The Beauty Is Enough

“I would like you to go forth like your ancestor Don Quixote on the high roads of the world—”

“He was a madman, monsignor.”

“So many said of Saint Ignatius.”

“He was a fiction, my bishop says, in the mind of a writer.”

“Perhaps we are all fictions, father, in the mind of God.”

“Do you want me to tilt at windmills?”

“It was only by tilting at windmills that Don Quixote found the truth on his deathbed.” And the bishop intoned in Gregorian accents: “‘There are no birds this year in last year’s nests.’”

“It’s a beautiful phrase,” Father Quixote said, “but what did he mean by it?”

“I have never quite made it out myself,” the bishop replied, “but surely the beauty is enough.”

—Graham Greene, Monsignor Quixote

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