Books in a way are sacraments that make the communion between an author and a reader possible. The white paper and black ink are the means through which one heart is revealed to another. But the paper and the words are merely the elements of the sacrament. What is sacred is the heart that writes the book and the heart that sits in silent communion to take and read what has been written.
The words that are read are small, waferlike things. But sometimes, on some page, God humbles Himself to come through some of those words and touch the reader’s heart. It is not the words that are sacred but God who is sacred . . . and the person to whom He comes.
In a sermon C. S. Lewis once said that next to the Blessed Sacrament our neighbor is the holiest thing presented to our senses. Most of us, though, are oblivious to that holiness except at rare moments …
“The awe that we sense or ought to sense when standing in the presence of a human being is a moment of intuition for the likeness of God which is concealed in his essence,” wrote the Jewish scholar Abraham Heschel. “Not only man; even inanimate things stand in relation to the Creator. The secrets of every being is the divine care and concern that are invested in it. Something sacred is at stake in every event.”
In every event.
A sobering thought, if it’s true. And if it’s true, it changes everything. Every moment of our day, every day of our life. Every dinner with the family, every breakfast with a stranger. – Ken Gire, in “Seeing What is Sacred”