How bad a Catholic Dan was– or how good– is his business, his and his God’s, certainly not mine.  I did learn from remarks of Doris’ that he went to daily morning Mass, usually protesting, much in the manner of Chesterton, that only the power of Holy Mother Church could get him out of bed at so early an hour.  When once I remarked that it was difficult for me to picture him being so methodically devout, he looked at me with blinking incredulous eyes.

“There’s nothing methodical about going to daily Mass,” he said.  “Each morning holds a fresh and unique experience– a drama more solemn than death, more inspiring than birth– it is a drama of death and birth, really– the one great drama since time began.

“We are all at heart ritualists, whether we know it or not, and participating in the ritual of the stupendous sacrifice, we shed our false and gaudy artificialities and swim into deep, primal seas– plunge into coldly refreshing reality, and become, in an invigorating sense, our primitive selves again.  Morning Mass is a morning song as well as a morning sacrifice and good for the soul.  It is a time of detachment and offers the perfect hour not only for prayer but for orientation.  We are all racing toward eternity and it is then, in that morning hour, we can take time out, so to speak, to have a slow, quiet look at our distorted selves and our crazy world–and see both in placidly proper perspective.  A great simplification takes place, and lucidly, even radiantly, we see the things that matter– and see, too, that the things that matter can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

“Morning Mass is a matchlessly healthy and practical way of starting the day.  So soon as the news gets about, I expect all the psychiatrists will be prescribing morning Mass for their patients whatever their belief or lack of it.”

–from Dan England and the Noonday Devil, by Myles Connolly