Seeing God in a Man

I have had occasion to read a wonderful work titled Robert E. Lee on Leadership by H. W. Crocker III.  Prior to this, I had not had occasion to study the man, though the American Civil War has always been a favorite field of study.  You see, in a visit to the Petersburg Battlefield Park, I became haunted by Lee’s eyes–you may see the picture I saw below.  His eyes exuded nobility, gentleness, and elfin cheer.  They seemed to encourage me to be of good cheer–that happiness is around the corner if only I do not give up and continue to seek virtue.  So, I picked up this work to have my desire to learn about Lee further inflamed.  I am now inspired to read Emory Thomas’s biography of the man and even to eventually tackle Douglas Southall Freeman’s four volume work.  Why?  Because one can perceive Jesus Christ in the man’s virtues and kindness towards all.

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The true driving force behind every man’s striving is to find a person: Jesus Christ.  He is a person so wonderful that we wish to emulate Him as far as possible, to love Him with our whole heart, and obey His commandments and wishes as much as possible so that we might always remain with Him.  This is evident in our struggles after virtue–which Jesus has in infinity, our desire to be loved for being truly lovable, and in how we seek the company of good friends or even people who do not know Christ.  As Christ wished people to know His Father and His Mission, we wish for people to know Christ and that the Father sent Him to save the world.  People are good in the proportion that they imitate Christ, and it is in the imitation and beholding of Him that our happiness lies.

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Why do people feel lost?  Because they cannot behold or feel Him whom they really desire.  They see sins and defects in themselves and become disconnected with other people.  Then, they turn to every pleasure they can imagine in the belief that these things will satisfy them.  Yet, pursuing pleasure rather than virtue has the opposite effect: they feel more and more withdrawn from Christ and true Happiness.  The only and chiefest pleasure which brings one closer to Christ is possession of a good conscience.  Yet, in this feeling of being lost and deserted by God, God never leaves us nor seeks drawing us to Him.

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Let us then put our trust in God, love Him, worship Him, emulate His virtues, and delight to see flashes of the divine in our fellow men.  Then, one day, we shall no longer see through a glass darkly and behold Christ Himself before us.

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Kiba and Cheza’s Love as Symbolic of Jesus and Mary’s

While watching Wolf’s Rain this time, the utter delight Kiba and Cheza had in each other’s company struck me.  Those of my dear readers familiar with Wolf’s Rain know that this show is essentially a Christian allegory.  Though, I must confess to being so obtuse that I actually missed on this obvious connection the first time; but, this only proves how well it works as an allegory: the symbolism works such that it falls short of being blatant, which marks a perfect allegory.

Of course, one of this pair of characters might be conceived of as the Church rather than Mary, as the love of Our Lord for the Church is unfathomable; but, traditionally, many places in Scripture which some say refers to the Church, others say refer to Mary–the Song of Songs being a perfect example.  This is due to Mary being the most perfect disciple of Our Lord.  (Feminists please note that this honor was not given to a man, nor the honor of being the most powerful intercessor among the saints, nor did any other saint have as important a role in the history of salvation, nor is anyone else’s heart so like the Sacred Heart.)

I wrote “one of this pair” above because I hesitate to name either Kiba or Cheza as definitely Jesus or Mary.  If we were to assign them by gender, Kiba would symbolize Jesus and Cheza Mary; yet, Cheza has healing powers, is the one being sought by the pack, and is depicted as if crucified.  On the other hand, Kiba needs to save Cheza, is gravely wounded especially toward the end, and is the obvious leader of the pack–despite his unwillingness to be recognized in that role.  But this similarity brings out a fine point: the better a believer becomes, the closer he approximates Our Lord.  We have the examples of those people who seem so sweet and filled with goodness that we never wish to leave them.  Some people approach Christ-likeness so perfectly that they become an image of Him, as in the Orthodox idea that icons of Christ point to the Father as icons of the saints point to Christ.  Once when someone saw Padre Pio at prayer, he believed he saw Jesus Christ praying.

Also, I remember Louis de Montfort’s claim that it is easier to separate Our Lord from all created beings and things than to separate Him from Mary.  This is similar to Kiba and Cheza’s love.  When Cheza is present, Kiba is always at her side.  When she is absent, she’s all Kiba thinks about.  When Cheza thinks about the pack or feels that the wolves are near, Kiba is the first name that comes to her mind.  At the end of the series, when everyone else has perished, Kiba and Cheza hold each other in a firm embrace.

But that last scene reminds me of a symbol of how Christ is united to his Church, which I cannot pass without remarking: the blood pouring from Kiba and Cheza’s wounds changes into water as it flows out into the sea.  At Mass, a little water is mingled with the wine before consecration.  The water symbolizes the Church, and the mingling with the wine means that Christ is always united with His Church.  And this perpetual union I wish for you all.

Seeing this show again also makes me wonder whether it would have been better to have ended the show at episode 26 rather than creating another four episodes.  After all, the person symbolizing the devil has been destroyed and good victorious.  Even though one may say that the show doesn’t seem complete since the wolves haven’t found paradise, do we not experience the same thing in our lives?  Christ has conquered sin and death, but we still struggle with living virtuously, and, though we possess the Kingdom (“The Kingdom of God is within you” Luke 17:21), we do not yet enjoy the Beatific Vision.

So, what do you think?  Would it have been better to have ended Wolf’s Rain at episode 26 or does the addition of four more episodes make for a superior ending?