12 American soldiers walk into a French widow’s house in WW1

Warm fuzzy may not be the first thing you associate with WWI, but this short story by Joyce Kilmer is something like it. It is also amazingly striking for Catholics – how religion can transcend national, cultural, linguistic boundaries.

From the intro:

Joyce Kilmer was born in New Brunswick in 1886; studied at Rutgers College and Columbia University; taught school; worked on the staff of the Standard Dictionary; passed through phases of socialism and Anglicanism into the Catholic communion, and joined the Sunday staff of the New York Times in 1913. He was killed fighting in France in 1918. This sketch is taken from the second of the three volumes in which Robert Cortes Holliday, his friend and executor, has collected Joyce Kilmer’s work.

The title and the intro emphasize the Irish-ness of the story – what do you think? Is it really about Ireland or another country I’ve heard of long ago, most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know?

Also I’m currently rereading Prince Caspian for the boys and just read Doctor Cornelius telling the young Prince about how the modern people are supressing all talk of Old Narnia. You see more and more this modern aversion to passing on Christianity. If you go for grants so many of them are specifically for non religious groups. Looking for a free Moodle host, again there is this stipulation that they not be used for religious purposes. Religion has become something very like a dirty word – except less acceptable.

As in Narnia, part of the problem is the fracture of Christianity. So many splinter groups with different agendas! But getting back to Joyce Kilmer’s story you glimpse the real deal. The very word Religion comes from the word to bind – it should be a uniting force rather than an individualistic personal thing.

In the end we shall know as we are known. Until then, pray for me and live in such a way that we may be reunited in a blessed eternity.


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