Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Blest are the pure in heart

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Today is the commemoration of blessed John Keble (d 1866), a faithful parish priest of the Church of England who launched the Catholic revival in that communion with his 1833 Assize sermon on "national apostasy."

Bishop John Cousin wrote the following about Keble in the Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature of 1910 :

The literary position of Keble must mainly rest upon The Christian Year, the object of which was, as described by the author, to bring the thoughts and feelings of the reader into unison with those exemplified in the Prayer Book. The poems, while by no means of equal literary merit, are generally characterised by delicate and true poetic feeling, and refined and often extremely felicitous language; and it is a proof of the fidelity to nature with which its themes are treated that the book has become a religious classic with readers far removed from the author's ecclesiastical standpoint and general school of thought. Keble was one of the most saintly and unselfish men who ever adorned the Church of England, and, though personally shy and retiring, exercised a vast spiritual influence upon his generation.

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