Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


No Man is an Island

John DonneJohn Donne (1572-1631) was an Anglican priest and a poet. In the 1620s, Donne contracted a serious illness and thought he was dying. Around him, he could hear the bells of London tolling following the deaths of many a person. Lying in extreme sickness, he composed in his head a serious of devotions which on recovering he wrote down. They were published in 1624 as Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. In the most famous, Donne writes,
The church is catholic, universal, so all her actions; all that she does belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me; for that child is thereby connected to that body which is my head too, and ingrafted into that body whereof I am a member. And when she buries a man, that action concerns me: all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated...and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another....

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by sea, Europe is no less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of a friend's or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefor never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
The full text of this Devotion XII is here online.



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