KING HENRY VI: G. K. CHESTERTON Ronald Knox would canonise them
Captive Flames. A Collection of Panegyrics. By Mgr. Ronald Knox. (Bums, Oates and Washbournc. 55.1.
Reviewed by PETER F. ANSON
A SMALL book, consisting of twenty-one sermons about saints, does not suggest
anything particularly interesting. But just because the preacher happens to be Mgr. Ronald Knox, there is not one of the 150 pages that does uot contain some arresting statement or some point that sticks in the memory.
In the dedicatory letter to Arnold Lunn we read that " filmset; the setting of these sermons be fugitive, the main theme of them is something which does not alter with our shifting perspectives, does not grow old. 'I he saints do ttot belong to a period; there is a rousinsizip between St. Ceeily talking to the angel Mat Valerian could not see, and Sr, Bernadette kneeling al the foot of the rock, apparently all alone. They are fixed stars, not subject to any law of impermanence."
MOR. Knox has the rare gift of making us see each saint in relation to the problems and difficulties of life to-day. Cecilia, Gregory, Anselm, Edward the Confessor, Edmund of Abingdon, Thomas More—and all the rest of the portraits in the gallery are realistic paintings, not mere stylised decorations.
Perhaps the most interesting sermon in the collection is one which deals with King Henry the Sixth, whom Mgr. Knox (as an old Etonian) would like to see canonised. He reminds us that had it not heen for the Reformation, it is almost certain that " St. Henry of Windsor."' would find a place in the kalendar. At the end of the fifteenth century pilgrims were flocking to King Henry's tomb and there are records of hundred% of miracles having taken place through his intercession,
" Ii would be a pity if through some want of patriotism, sorne want of feeling for our Catholic past, we missed the opportunity of publicly invoking a Saint of our own royal lineage. Pray then, for his beatification, you who love the English countryside which he loved; and commit to hint sometimes your prayers for temporal or spiritual favours: if experience goes for anything, it will not be in vain." In these times Englishmen might do 'worse than place their country under the spiritual care of Henry of Windsor, The last sermon is a panegyric of G. K. Chesterton, who fits in quite naturally into the collection, for most of the saints in this book were associatcd with England either directly or indirectly.
Art ideal Christmas present to give to layfolk as well as priests.