cattle, in a town far away. 
G.K. Chesterton gives us a glimpse of that meaning in a chapter titled, “The Witness of the Heretics,” in his book, The Everlasting Man, in which he describes a key.  Let me share with you what he has to say on the subject.
The chapter begins:
“Christ founded the Church with two great figures of speech; in the final words to the Apostles who received authority to found it.  The first was the phrase about founding it on Peter as a rock; the second was the symbol of the keys.  About the meaning of the former there is naturally no doubt………
But the other image of the keys has an exactitude that has hardly been exactly noticed.  ………...  The Early Christian was very precisely a person carrying about a key, or what he said was a key.  The whole Christian movement consisted in claiming to possess that key. 
………… It definitely asserted that there was a key and that it possessed that key and that no other key was like it; in that sense it was as narrow as you please.  Only it happened to be the key that would unlock the prison of the whole world; and let in the white daylight of liberty.”
(Now, THAT, my friends, is worth rejoicing about!)  Chesterton continues:
“The creed was like a key in three respects; which can be most conveniently summed up under this symbol.  First, a key is above all things a thing with a shape.  It is a thing that depends entirely upon keeping its shape.  The Christian creed is above all things the philosophy of shapes and the enemy of shapelessness.   ……….. A man told that his solitary latchkey had been melted down with a million others into a Buddhistic unity would be annoyed.  But a man told that his key was gradually growing and sprouting in his pocket, and branching into new wards or complications, would not be more gratified.”
All the keys in the world are useless unless they fit the lock
we need to open
In other words, for a key to always fit the lock it must always retain the same shape and size.  It cannot lose its shape or become anything new.  If I hand you the key to my front door, it will open the lock as easily in your hand as it will in my own, because the key has a particular shape.
Chesterton says:
“Second, the shape of a key is in itself a rather fantastic shape.  …..a key is not a matter of argument.  It either fits the lock or it does not.  It is useless for men to stand disputing over it, considered by itself; or reconstructing it on pure principles of geometry or decorative art.  It is senseless for a man to say he would like a simple key; it would be far more sensible to do his best with a crowbar.
I have several keys on my own key chain, some bigger than others, some are colorful metal and some have flowers painted on them.  But if I want to unlock the back door, I am not free to choose which key to use because I know my preference at the moment has nothing to do with the requirements of the lock.  Only ONE KEY will do.
Chesterton says:
“And, thirdly, as the key is necessarily a thing with a pattern, so this was one having in some ways a rather elaborate pattern.  When people complain of the religion being so early complicated with theology and things of the kind, they forget that the world had not only got into a hole, but had got into a whole maze of holes and corners.  The problem itself was a complicated problem; it did not in the ordinary sense merely involve anything so simple as sin.  …….If the faith had faced the world only with the platitudes about peace and simplicity some moralists would confine it to, it would not have had the faintest effect on that luxurious and labyrinthine lunatic asylum.  …………..it is enough to say here that there was undoubtedly much about the key that seemed complex, indeed there was only one thing about it that was simple.  It opened the door.”

Merry Christmas!

3 comments:

Susan Matthiesen said...

Unfortunately the current key holder seems to be locking the door and throwing the key away. On Dec 21st he denied the Immaculate Conception by saying that our Blessed Mother was not born a saint.

Where are the Cardinals and Bishops defending her Immaculate Conception?

Probably out in the grass searching under a rock for the lost and mangled key they so thoughtlessly bestowed upon this embarrassment and total failure of a pope who seems to be trying to unlock the gates of hell with Christ's key to heaven.

After praising a transgender person and sodomites, saying there is no hell, changing the Our Father and denying the Immaculate Conception, what's next? He's already sharing the keys with protestants. Who will next be the beneficiaries of his unlocking all the doors to heaven? More than likely everyone, especially unrepentant sinners and all the animals and rocks and trees (Fr James Martin this week on Facebook).

Will he next declare that sodomites need a new sacrament for their lust and therefore create one? That Islam is equal to Christ? That there will be peace on earth?

Oh that a locksmith would appear to take the key with tongs, thrust it into the forge's fire, and pound it back into it's proper shape.

Fred Costello said...

I wish Susan would cite the website where the pope's actual words can be found for each of her criticisms of him.

Susan Matthiesen said...

Good grief, Fred! Look them up on the internet. One of them straight from PF's mouth and posted on the Vatican's website (end of 5th paragraph), is in my post just above this one with the beautiful picture of our Blessed Mother.

You have not read about PF changing the words of the Our Father? Not seen the photo of PF and the transgender person with her wife and PF praising them? Never read about the German hierarchy sharing the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ with protestants? Sorry for not posting links. I assumed no sources needed to be cited in a combox, especially since everyone had heard, seen and read about everything posted there.