He who sits in heaven laughs

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She sat down. It is a simple act, this of sitting down, but, like everything else, it may be an index to character.” P.G. Wodehouse, Something New

Some might say that the act of sitting down may be easily explained: it clearly falls within Aristotle’s category of action and leads to the position of “sitting.” For a wise man such as P.G. Wodehouse, however, the act of sitting down is not so simple. It is a prism through which one can see the whole of a person’s life and character; it cannot be explained into irrelevance by a simple analysis, but leads the careful observer to consider the depths of the actor, whether she does it well or ill. For the wise man, an action as simple as sitting can be a foil for reflection on the character of an individual sitter, the state of the culture that produces one who sits in such a way, and the curious mixture of soul and body that leads the weary woman to sit at all.

When we see a woman sit in a dignified manner, as our keen observer Wodehouse describes, we can marvel at the fact that the Lord has created this marvelous mixture, man, whose body can express the character of her soul not just through words uttered by her lips but by posture or movement. We are led to praise the Lord for positioning us at such a grade of being as to both share in rationality and to share in animality, a combination which makes possible both the expressive power of the body and the act of observation and subsequent reflection. If we approach such seemingly mundane events with an openness to the hidden revelation lurking within each one, then our spontaneous sense of wonder may help direct us to the one whose works are wonderful, with whom we may one day sit at table in the kingdom of God, wondering at his marvels with delight for all eternity.

Marie-Denise Villers, Young Woman Drawing

By | 2015-01-31T09:18:13+00:00 October 17, 2011|Books, Philosophy|

About this Brother:

Br. Innocent Smith, O.P.
Fr. Innocent Smith was born in California and raised in South Bend, Indiana. He studied music and philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He entered the Order of Preachers in 2008, made solemn profession in 2013, and was ordained to the priesthood in 2015. On DominicanFriars.org