One book begets another, it seems. I read one book, and all the time it reminded me of the second book. As soon as I finished the first, I found a copy of the second. I found the second one to be lacking as well, for a different reason.
Suppose that civilization as we know it has been destroyed, with the exception of a small group of monks who dedicate themselves to preserving the knowledge of the past.
This is the general idea of both books, although one is a work of science fiction, and the other a history book.
A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller, Jr. takes place after a nuclear war has destroyed nearly all of the world. The survivors blame the 'Flame Deluge' on technology, and proceed to retaliate against any remnant of science, literature - any sort of knowledge. A man, a convert from Judaism, starts an order whose mission is to preserve the writings of those who were before the nuclear war. Thanks to the Order of St. Leibowitz, whose suffix is AOL(!!!), technology eventually returns, along with the same problems that led to the nuclear war.
All I could think of while reading Miller's book was this book:
Thomas Cahill's How The Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe presents the argument that the Irish preserved most of ancient civilization's writings while Europe and the Roman Empire were being overrun by various savage tribes. For a man of 100% Irish blood, nothing fills my heart with more pride. Unfortunately, Mr. Cahill fills the book with far, FAR too many tales of bawdiness and impropriety done by various Irish men and women. I got the impression that he lost sight of the purpose of his book.
Instead of reading about great things done by mine own people, I found myself disgusted by some of the stories I found in this book.
Mr. Cahill did have a great comment attributed to Sigmund Freud, to the effect that the Irish were the only people who could not be helped by psychoanalysis.
I wish this Catholic writer had written something to inspire the Irish Catholics everywhere to become modern-day St. Patricks. This thought came to me as we celebrated the ordination of ONE MAN for the Diocese of Dallas last Saturday. Perhaps our Irish Bishop Kevin Farrell, with his accent reminded me that I wrote a poem about Ireland and its lack of vocations HERE.
...and here as well:
The Island Is Sinking
Perhaps in some strange and far-off land
where my children's children live
they once again will take a stand
to preach, teach, and forgive.
For now my emerald isle home
once honored and renowned
is seemingly barren of the Faith,
the island is sinking down.
God promised that it would not see
the four horsemen's final call
rather it would founder, vanishing
not suffering at all.
The four green fields would slowly yield
and sink beneath the waves.
Where once my children's blood ran thick
the sea covers their graves.
Not long ago my children left
to spread the Faith worldwide.
Convents, seminaries fit to burst
were such a source of pride.
Today they are all empty,
none studying in their halls.
The barren womb has left no room
for a heart to heed His call.
So I look for where my children went
o'er centuries now past,
scattered over every land
and there my net is cast.
To every son and daughter
of Ireland, hear my pleading:
We lack for holy priests and nuns
it's saints that we are needing.
To all you men and women
who have God in their hearts,
add actions to affections
and strive to do your part.
I know someday my beloved isle
Will sink beneath the sea.
But I never thought my land
Would turn its back on Thee.