A Spiritual Aeneid
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By Ronald Knox
As Ronald Knox was preparing to enter the Catholic Church, he took with him, as a spiritual-reading traveling companion, Virgil’s Aeneid. The physical journey of Aeneas toward Rome provided a well-polished mirror to the spiritual voyage of Knox to that other, perfect Rome—the Eternal City of Christendom. “Ingeniously constructed on the Virgillian frame,” as Evelyn Waugh writes in his Foreword, A Spiritual Aeneid is Knox’s account of his conversion from the Anglican Church to the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church. And the Aeneid is the template par excellence for a conversion account—in Knox’s own words: “An Aeneid involves not merely coming home, but coming home to a place you have never been in before—one that combines in itself all that you valued in the old home with added promises of a future that is new. In an Aeneid…you may be driven from your course; but, to crown the sense of adventure, in an Aeneid you do not even know where your port lies; you must make experiments, hark back to beginnings, throw yourself upon a celestial guidance.”
If you can steadily face all this mountain of assertion about the greatness of God in comparison with man, you may be a Catholic yet—but can you? (Ronald Knox)
As moving and memorable today as when it first appeared in 1918, A Spiritual Aeneid endures as the “essential introduction” to Monsignor Ronald Knox, a devoted servant to the One who makes all things new.
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Ronald Knox (1888–1957) was an English Catholic priest, theologian, and author, and one of the most prominent twentieth-century converts from Anglicanism to Catholicism. Best known for his contemporary English translation of the Scriptures (the “Knox Bible”), he wrote numerous works of apologetics and collections of sermons, retreat conferences, and lectures, as well as six detective novels.