I had the privilege at a recent Mythcon (annual meeting of the Mythopoeic Society) in Berkeley, CA (Aug. 2012), to sit on a panel about the relationship between myth and religion with Father G. Ronald Murphy, S.J.

One of Father Murphy’s Books

Father Murphy made the excellent point that Christian Faith cannot be understood in the abstract or by itself, but only as it is related to the other virtues Paul lists along with it: “There then abide Faith, Hope, and Charity (love), these three; and the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13).  Christians doesn’t just have faith as an abstract intellectual exercise: They trust and hope in One that they have learned to love.  My thoughts about their interrelationships on the flight back to Georgia coalesced into this poem.


For Father G. Ronald Murphy, S.J.

Curtal Sonnet # 21

And what is Faith?  Not simply to believe,

Unless Hope is no more than wishful thinking

Or Love a cynical disguise for lust.

Evidence and Reason can relieve

All valid doubt and yet still leave us shrinking

From what we do not love and will not trust.

Reason is necessary, not enough.

Soul-conquering Love must come alongside, linking

The mind in Hope to One who felt the thrust

Of all our hate and still looked back in Love:

In Him we trust.

Did I get it right?

One of Dr. Williams’ Books


For more poetry where this one came from, go to and order Stars Through the Clouds: The Collected Poetry of Donald T. Williams (Lynchburg: Lantern Hollow Press, 2011), $15.00 + shipping.  See also Dr. Willliams’ other Lantern Hollow books, Reflections on Plato’s Cave: Essays in Evangelical Philosophy and Inklings of Reality: Essays toward a Christian Philosophy of Letters.



About gandalf30598

Theologian, philosopher, poet, and critic; minister of the Gospel who makes his living by teaching medieval and renaissance literature; dual citizen of Narnia and Middle Earth.

Posted on December 31, 2012, in Christianity, Donald Williams, Poetry, Theology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Peter Brinkmann

    Father Ron Murphy almost always gets it right. As a student of his in Intensive Basic German he taught us about realizations, and that (1975) there was no word in German to realize. I’ve recently returned from a few weeks in Germany. The Germans I know and heard to now use “realisieren” in Father Ron’s sense. Vielen Dank fuer alles Father Ron. Sie Haben mir mehrfach verholfen auf meinem Wege durch dieses Leben in Arten und Weisen die sie nicht realisieren koennen! Noch mal, lieber Vater, Tausend Dank

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