Monday, April 02, 2007


Vox populis, vox Dei say the old texts, and it is at the most unnerving times that we might believe it. It is always so seductive to hear that the voice of the people is the voice of God, especially when you are a member of a mob of thousands streaming down the Appian Way to destroy the heresies of the senators.

But we must always be careful to make sure we aren't hearing voices – or if we are hearing voices, we should at least know where they come from. Sometimes, the single voice of a messenger in the night can make hay of the kingdoms of men. Sometimes, the voice crying in the wilderness can raise up a vision of eternity that is mightily compelling.

Yet it isn't the vox populi I'm thinking of here, in that ancient Roman sense. I'm thinking of the voices of those I know, who are dear to my heart in their various ways. I have been blessed with a terrible memory for names, but with an acute one for faces and patterns. My friends, and those of you who think of yourself as mere acquaintances but who share with me a friendly amity, please forgive my selective anomia in the knowledge that you are closely remembered. Words you have said will be with me for a very long time - and if you have spoken your name to me with intent for me to remember it, I will link face to voice in memory.

I treasure each one of you. And I treasure each kind of time I have spent with each of you - a range which includes mutual moments of many types: morning fellow-blurness and irascibility, noontide respite from the heat of the day and the hour and the tyranny of time, evening decline and exhausted disinclination, midnight subversiveness and wicked laughter. And I just had to say this against the day when one of us is beyond hearing or speaking or the continuing knowledge of humanity, in the hope that none of us will be beyond the love of God.

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