Happy Easter, my dear readers! Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit sicut dixit! Alleluia! Today, we celebrate Christ’s double victory over sin and death, a share of which victory Christ offers to all humanity. Though we are yet troubled by sin in this life, we shall one day cease to offend God and men and no longer be troubled by the effects of human wickedness in ourselves and others. Though we all shall die, death has been transformed into the entrance to life illimitable. How great the reward, and how little God asks of us! Even if our malice, weakness, and ignorance frequently cause us to fall short of God’s commands, repentance continually brings us ever closer to God despite many falls.
Recently, I made the happy discovery of another “Dante class anime”: Blood Blockade Battlefront. (See the page “Anime for Christians“ for a description of “Dante class anime.”) Many who have seen this anime might thinks that monsters are the only thing Blood Blockade Battlefront has in common with The Divine Comedy. But, Christian themes are intentionally used throughout the show. I was first alerted to the possibility of this when Mary MacBeth says that people commit the same wrongs they did two thousand years ago when Christ came to earth.
Sure enough, the anime went on to emphasize the theological virtues (faith, hope, and love) and redemptive self-sacrifice. As with Christianity’s modern struggle, the main spiritual foe is nihilism, which is what William MacBeth struggles against in particular and what the main villains embody. Klaus reminds one of a priest in two manners: his instrumental role in imparting faith in goodness to Leo Watchman, and the cross on his back recalls the cross worn on the priest’s back. (A priest’s chasuble has two crosses, front and back. The one on the front representing the priest’s sins, while the one on the back represents the people’s–for both of which he has responsibility.) Leo’s special power, a God-like vision, recalls that faith in God’s Word gives Christians the power to judge not by appearances but according to the heart of a matter.
The hints are no longer subtle by the time we reach the final episode. Taking place inside of a Church in ruins, the last episode includes a self-sacrifice which restores the barrier between the city of Hellsalem’s Lot and Hell. The barrier, represented as streams of golden light, extend out from both the cross and the statue of St. Mary, both of which are powerful symbols of mercy in Christianity. And, Leo constantly repeats that all we have to do to be saved is take one step towards the light–Christ can accomplish the rest. Indeed, contrary to Eastern religions in general, man, however much he repents, cannot reach the divine by himself: he prays and strives to follow God’s law, good actions which fall short of divinity’s infinite goodness. In His mercy, God makes up for man’s poverty of being and rewards man according to the sacrifice of His Son.
Once again, happy Easter!