‘Cardinal Newman compares, somewhere, the sensations of a convert from Anglicanism to those of a man in a fairy story, who, after wandering all night in a city of enchantment, turns after sunrise to look back upon it, and finds to his astonishment that the buildings are no longer there; they have gone up like wraiths and mists under the light of the risen day. So the present writer has found. He no longer, as in the first months of his conversion, is capable of comparing the two systems of belief together, since that which he has left appears to him no longer a coherent item at all. There are, of course, associations, memories, and emotions still left in his mind – some of them very sacred and dear to his heart; he still is happy in numbering among his friends many persons who still find amongst those associations and memories a system which they believe to be the religion instituted by Jesus Christ; yet he himself can no longer see in them anything more in hints and fragments and aspirations detached from their centre... Yet he is conscious of no bitterness at all – at the worst experiences sometimes a touch of impatience merely at the thought of having been delayed so long by shadows from the possession of divine substance. He cannot, however, with justice, compare the two systems at all; one cannot, adequately, compare a dream with a reality’.
from Confessions of a Convert, 1913
by Mgr Robert Hugh Benson, 1871-1914
Mgr Benson, the son of E.W. Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury,
was a priest of the Church of England, 1895-1903
Fr Lee Kenyon