The beauty of the world is Christ’s tender smile for us coming through matter. He is really present in the universal beauty. The love of this beauty proceeds from God dwelling in our souls and goes out to God present in the universe. It is also like a sacrament.”

Simone Weil
Waiting for God (New York: Harper Perennial, 2009)

Abelard raised a very foolish question when he asked:  ‘What has Horace to do with the Psalter, Virgil with the Gospel, Cicero with the Apostle?’  The answer is simply that Horace, Virgil, and Cicero clarify the human situation to which the salvation of God is addressed through the Psalter, Gospel, and Apostle.”

There is no real distinction between the pulpit and the classroom.  I tried to put God into every book and sport in Justin.  That was my ideal, to spread a sense of his presence so that it would not be confined to prayers and sacred studies and to spread it in such a way as to make the school joyful.

Louis Auchincloss
The Rector of Justin (New York: Mariner Books, 1964, reprinted 2002), 232

Literature, then, serves to deepen and to extend human greatness through the nurture of beauty, understanding, and compassion.  In none of these ways, of course, can literature, unless it be the literature of the Christian faith, lead us to the City of God, but it may make our life in the city of man far more a thing of joy and meaning and humanity, and that in itself is no small achievement.  Great literature may not be a Jacob’s ladder by which we can climb to heaven, but it provides an invaluable staff with which to walk the earth.”

Later the headmaster sent for Scott-King.

“You know,” he said, “we are starting this year with fifteen fewer classical specialists than we had last term?”

“I thought that would be about the number.”

“As you know I’m an old Greats man myself.  I deplore it as much as you do.  But what are we to do?  Parents are not interested in producing the ‘complete’ man any more.  They want to qualify their boys for jobs in the modern world.  You can hardly blame them, can you?”

“Oh yes,” said Scott-King.  “I can and do.”

“I always say you are a much more important man here than I am.  One couldn’t conceive of Granchester without Scott-King.  But has it ever occurred to you that a time may come when there will be no more classical boys at all?”

“Oh yes.  Often.”

“What I was going to suggest was–I wonder if you will consider taking some other subject as well as the classics?  History, for example, preferably economic history?”

“No, headmaster.”

“But, you know, there may be something of a crisis ahead.”

“Yes, headmaster.”

“Then what do you intend to do?”

“If you approve, headmaster, I will stay as I am here as long as any boy wants to read the classics.  I think it would be very wicked indeed to do anything to fit a boy for the modern world.”

“It’s a short-sighted view, Scott-King.”

“There, headmaster, with all respect, I differ from you profoundly.  I think it the most long-sighted view it is possible to take.”

Evelyn Waugh
Scott-King's Modern Europe (Boston: Little, Brown and Co, 1949), 88-89

A cultural life will exist outside of the Church whether it exists inside or not.  To be ignorant and simple now–not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground–would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defence but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen.  Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.”

C. S. Lewis
"Learning in War Time" in The Weight of Glory (New York: HarperCollins, 2009), 58

It is possible to be as provincial in time as it is in space.  Because you were born into this particular era doesn’t mean it has to be the limit of your experience.  Move about in time, go places. Why restrict your circle of acquaintances to only those who occupy the same stage we call the present?

David McCullough
Brave Companions (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007), 223

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others:  in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection.  One of the latter sort comes at length to know at once whether a thing is true the moment it comes before him; one of the former class grows more and more afraid of being taken in, so afraid of it that he takes himself in altogether, and comes at length to believe in nothing but his dinner:  to be sure of a thing with him is to have it between his teeth.”

George Macdonald
The Princess and Curdie