Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe in Me as well. In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am…( John 14:1-3)
In the early morning hours of June 14, 1936, a wife and a world said goodbye to a husband and one of its most prolific writers and defenders of the Christian faith, G. K. Chesterton. By the time of his death, he had written around 80 books and now 80 years later we are still enjoying and being encouraged by that legacy along with his numerous short stories, essays and plays.
Upon Gilbert’s death, Frances, his wife, received the following telegram from Cardinal Pachelli, Cardinal Secretary of State and Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, on behalf of the Pope….
HOLY FATHER DEEPLY GRIEVED DEATH MR GILBERT KEITH CHESTERTON DEVOTED SON HOLY CHURCH GIFTED DEFENDER OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH STOP HIS HOLINESS OFFERS PATERNAL SYMPATHY PEOPLE OF ENGLAND ASSURES PRAYERS DEAR DEPARTED BESTOWS – APOSTOLIC BENEDICTION = CARDINAL PACELLI
Gilbert Keith Chesterton was truly a gifted defender of the Catholic faith, but in that, he also became much more to people of all Christian denominations: a common sense defender of Christ. We continue to quote him in our Christian witness to others 80 years later, and by Christ, even gaining some to the faith.
In this house we have also been reminded of death recently and ourselves drew comfort in the face of that loss from the poem that occurs in Chesterton’s book, The Flying Inn – The Rolling English Road. The last two stanzas sum up that indescribable feeling we all have when its our own time to approach ourselves or watch another go or remember one who has already gone to that “decent inn of death”.
His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run
Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun?
The wild thing went from left to right and knew not which was which,
But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch.
God pardon us, nor harden us; we did not see so clear
The night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton Pier.
My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage,
Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age,
But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth,
And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death;
For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.