This is something that well-read people love. One of the seminarians for the Fathers of Mercy — decades ago — loved anything like this. He was well-read. My mom was enthralled with series like this. She was well-read.
Meanwhile, I’m the most unwell-read person ever. And lacking in all culture. Evidence: The Archbishop Secretary for the Congregation for Bishops over in the Holy See used to drag me around to museums all over Italy, trying to give me an education in the basic humanities, only to realize at the end of it all, that I was a total barbarian, just another timber wolf or moose from the Northern forests of Minnesota.
Another inmate at the prison, Ralph, asked what this Downton thing was all about, and had eyes glazing over just about as quickly as mine did with Father Gordon’s description of it. Something about “Post-Edwardian” put my brain on dry-ice.
And yet, there is something I love about what Father Gordon wrote in this post as with all his posts. There’s always a perspective of someone locked away out of history. That perspective, ironically, immerses one into a sense of the vast sweep of history all the more. Father Gordon is a master at getting this across. We can learn much about the depth of human character before the Lord of History from Father Gordon.
I note his mention of the praying of psalms, which we priests do everyday. They’ve been said by a good chunk of humanity since they were first written, even some three thousand years ago. Our Lord Himself, the very Creator and Sustainer of history, cited the first line of Psalm 22 during that timeless hour of His on the Cross: “My God! My God! Why?!”
P.S. Disclaimer: I don’t have a T.V. or use Netflix, so I haven’t watched this Downton thing. I read the comments over on TheseStoneWalls and noticed that many say they also don’t watch T.V., except for this wholesome series. But I’m guessing that those commenters over yonder are all extremely well-read.
UPDATE — Father Gordon Responds. I just now received this email:
Hi Fr. George. It is very rare that I get to comment on other blogs, but of course you and your great readers know that someone is doing this for me. Thanks so much for this post. Ralph will feel vindicated when he sees the printed copy on its way to us. Pornchai will just roll his eyes as he always does whenever I mention Downton Abbey. We have been buried under two feet of snow over the last two days which makes our prison all the more confining. The good news is that I have received my new television replacing the one mentioned in the link on your post. It has to be an all-time record for speed in the prison bureaucracy. I was shocked, but not nearly as shocked as I was by the last episode of Downton Abbey I watched. I have only missed one, and PBS will rerun it this week so all is not lost. I’m sure your presentation on Genesis was great. Of this we have no doubt. Pornchai and I both offered two days in prison this week for the success of your talk. They didn’t stone you, and that’s a good sign!
With blessings to you and your readers from Father Gordon behind These Stone Walls.