In wandering around the blogosphere I have frequently encountered mention of Chesterton. Sometimes it’s a quote. Sometimes it’s an entire post. Or frequent quotations and posts. Sometimes he is used as a reference for judging some contemporary belief or action.
Mark Shea of Catholic and Enjoying It! caught my attention a long time ago for, among many reasons, frequently referring to him as the “Prophet Chesterton.”
I have seen that title and similar reference to him as a prophet elsewhere, including in a blog called Totally Catholic Youth Ministers Lounge (yes, that is the name!) in which they invoke the great one to counter some ill-informed anti-Catholic comments (as opposed to their usual ill-informed comments) of the women of The View.
More recently I got a chuckle when I stumbled across Father Dwight Longenecker of Standing On My Head referring to him by a variation of the title: “The Portly Prophet”.
Prophets are usually defined as individuals who have encountered God and serve as an intermediary with the rest of humanity. They often give warnings or promote change.
Chesterton certainly fits those criteria. Of course, in terms of another sorts of “fit,” prophets are often pictured as ascetical sorts on the thin side who frequently fast and wander off to mountains, caves, deserts and other isolated regions. Sound more like Shaw!
Chesterton, appropriately, provides us with a prophet paradox – a man of proportion with large appetites who often seems to have received his “messages” over many a glass in a tavern.
But why not? God has a sense of humor.
As for whether Chesterton is a prophet, history will prove that. Are his warnings, predictions and guidance authentic? So far, they seem to be – and think of how many people he has helped to lead to the Church.
The Prophet Chesterton. It has a certain ring.
At least until we can call him St. Gilbert Chesterton.