instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Devotedly yours

Though I've written about, and on the whole against, personality cults in the Church before, it's not an entirely cut-and-dried matter. After all, I warmly encourage devotions to saints, and devotion to a saint literally is a cult, and may well include devotion to the saint's personality as well. (For that matter, there are countless people on-line who seem to have a devotion to St. Jerome's personality, without any evident devotion to his sanctity.)

Still, the very word "devotion" suggests there are those who aren't devoted. Anyone who has ever known a friend to fall in love with a doubtful prospect knows the sudden lurch into incompatible frames of reference when the subject of the object of devotion comes up. To quote one of my own objects of devotion:
'I say, Bertie,' he said, after a pause of about an hour and a quarter.
'Do you like the name Mabel?'
'You don't think there's a kind of music in the word, like the wind rustling gently through the tree-tops?'
He seemed disappointed for a moment; then cheered up.
'Of course, you wouldn't. You always were a fatheaded worm without any soul, weren't you?'
'Just as you say. Who is she? Tell me all.'
And if Bertie Wooster knows enough to take being called a fatheaded worm without any soul without a flutter, you should be prepared to forgive me my devotion, and I your lack of same, should I corner you in the vestibule with talk of novenas to St. Soter for successful fundraising drives.