Monday, August 31, 2015

Inspiration from Benson's Books

I have recently read two novels by Msgr. Robert Hughes Benson. 

Very interesting.

One of them was Lord of the World, which was recommended by Pope Francis as well as Pope Benedict XVI. To be honest, if I’d remembered that it was recommended by one of those popes, I wouldn’t have read it. But I didn’t remember, and the Kindle version was free, and it was mentioned somewhere else where it caught my eye, so I ordered it.

Lord of All was first published in 1908, and it is Benson’s view of the world 100 years later. It is really quite amazing how prophetic it is. I had to read the summary and explanation at Wikipedia at the beginning of it, because it is very British, and I didn’t quite understand some of the allusions. But as it went on, I was able to follow it without the extra explanation, and I found it fascinating. I also found it to be inspiring.

However, apparently, Benson was criticized for the negative and “depressing” view the book presents. It is quite depressing in the sense that it shows the decline and demise of Catholicism, but in the big scheme of things, it is quite a hopeful presentation. The final scene gave me an incredible spiritual boost!

Having received negative feedback, Benson went on to write Dawn of All. This book takes a completely different view of the future, and shows Benson’s view of how the world might look 50 years hence. This world is a completely Christian one, with almost everyone having become Catholic. Benson presents the story through the eyes of a “man who had lost his memory” and re-awakened in a world he found new and confusing. The man, who is a monsignor and assistant to a Cardinal, finds it difficult to adjust to the fact that everyone is Catholic and that the faith is quite evident in all the physical and spiritual structures in place. He finds it strange to see priests and bishops actually respected by the people!

At first, I thought that Dawn of All was not as inspiring as Lord of the World, but in the end, I found it was. Benson develops some of the doubts and questions that the man who lost his memory has concerning the new world order of Christianity. It’s really quite thought-provoking.  In the end, the issues are resolved in a stunning climax.

I highly recommend both books.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

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