The Catholic Worker and the Quiet Beatle

November 29, 2014 | spirituality

Today we honor two of my favorites: Dorothy Day and George Harrison, a seemingly unlikely pairing on the surface but not such an odd couple when you dig a little deeper. Day died on this day in 1980, and Harrison died on this day in 2001, forever linking the gritty would-be saint and the decidedly sage-like musician. At least in my book.

Although I’ve long been a fan of Day and have read many of her essays and lots of excerpts of books about her and by her, I have never read The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist in its entirety, just pieces here and there. Don’t ask me how I’ve gone this long without reading it, especially since it’s been sitting on the bookshelf in my office for years. That’s about to change.

In an unsuccessful battle with insomnia in the wee hours of the morning today, I wandered down to my basement office. I cleaned up papers and filed receipts, trying to do some work that didn’t require too much thinking. Then I sat down to read today’s reflection from Give Us This Day and noticed the short essay on Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement, in honor of the anniversary of her death. Having just finished a book on walking the Camino before I went to bed, I was looking for something to fill the gap. Enter The Long Loneliness. Even in my semi-awake state, I was pulled into this book by Day’s familiar story and down-to-earth writing style from the get-go. Can’t wait to get back to it later tonight.

One classic quote from Dorothy Day before we move on to a classic song from George:

The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us?

So now I’ll leave you with a song. The most likely George Harrison song to post on a spiritual blog like this one would be My Sweet Lord, but when have I ever done what’s “most likely.” Instead I will post my favorite George Harrison song: While My Guitar Gently Weeps, from the the Prince’s Trust Concert in 1987. Bonus: Ringo Starr and Eric Clapton.

I look at the world and I notice it’s turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps


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