Wednesday, May 7, 2014


There are many reasons why Gilbert Chesterton converted to Catholicism.  This writer has read many theories and many expositions of fact relating to that momentous choice of the great GKC but, curiously, one factor missing from nearly all accounts I have read is the influence of fellow author and friend Hilaire Belloc.

We thought it might be pleasant in this Month of Mary to present to you a letter written by Belloc to Chesterton, some years before GKC decided to come to Rome.  And we express our grateful thanks to for bringing it to the attention of blogdom.

Reform Club, Manchester,
11 Dec. 1907.

My dear Gilbert,

I am a man afraid of impulse in boats, horses and all action though driven to it. I have never written a letter such as I am writing now, though I have desired to write some six or seven since I became a grown man. In the matter we discussed at Oxford I have a word to say which is easier to say on paper than by word of mouth, or rather, more valuable. All intellectual process is doubtful, all inconclusive, save pure deduction, which is a game if one's first certitudes are hypothetical and immensely valuable if one's first certitude is fixed, yet remains wholly dependent on that.

Now if we differed in all main points I would not write thus, but there are one or two on which we agree. One is "Vere passus, immolatus in cruce pro homine." Another is in a looking up to our Dear Lady, the blessed Mother of God.

I recommend to you this, that you suggest to her a comprehension for yourself, of what indeed is the permanent home of the soul. If it is here you will see it, if it is there you will see it. She never fails us. She has never failed me in any demand.

I have never written thus----as I say----and I beg you to see nothing in it but what I say. There is no connection the reason can seize----but so it is. If you say "I want this" as in your case to know one way or the other----She will give it you: as She will give health or necessary money or success in a pure love. She is our Blessed Mother.

I have not used my judgment in this letter. I am inclined to destroy it, but I shall send it. Don't answer it.

Yours ever
              H. Belloc 
My point is: If it is right She knows. If it is not right, She

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