Hanayamata and God the Father

My liking for Hanayamata came as a surprise to me, as the show falls very solidly in the slice-of-life genre.  I often find that I enjoy shoujo more than slice-of-life!  However, like GJ-bu, the characters were endearing, which made me feel a genuine interest for their ordinary struggles, especially the difficulties within their own families.  As an added bonus, the last episode of the series struck me with the inspiration to write this article on how many people hold a distorted vision of God the Father.  Curiously, it was Hana’s mother who drew my thoughts to Our Father with her going halfway around the world to meet her child and her statement: “Who will listen to their child’s selfishness if not their parent?”  How a mother becomes an icon pointing to God the Father reminds me of how God’s love is often compared to a mother’s for her children, whether one reads Scripture or the lives of certain saints.

vlcsnap-2014-10-18-14h55m33s119

But, I should like to focus my meditation on three Fathers: Tami’s, Naru’s, and Hana’s.  Everyone acknowledges that one’s father has a great influence as to how they view Our Father in heaven.  Sometimes, one’s father is an excellent image for Our Father, other times imperfect, and rarely it is necessary to completely discard the idea of father imparted by our earthly fathers.  (But, usually the father must be a total villain for that to be necessary.)  So, how might we expect Tami, Naru, and Hana to imagine God the Father based on their relationships to their fathers?  Might any of us be like them?

vlcsnap-2014-10-18-15h00m38s131

I wish to group Tami’s father and Naru’s dad together for the purpose of discussion.  “What?” you say.  “How can you compare that strict, rigid, and aloof father of Tami to the gentle, solicitous, and understanding father of Naru?  Naru’s father might even be called the anime dad of the year!”  (I saw that last bit as a comment on Crunchyroll.)  I compare them through their daughter’s perception of them.  For all the secrecy and diffidence with which Naru treats her father, we might imagine that she thinks of her dad as if he were like Tami’s father!  She keeps secrets from him because she thinks that he will only approve of her if she adheres to a specific path and group of interests.  Any deviation will meet with his frown.

vlcsnap-2014-10-18-15h02m11s51

In a similar way, most people believe that God is strict, aloof, and uncaring.  They see God’s demand for our perfect moral goodness juxtaposed to our lack of virtue as calling down His just anger.  We often might believe that God does not care how we suffer or even sends us sufferings from a sense of vindictiveness.  Our dreams lie fallow, and we believe that God cares not a fig to aid us.  Some souls imagine that God is like Tami’s father, who sets a stifling way of life as a duty and for whom love seems conditional.  This duty is impossible to meet, and so God not only does not love them but may never be pleased.  Is it any wonder that so many souls run away from their sole Salvation and perish despite God’s infinite mercy and love?

God is no Machi after all!

God is no Machi after all!

But, the fact of the matter is that souls with the legalistic image of God do not know God as He really is.

But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things;
    and you overlook sins for the sake of repentance.
For you love all things that are
    and loathe nothing that you have made;
    for you would not fashion what you hate.
How could a thing remain, unless you willed it;
    or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you?
But you spare all things, because they are yours,
    O Ruler and Lover of souls,
for your imperishable spirit is in all things! (Wisdom 11:23-26)

vlcsnap-2014-10-18-14h56m01s208

Who is it that restores people’s understanding of God and removes their fear of approaching Him except God Himself?  It may be something as simple as Naru’s father saying “Where are you going?” in episode 12.  Naru becomes nervous–perhaps as fearful as Eve when she heard the words “Where are you?” in the garden–and joins her explanation of her involvement with the yosakoi club to an apology for not practicing iaido as much as she should, fearing that her father would be upset.  Might she not be compared to a soul which neglects Mass and saying its prayers?  Instead of condemnation, Naru finds that her father is pleased that she is expanding her world and wishes to see her dance.  In a fit of joy, Naru realizes that her father’s love is unconditional, and she embraces him in a fit of joy.

Naru's Otosan

Or kind of embraces him. I don’t know what the proper term for that gesture of affection is.

In the same way, our sins and way of life do not diminish the love of God for us.  In the first case, there have been as many ways of life as there are persons.  Of each of the saints, it will be said “there is not another like him/her.”  (I forgot the Latin expression I’ve seen used for this.  Oh, well.)  And, God’s mercy is abundantly seen when one reads the Scriptures or the Lives of the Saints.  God is ever ready to forgive as long as we come to Him.  After all, which child wrenches his father’s heart more: a son who commits a crime and gets locked up for it or a son who believes his father’s love has ceased with the commission of the crime?  Obviously the latter!  And yet people are so willing to believe that the love of God ceases when we commit grave sin.  Perhaps, a father like Tami’s just might, but not the Father of fathers!  St. John Vianney even told of a soul who willingly committed suicide and yet was saved in the very act!

Tami's reaction to being accused of having an Electra complex is priceless.

Tami’s reaction to being accused of having an Electra complex is priceless.

Actually, might not God be much more like Hana’s father, though with more dignity?  Hana’s father is overjoyed merely to see his daughter happy.  Does not God desire our happiness above all things?  What else is our salvation and perfection?  We ourselves are the causes of our own unhappiness as we deviate away from these things, which is the Will of God.  That God wills for us to be happy is often a shock to some souls, especially those who have experienced or are experiencing suffering and evil.  But, God promises happiness: “Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).

Need to include another picture of Hana Fountainstand somewhere!

Need to include another picture of Hana Fountainstand somewhere!

But, so many things militate against a soul realizing the goodness of God.  We must keep in mind that all our efforts must be adduced to the attainment of heaven.  Then, when perfect love has driven out all fear, we shall see the Merciful Father as He really is and wonder why we ever doubted Him.

Advertisements

13 comments on “Hanayamata and God the Father

  1. David A says:

    Nice article. Very interesting.

    I’ve read that there is a limit to God’s forgiveness though. It links to the topic of Predestiantion, and the “de auxiliis” controversy.

    Regarding the series, being published in Manga Time Kirara hints at some yuri. I’ve checked the tvtropes article and found this:

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/Hanayamata

    But from what I’ve read, most of these claims look like wishful thinking, fans interpreting friendly interactions as romantic ones, etc, and only one of them (the manga one) seems to hold some weight.

    You saw the series, what do you think?

    Like

    • God’s forgiveness has no limits. Famously, Our Lord said to St. Getrude the Great that He would be willing to suffer the Passion again even for the salvation of a single soul if it were necessary. But, Our Lord has infinite merit such that even if a person committed all the sins imaginable, his wickedness should only amount to a drop within the ocean of God’s mercy.

      What does have limits is the length of a man’s life. Certain people have shorter times for repentance than others. But, this poses no problems for me as God’s mercy shines forth greatest at the moment of death and all are given sufficient grace for salvation. Nevertheless, some people refuse to repent even then.

      But, the matter of Predestination is a great mystery. Luther and Calvin solved it to their satisfaction and wound up heretics. What we know for certain is that all the saved are predestined by God, while all the reprobate are damned by their own choice; and yet, free will is also operative in the predestinate. But, I shall have to read about the de auxiliis controversy.

      Concerning yuri, I do believe that Machi has romantic affections for Tami. At the same time, nothing at all comes of it. Machi never admits her feelings for Tami, and it is only occasionally referred to. Does not detract from the story at all!

      Like

      • David A says:

        I don’t remember the specifics, but was like what you allude in the second paragraph. Although it was more that people hit a time where they stop repenting for their sins.

        Yes, Predestination is a mystery.

        In a manga reader site, is described as shoujo-ai. And the manga item mentioned in the tvtropes article seems to be more of a joke. (Does Yaya has feelings for Naru?), now back to the article, that mention of Machi touching Tami thighs seems troubling. ” could easily be taken out of context.”, is really like that? I would guess that not.

        Now, speaking of the character, it bothers me for moral reasons that they add characters like these, without any indication of their behaviour being something bad. Instead, in recent SoL series, they play up that adding moé. Ah, what a dangerous combination! I’ve seen the effects in some fans.

        What are the moral theology considerations for the depictions of characters like her? I’ve been trying to find some information about that.

        Besides, there is something more too. If he fans of the stuff, “ship” characters, without any hint on the series, with things like these, they have actual “fuel” for their fantasies. And that is something I consider when thinking about recommending something, not only in this topic, but in others too.

        Like

      • If I remember rightly, St. Thomas defines a reprobate as a sinner who no longer receives the grace of conversion–normally because they have refused it in the past. But, I do wonder how many people are truly in such a state of reprobation. In a private revelation, Jesus Christ says that prayers for sinners are always heard. One thing St. Mary said at Fatima was that so many souls perish because they have no one to pray for them, which almost implies that prayer would suffice to gain a soul efficient grace for conversion. But, these matters are mysterious indeed!

        I don’t remember Machi touching Tami’s thighs; though, that reminds me of the part where Tami and Naru panicked over feeling that they had too much fat on them due to their thighs being perceived as plump. xD But, I would not call the anime shoujo-ai in the least–maybe the manga is.

        As for any depiction of characters, the rule is simply to tell the truth. Concerning various scenes, standards of decency must be followed; but, such things are easily perceived by people of good taste. I’d say that Hanayamata followed the rules of good taste very well.

        Concerning the shipping phenomenon and fantasies, I recall how The Imitation of Christ notes that we carry the causes of our sins with us. What I mean to say is that one can only worry about how these things affect viewers and readers so much. People universally suffer from concupiscence, and–as St. Francis de Sales joked–we shall be sinful even for a full five minutes after we die!

        Like

  2. David A says:

    I think the number could be increasing, specially in recent decades.

    What are these standards? I’ve been trying to figure out that for some time. For the moment, I have some comparatively high ones (but I wonder if these are enough, maybe I’m leaving somethign out).

    Regarding the last one, I think is needed to put effort (as an author too) in order to prevent that. Various years observing various fandoms made me aware of the scope of the situation, that gets progressively worse. “Motus in fine velocior”.

    Like

    • As I said, it’s sometimes hard to determine, and it does seem to vary depending on the culture and the particular person. There is an obvious extreme which should not be crossed (the pornographic and the gratuitously violent and torturous). Other than that, it must be left to the consciences of the watcher/reader and the author.

      Oh, and this reply seems to address the comment you made in the Tokyo ESP article, so I’ll leave it at that.

      Like

  3. David A says:

    Thanks, I didn’t knew about that one.

    Like

  4. Michael M. says:

    Nice article, yes, we can find our Heavenly Father in so many ways, even in anime. I haven’t seen this anime, so I will have to see it to see how you found that inspiration. I’m always amazed at how much you know of these older saints of the faith. I’m not Catholic, I’m Christian myself, so I’m not well versed in Catholic church history though I find it fascinating.

    Also, I’ve never seen that verse you mentioned, it’s from a book called Wisdom? Is that a Catholic book? Don’t mean to sound rude, just curious. Thanks!

    Like

    • Thanks! The Book of Wisdom is indeed part of both the Septuagint and the Catholic Bible. The whole point of book is to pursue righteousness and expect a reward for following God’s law. Unlike earlier books in the Old Testament, it affirms that the righteous will be rewarded with eternal life and that the ultimate reward for virtuous living may be delayed until then. It also has several references to the Messiah. Overall, a very interesting book.

      The Church Fathers and the saints of the Medieval Church are a fascinating group. You might especially like St. Bernard of Clairvaux and St. Augustine.

      Like

      • Michael M. says:

        I’ve especially liked reading about some of the Medieval Church where they moved in the supernatural. I think it was John of the Cross who levitated for an hour or something, and did other miracles. The supernatural fascinates me and I’ve seen God move through healings and deliverances, so it’s interesting. Saw John of the Cross on Netflix so yeah.

        I will check out those two you mentioned, I’ve heard of Augustine but not the other one.

        I have also read Jeanne Guyon, I don’t think she was Catholic but was Christian for sure. She’s a great read, she was a French woman of God way back in the day 🙂

        Like

Legens, scribe sententias tuas.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s