Joseph Pearce was received into the Catholic Church in 1989 and has written 19 books, most celebrating Catholic authors, values, traditions and culture. (Photo courtesy of Joseph Pearce)
The next time you’re away from the city lights on a cloudless night, take a glance skyward. There in the heavens will be an endless universe filled with countless stars. It’s a miracle we can witness just by opening our eyes.
As author Joseph Pearce began his journey away from hatred and toward love of his fellow man, he saw the wonders of the night sky as one of many magnificent signs of God’s presence.
In his book, Race with the Devil: My Journey from Racial Hatred to Rational Love, Pearce writes: “Having my eyes awakened to such beauty was a baptism of the imagination — a baptism of desire — which I now see as foundational to my path to religious conversion.”
Pearce elaborated on that point and more in talking recently with the North Texas Catholic. “We need to have our eyes and hearts open to the beauty and majesty of God’s creation that surrounds us,” Pearce said. “It’s a gift given to us every single day.
“It’s so easy in the hardness of our hearts and the busyness of our lives not to be looking up,” Pearce continued. “In that case, we’re blinding ourselves to this great gift of creation that we’ve been given.”
The author likens it to the words Oscar Wilde wrote in one of his plays for a character who said, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
Pearce explained, “Yes, we’re all sinners. The difference is that the believer is in the gutter with all the other sinners, but he’s looking up.”
Pearce also drew on a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien who, like Wilde, was a Catholic. In the final volume of Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings,” one his characters says words to the effect that above all shadows the sun and stars forever dwell.
Pearce said that from these Catholic authors, about whom he has written insightful biographies, we hear a similar message.
“Above all darkness, above all evil, there is the light and love of God,” Pearce said. “And to be in the gutter looking up at the stars is to be aware of that love and be aware of that light. It’s to know that this is the guiding light we need to live our lives.”
Pearce reflected on the light of Christ that brightened his own life after his dark days that had been filled with hatred.
“If Christ and his love can penetrate the hardness of my heart, then He can penetrate the hardness of anyone’s heart,” Pearce said. “The encouraging thing that I hope my story will convey, is that nobody — no matter how far they may be from Christ and his Church — is beyond his reach.”
Race with the Devil: My Journey from Racial Hatred to Rational Love by Joseph Pearce. Saint Benedict Press (Charlotte, North Carolina, 2013) 264 pp. $22.95.
It might come as a surprise that one of today’s most prolific Catholic authors, Joseph Pearce, spent the early years of his life writing articles and editing a magazine for the sole purpose of inciting a race war. It probably doesn’t come as surprise, however, that Pearce — author of 19 Catholic titles — is not the first sinner to find redemption through Jesus Christ and his Church.
The next time you’re away from the city lights on a cloudless night, take a glance skyward. There in the heavens will be an endless universe filled with countless stars. It’s a miracle we can witness just by opening our eyes. As author Joseph Pearce began his journey away from hatred and toward love of his fellow man, he saw the wonders of the night sky as one of many magnificent signs of God’s presence.