Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Evening Isles Fantastical

From Charles Coulombe:
Before ever they had heard of the Faith, they were aware of unseen presences all around them — some they deemed good, and others evil. At times these might erupt very strongly into vision, if the stories they told had any reality to them at all. And when at last the Church reached them, she not only gave them a means of understanding these occurrences, she gave them powerful weapons against their unpleasant aspects. From this mixture arose the folklore of Catholic and Orthodox countries in a process that continues to-day in mission lands. Although differing wildly in specifics from place to place, in general outline it was remarkably similar from Ireland to Russia, and later from Spanish New Mexico to Portuguese Indonesia. 

As we know from everyday experience if not from history, fallen nature is always with us; from the beginning the remarkable march of spiritual (and sometimes military) conquest of which we spoke was accompanied by defections due to various heresies. Perhaps the most vociferous of these, Islam, has threatened at times to sink the whole Christian world in blood. But instead of drawing ever closer in the face of the threat, Western and Eastern Christendom split. Where they have remained most similar, however, is precisely in this realm of folklore — that is, in popular response to the unseen. Certainly, that background, combined with miraculous relics, shrines, and images, and indeed, the Sacraments themselves, created a world of wonder. (Read more.)

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