Charles Kegan Paul (1828-1902) should be known to our British friends as a publisher of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His publishing business is known in our day as Routledge, which many of us would know of. There also appears to be a Kegan Paul International still operational.
A somewhat irreligious son of a Somerset vicar, he nevertheless later became a master at Eton and a curate and vicar within the Church of England. He later resigned from his clerical position and chose to become a follower of the positivist Comte’s “Religion of Humanity”, which he himself described as “Catholicism without God”.
He was also a long-time fan of, and well acquainted with Cardinal Newman and very soon after Newman’s death in 1890 he entered the Church of Rome. He himself died in 1902, twelve years after Newman.
Apparently an astute businessman as a publisher, with several great titles and authors under his publisher belt, he also produced his own works, one of which was his Confessio Viatoris ( Confession of a Wayfarer), which gives us his journey to the Catholic Church. Please take the trouble to read it here, as it’s nicely written, not terribly long and not at all complicated. A medium pleasure, actually. At the time of writing he shows himself as a demure wandering soul, if not somewhat “broken” and in no way one for grand statements or projects. (Thus, he distinguishes himself from certain habitual CP&S commenters, such as Toad and also Mr Tom Fisher from the farthest South Pacific.)
At the end of his traveller’s confession he says as follows:
But the Church is no Leah, rather a fairer Rachel than we dared to dream, her blessings are greater than we had hoped. I may say for myself that the happy tears shed at the tribunal of Penance, on that 12th of August, the fervour of my first Communion, were as nothing to what I feel now.
Day by day the Mystery of the Altar seems greater, the unseen world nearer, God more Father, our Lady more tender, the great company of saints more friendly, if I dare use the word, my guardian angel closer to my side. All human relationships become holier, all human friends dearer, because they are explained and sanctified by the relationships and the friendships of another life.
Sorrows have come to me in abundance since God gave me grace to enter His Church. I can bear them better than of old, and the blessing He has given me outweighs them all. May He forgive me that I so long resisted Him, and lead those I love unto the fair land wherein He has brought me to dwell!
It will be said, and said with truth, that I am very confident. My experience is like that of the blind man in the Gospel who also was sure. He was still ignorant of much, nor could he fully explain how Jesus opened his eyes, but this he could say with unfaltering certainty: one thing I know, that whereas was I blind, I now see.
Which is all to lead on to the psalm at yesterday’s Mass, Friday 11 March 2016 in Lent, psalm 34. This is a most beautiful and reassuring psalm, often quoted and used in our worship – O taste and see how good the Lord is, for instance.
I suggest that the quote from C. Kegan Paul above, notably the bits I’ve made bold, are clearly expressed in yesterday’s psalm.
Furthermore, the whole excerpt is like a description of a kind of spirit we could hope to attain in this late Lent. See if you agree.
The LORD hears the cry of the poor..I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad..The LORD hears the cry of the poor..The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress He rescues them..The LORD hears the cry of the poor..The LORD is close to the broken-hearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit He saves.
The LORD redeems the lives of His servants;
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in Him..The LORD hears the cry of the poor.