Yet the citizens of a twentieth-century world need nothing so much as a poet to sing a path through its tangled philosophies and its prostitute science. Even religious, dwarfed often enough by their own accomplishments, goaded by ever-increasing demands for new activities, need desperately what the busy world values so little and what St. Thomas prized so intensely: the silence and the song.
World problems today tend to dwarf the individual. In unhappy Europe, men are murdered by block rather than by unit. We have learned to splinter the very atom of God’s creation. Our scientists have peered down the tunneled mysteries of creative substance and won the dubious honor of dismembering it. It is all so vast a field of woe, this world of ours, vast beyond the courage of a man or the hope of a heart.
So it seems from the false perspective of a Godless modern society. But there is quite another perspective, and to gain it brings a shock of sheer joy. It is God’s perspective. It is the view of the angel of the schools, St. Thomas. It is the discovery of that modern intellectual giant who was both a physical and mental twin to Aquinas, Gilbert Keith Chesterton. Other men have stood in the panoramic chaos of society and been disheartened to near-despair. They forgot the Blessed Sacrament. Chesterton stood beside the tabernacle and remembered. And he rejoiced with St. Thomas. Because he had the tenderness peculiar to very great love, Chesterton could write of the tabernacle as “the little window where God sits all the year.” Because he had the true perspective on the universe and on eternity, he could add, “The little window whence the world looks small and very dear.” Here is the very core of religious values.
It is God, God truly present in the world in the Blessed Sacrament who is vast, overwhelming, infinite, and omnipotent. It is the world which is small. And a world aware that its mighty God has delighted to dwell with the children of men is a very dear world.
Sister Mary Francis, P.C., “The Silence and the Song” ,Review for Religious (March 1955)