We offer no rewards except those which God Himself has promised to those that love Him, and lay down their life for Him; no promise of peace, save of that which passeth understanding; no home save that which befits pilgrims and sojourners who seek a City to come; no honor save the world’s contempt; no life, save that which is hid with Christ in God.
This is the promise of the Order of Christ Crucified, as described by Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson in his dystopian classic Lord of the World. To understand the spirituality of Lord of the World, one must first come to know the deep personal faith and the journey of its author.
As a convert from the Church of England, Monsignor Benson had a circuitous route home to the Catholic Church, his own personal spirituality undergoing a radical transformation before he published Lord of the World. In his autobiographical conversion story, Confessions of a Convert, he says he chose the clerical life in the Anglican church as it was “the path of least resistance.” Considering this vocation, “Plainly there was only one religious life possible, that of a quiet country clergyman, with a beautiful garden, an exquisite choir, and a sober bachelor existence.” Benson, however, would not remain Anglican for long.