I am happy to report that Father Fessio acted on my advice and has republished Daypring, a novel by Harry Sylvester about the encounter of a secular Easterner with the Penitentes of New Mexico.
In December 2007 I commented on the original edition.
Every time I visit the Southwest something extraordinary happens – I try not to expect it and set myself up for a disappointment, but I always feel why the Southwest, especially New Mexico, has exerted such an influence on artists of all kinds.
The starkness of the landscape and the Indian and Hispanic cultures are more alien to an Easterner than the cities of Europe are. It is impossible amid this landscape and these cultures to hide from the facts of life and love and death, of sorrow and blood, and for the hope for a mysterious world beyond death into which we shall all enter. It is a land of tears, but also a land of a beauty that pierces the soul.
It is so different from the suburban culture of niceness into which Christians have fallen, the Hallmark card religiosity that has replaced a true encounter with the mysterium tremendum et fascinans.
But only a world that acknowledges the possibility of damnation can also see the Dayspring from on high dawn upon it.