The Perennial Pupil

By Marvin Barrett

Perhaps it was because he had fought so hard for his belief in God, against family, the received wisdom of the academy and the laboratory, and his brilliant smart-aleck chums, that he was so singularly convincing.

In one of the five books I refer to each morning to lift my spirits and clarify my own prayers is a cream-colored card with the following death announcement engraved upon it:

Henry Fitzgerald Heard
6 October 1889 London
14 August 1971 Santa Monica

Not only does the card serve as a bookmark, it is a daily reminder of the man who—along with being my reluctant spiritual director for a half-dozen years in my youth — stood as one of the truly remarkable souls and intellects of his time. A man called Gerald Heard who, although far from perfect himself, left a legacy of persuasive books recommending the most strenuous possible life of the spirit. Perhaps from the very strictness of his instruction he has been all but forgotten. 

Not by me.

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