Goblin Slayer and the Root of Horror

The Halloween season has given me some impetus to think about the horror genre.  A while back, an academic named E. Michael Jones was on the Patrick Coffin show explaining how he thought about the horror genre.  He has written at least two works on this subject: Monsters from the Id: The Rise of Horror in Fiction and Film and Sex with Monsters.  Jones believes that the modern horror genre arose as a reaction to the free love movements of the 19th century and reached its full flowering following the Sexual Revolution.  Many persons were hurt by the myriad problems which inevitably arise from sexual licentiousness and enjoyed a cathartic reaction from a central message of many horror stories: sex can kill you.

School Days

You all know how this story ends.  Or, if you don’t, School Days should be on your list.

School Days might be the anime locus classicus for such a theme, but my dear readers know–know even a priori–that playing Don Juan for a length of time is going to lead one to embarrassing, painful, and even dangerous situations.  People don’t like being used as playthings, and the relatives of the playthings take an even dimmer view of such conduct.  The fact that one’s partner consents to the relationship does not take away from the feeling of being used.  The Sexual Revolution tried to paint promiscuity as a desirable thing, even promoting contraceptives and abortion so that women could participate in “consequence- free” sex.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Inuyasha and Beating the Devil

Inuyasha stood as my third favorite anime, but finishing Inuyasha: The Final Act gives me no choice but to bump it back into second place ahead of Code Geass.  Yes, the final installment of the series was enough to cover for any faults in the first several seasons.  The whole series focuses on the battle between good and evil.  Such shows and books are a dime a dozen, but Inuyasha parallels reality closely enough to catapult it to greatness.  In particular, Naraku very nearly captures the attitudes and wiles of the devil, and Inuyasha and his friends show how to beat the devil.

inuyasha_kohaku_kagome_kagura_2500x1785_wallpaper_Wallpaper_1600x1200_www.wall321.com

#1 Good always wins.

This is the first and most important rule.  One must always act with this truth in mind lest one be taken down by despair.  Even if we are plagued with defeats, we must remember that an All-Powerful and All-Merciful God desires to hand us the victory which He won for us, and so we have great reason to hope, do penance, and continue doing good.  Naraku in particular tries to fill Inuyasha and his friends with despair.

The only thing to do is to keep fighting without believing the evil one’s lies.  As St. Anthony of the Desert (from whom I draw many of these maxims) said, Christ has defeated Satan so that the devils are powerless–they can only threaten.  They are no more than playthings for us Christians no matter how frightful they appear.  Christ always is ready to give us the power for victory, unless too much pride prevents his grace from being efficacious in us.  But these very falls provide reason for humility and allow for us to be victorious through God’s grace later.

InuYasha-inuyasha-24193411-930-524

#2 Evil is best fought by the greathearted virtues of faith, hope, charity, and courage.

We see this especially in scenes like Sesshoumaru unhesitatingly entering the insides of Naraku, who has become a giant spider, in order to save Rin or Inuyasha jumping into the underworld to save Kagome.  Also, the utter reliance Kagome places in Inuyasha offers us a great symbol of faith: she does not fear falling into dark abysses, knowing that Inuyasha will save her.  We Christians should also not fear the darkness, knowing that we not only have a powerful savior, but an omnipotent and omnibenevolent Savior.

Evil cannot be conquered by excessive anxiety or worrying.  This is the fault of scrupulous people.  (Yours truly is guilty as charged.)  If we have excessive worry in our hearts, the devil will play upon these fears until we cannot perceive real goods or begin to fall into more vices.  Yet, if our hearts are filled with faith, hope, charity, and courage, all hell breaking into pandemonium cannot scare us.  Hence, it is important to fight evil with the greathearted virtues.

St. Anthony the Abbot doesn't look scared at all, does he?

St. Anthony the Abbot doesn’t look scared at all, does he?

#3 Remember Mercy and show mercy.

We are all weak and fall often.  Therefore, it is important to show mercy to one another, and to hope for mercy–even though all mercy is unmerited.

This is exemplified by things like Kagome forgiving Inuyasha for wounding her–the lover forgives her beloved.  In a similar way, the Church is the Beloved of God, who is more infinitely merciful than any human lover; and so, we have full reason to hope in receiving God’s mercy.  Then, we also have Sesshoumaru’s forgiveness of Sango for attempting to cut down Naraku by cutting through Rin in order to save Miroku.  Fortunately, Rin is not cut down, and Sesshoumaru completely overlooked Sango’s sin, for which she confesses to deserve punishment.  Though there is no forgiveness scene, the fact that Sango has three children at the end proves that forgiveness must at least have been tacitly given.

IMG_0055

#4 Even though we fall, don’t surrender.

Consider the mistakes Inuyasha and the gang made above.  They do not excessively grieve over their faults as to stop trying.  Rather, they continue to fight and refuse to give in to despair.  Miroku and Sango are particularly anguished by the prospect of the wind tunnel devouring Miroku; but, refuse to give in to despair, even though they come very close.

We are only human beings, not angels after all.

inu007

#5 The devil lies and ought not to be heeded, even when he speaks the truth.

The devil is “the father of lies.”  Therefore, he ought never to be heeded.  Even when he speaks the truth, it is so that he can twist it to his own deadly purposes later.  Thus, Jesus Christ even silences the devil when he truly calls Jesus the Holy One of God.

In the same way, Naraku constantly lies or uses the peril of the situations to induce despair.  Sesshoumaru is perhaps the best at picking up on Naraku’s lies, especially where he quietly ignores all the illusions Naraku places before him of Rin.  (Indeed, silence and a calm mind are two great weapons in the fight against evil.)  And Inuyasha has this great line: “I’m sick of listening to you!”  In the same way, we should ignore the evil one and live our daily lines focused on doing good and our duty.

Lord_Sesshomaru

#6 Though victory is assured, the struggle will take a very, very long time.

Inuyasha ran for a good 56 volumes, 193 episodes, and four movies in toto.  The struggle against evil in our lives and against our own vices will continue until death.  But, we must imitate Inuyasha and his friends in fighting this battle with perseverance and magnanimity until all our vices are pulled up by the roots.  Our Savior wishes this very thing.

crucis06

#7 Evil is small-hearted, mean, essentially nothing, and for nothing.

Kagome beautifully brings this out in a speech toward the end of the final battle.  Naraku lives merely to destroy.  He destroys relationships, friendships, families, and lives; but, for what?  No benefit ever accrues to him except that hollowest of pleasures: the delight in seeing another’s pain.  In the same way, the devil is the hater of all good and so truly deserves to be despised.

936718_378093408967066_1673090388_n

However, Kagome’s speech brings out a very sad point: Naraku, while still a man, desired to be loved by Kikyo, but he gave in to despair and envy, which allowed him to be possessed by demons.  There are even hints in the show that a part of him wants to be good and to love others.  Rather than follow these good impulses, he actively strives to eliminate them.  These choices resulted in him becoming the evil creature that he is.

Hence, though we can gaily trample upon the devil and his designs, we should pity and pray for our fellow men who have fallen so low.  Remembering that if not for the grace of God, we ourselves would be in the same sorry state.

1226stephen23

Sharing the Faith and the Sacred Heart

Well, dear readers, a certain level of ignorance has been lifted from my mind this day.  You see, my spiritual life has been not only stagnant but even painful for the past while.  In my incredible ignorance, I could not perceive how I strayed from the right path; but, God has mercifully waited upon my understanding, which may be likened to an abyss of ignorance, to be opened.  Perhaps the greatness of our ignorance and misery move God to show more mercy than the human mind can conceive.  Here’s a little story given by a deacon in a homily which adequately illustrates my fault.

God gave a certain mystic a vision of heaven and hell.  God led the mystic to two doors.  Upon opening the first, he saw a round table which held a pot of stew whose aroma caused the mystic’s mouth to water.  Seated around the table were a bunch of miserable individuals having very long spoons strapped to their forearms.  While these spoons were capable of reaching the pot, they could in no wise bring the stew to their lips.  And so, they sat around the table starved and miserable.  God informed the mystic that this was hell.  Then, God brought the mystic into a second room, in which there was the same table and pot of stew.  Only, everyone was happy and well-fed and yet they all bore spoons in the same way that those in the first.  The mystic began to wonder how these people were so well-fed.  Upon asking God, God informed him that all the souls in heaven fed each other, a concept beyond those in hell.

This allegory is particularly apt for the point I wish to make.  What may the stew be likened to except God?  The greatest torment of hell is eternal separation from God, who is Love itself.  The damned lost God because they were unable to love their fellow men.  Is not every good work a kind of sharing of God’s love?  This makes it abundantly clear to me that the Christian must share the knowledge and love of God with his fellow men.  God wishes the Kingdom of God to grow and encompass the whole world, like the mustard seed which “grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches” (Luke 13:19).

One must be careful that one does not attempt to shrink the Kingdom of God by either providing a bad example or not speaking of it.  By acting in this way, a Christian seems to reduce the Kingdom of God, which is supposed to be a mustard tree, to a sad, twisted bonsai tree, which cannot grow because every effort of its roots to expand is cut off.

And this was my error: not sharing the faith enough.  I did not realize this until during a drive with my younger sister.  I tried to describe how important living a Christian life focused on serving God is, clearing up certain misconceptions, speaking about the mystery of the Cross in our lives, and explaining certain sayings of Padre Pio.  After which I felt much better.  At which point, it hit me that I had not been doing enough to serve God.  That I had been keeping whatever I had learned about God, all my riches, to myself rather than offering these riches to others.  In other words, I acted as the servant who buried the talent, and various sufferings quite rightly fell to my lot.  One must try to remember that God is always giving, and one of the ways to fulfill the command to “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48) is by giving of oneself–whether it be talent, time, or treasure.

St. Martin of Tours seeing Our Lord clothed in the part of the cloak which St. Martin had given a beggar earlier that day.

And so, I would like to share with you some thoughts about Our Lord’s sufferings, especially as he suffered in his Sacred Heart.  First, consider the immense love of God–a being who has perfect happiness and is free from all suffering–in taking on a human body in which He could suffer, and that these pains were rendered even more acute by the tenderness of His love.  Even now that His Passion has ended, He still suffers in His Sacred Heart over the loss of poor sinners–as he revealed to St. Faustina, in whose heart He would try to find relief from the mortal anguish caused by the loss of souls.

Imagine what this most perfectly tender heart suffered during the time before the Crucifixion.  The crowds constantly misunderstood His message.  How painful this must have especially been after the feeding of the five thousand.  He reveals His flesh to be true food and His blood true drink, but people only want some bread loaves.  He expresses His desire to give His very self to them for their sake, to be their best and greatest Friend, and they only want to use Him for meals.

Not only did this suffering extend to being misunderstood by the crowds, but He was often misunderstood by His Apostles.  How truly alone He must have felt to not have one friend to whom He could relate.  Remember a time when you found yourself in a crowd of people with whom you had nothing in common, and you will have only scratched the surface of the alienation felt in this Heart which is more tender than a mother’s.

I’ll try to think of more ways to meditate on the Love of God in the future, but may this provide good material for contemplating the Sacred Heart for you.