In Chesterton's biography of St. Francis of Assisi he says something that takes me off-guard - that Francis was thought a fool and that Francis embraced his being a fool, and redeemed being a fool. Chesterton gives the analogy of digging through the earth, and how halfway through you begin digging up rather than down. I was struck by the similarity of his words and Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter as Hester is branded with a symbol of shame and yet, through her godly and wise life, the red A becomes a symbol of something beautiful - not that adultery is beautiful, but that Hester is. She is transformed by it and therefore transcends it. This is what Christ does. He takes a curse (hung on a tree), descends into hell with it, and comes out on the other side with the symbol remade. So that now, I wear a cross around my neck - not as some macabre homage to Roman cruelty, but because the shame has become glory, because night has been made into day.