My last article comparing Attack on Titan and Claymore spurred me to re-watch the latter–the lackluster quality of much of recent anime helped me along too. At this point, I have reached the siege of Pieta, where some of the most desperate fighting in the series occurs. The anime brings us one poignant moment when Miria, the Claymore ranked #6 in the organization and leader of the desperate band of Claymores, utters a prayer that all the fighters might survive. Then, she undercuts this prayer by chiding herself for thinking that there is a God.
Interestingly, this points to a possible rift between the conscious mind and the spirit. Hopeless conditions and misfortunes may overwhelm the mind such that it can barely or not at all cling to the the belief that God exists, but there exists something in the spirit which refuses to accept a Godless universe. Or, the thought might even come that God does not listen to us, that we have been rejected by God. Brother Lawrence, the famed subject of The Practice of the Presence of God, thought for two years of his life that he would be damned. Can there be a worse feeling than this for a believer? Yet, he entrusted his cause to God and the feeling dissipated. In such darkness, we do not even want to pray anymore, but the cries still come, “God have mercy on us!” or “Lord, you are in the midst of us and we are called by your name. Do not forsake us!” (Jeremiah 14:9) We doubt the rationalism of such acts, but the deepest part of our soul nourishes the hope that these words mean something.
Hope is the operative word: for, if God is infinitely good, we need not fear whatever happens to us. He is a loving Father with infinite care for all His children, as George MacDonald loved to repeat. Speaking of George MacDonald, he penned this interesting phrase in Weighted and Wanting: “The pride of despair and the despair of pride.” Despair can only come from pride and placing our hopes in our own strength rather than in God. If we trust in God despite our misfortunes, then we possess the humility of hope. And, as Jesus Christ emphasized to that great apostle of Divine Mercy, St. Faustina, humility is truth. So, we keep slogging on despite the darkness.
Perhaps, the connection between hope and humility is best exemplified in the duel of Clare and the Awakened Being Rigaldo. Rigaldo had just killed four of the five captains in Pieta, leaving Miria as the sole survivor. Those familiar with Claymore know that Clare is ranked as the lowest Claymore, despite having some great abilities. Rather than give up, she keeps striving to use her power with greater precision and refuses to accept defeat, despite being beaten down several times and being obviously outclassed. A proud soul would have just accepted this disparity and surrendered. But, humility forces her to keep trying, telling her that not every last resource has been exhausted–that her heart yet beats and that is sufficient reason to persevere. The truly humble man can never despair.