Abayo! : Time for a Hiatus

My dear readers know that I occasionally take breaks from blogging.  Essentially, I have a millions hobbies and pursuits, many of which suffer neglect.  At present, reading and fiction writing have been given too little attention.  To myself, my writing style appears to have ossified of late, and I feel like my articles draw on fewer authors.  Reading itself often helps me remember what I have read, which helps me add more substance to what I write.  Now, reading books, it pains me to relate, often feels like a chore–a sure-fire sign that I have been watching too much anime!

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The worst thing about watching too much television lies in that it is designed to appeal to sentiment more than reason, as Russell Kirk, a 20th century American Conservative thinker known especially well by Hillsdale College graduates, writes in Redeeming the Time.  Is this a bad thing?  Not necessarily: there exist noble and moral sentiments which are good to exercise.  For example, we would think a man a poor American who never becomes moved by the Star-Spangled Banner.  The danger comes in relying upon sentiment to dictate all our actions.  It is possible for the mental muscle of reason to become so weakened that we are unable to judge our sentiments and emotions objectively–just think back to the final episodes of Gokukoku no Brynhildr.

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Medieval Otaku’s Third Anniversary

On this Easter, both this site and myself age one year.  This is the only time I can recollect my birthday has falling on Easter.  Does this coincidence mean that Medieval Otaku will gain a fresh breath of life?  That I shall set a new and vigorous posting schedule for my third year as a blogger?  No, I’ll probably continue writing on random themes which usually touch upon the Middle Ages, Catholicism, or anime as my dear readers are accustomed.  Thank you to all my dear readers who have enjoyed reading these posts over the past year.  As I always say, you need to struggle through many mediocre posts before finding the few gems which fall Deo iuvante.  Let me give you the low down on the posts you shall be seeing on here in the near future.

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El Cazador de la Bruja and the Spirit of the World vs. the Spirit of Christ

Today, I started pondering why so many people become atheists, agnostics, and deists in their early twenties. I concluded that they must have been deceived by the spirit of the world—the most dangerous of our three foes. I wish to illustrate exactly how the spirit of the world conflicts the spirit of Christ through using episode eleven of El Cazador de la Bruja.

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This episode features a con artist who poses as a witch to deceive people into giving donations to a phony religion. *Spoilers ahead, but only pertaining to this episode.* Our heroines, Nadie and Ellis, enter the town when the witch is placed in a bind.  Fortunately for her, Ellis releases her power in such a manner as for the witch to use it to protect her hold over the villagers.  In gratitude, the witch allows them to stay a few days at her place. Once inside the house, the witch confesses that she had been a con artist in her younger days, but that she does have one real power: reading people’s memories—not very lucrative. After Ellis and Nadie leave, she reports Ellis to the government, hoping to gain some money from the government as well as protection for all three of them. She honestly believes that she can work out a deal such that all three of them can live in a house in Beverly Hills! However, some shady individuals murder her for placing the call.

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From my description of the episode, it is apparent that the witch places the highest value on money. Authors like George Bernard Shaw reveal that the spirit of the world might be known from how it quantifies everything. Nothing can be enjoyed for its own sake. Rather worldliness looks at things on a scale of how they benefit us. It can even infect the way our relationship with friends, family, and oneself such that we become incapable of enjoying them.

A picture of George Bernard Shaw.  Sinister looking, isn't he?

A picture of George Bernard Shaw.

The reason that worldliness afflicts the spirit especially around the age of twenty lies in the fact that people start to be evaluated for the marketplace and desire to impress other people. It is important to earn a living, but the market operates strictly on the principle of efficiency. People are weighed and often found wanting. They discover that worldly people are considered cool, and try to lift their status by befriending them. Realization of the benefits of money drive people to seek money and compare people on the basis of their possessions and earnings.

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But, the great problem with the spirit of the world lies in that this manner of quantifying everything and entering into relationships for what another person can offer rather than for their own sake.  This is counter to the spirit of Christ. How can a system of weights and measures comprehend an infinite God? And so, Matthew 6:24 states: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” After all, what can we give God that he does not already have? Someone might say that we can serve Him by good works and supporting the cause of religion. Well and good: God has seven billion people who can do it better. Sure, God-fearing people are God’s instruments for spreading His reign, but His alone is the grace that actually converts hearts. He could turn a stone into a child of Abraham and spread the gospel more effectively with this instrument than any of us!

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As much as other people find us weighted and wanting, how much more easily might God do the same when every sin has infinite consequences. We are all infinitely unworthy of salvation and infinitely worthy of the wrath of God. For a Christian of a spiritual mind, this possesses no problem; but, it depresses the mind of a worldly Christian. This realization of one’s uselessness and culpability in the sight of God can allow such bitterness to enter into devotion that the crucifix turns from being a sign of hope and reconciliation to a sign of condemnation. The bitterness of God’s justice chokes the sweetness of devotion. A wrathful God takes the place of a loving God in his imagination. Then, he looks at the evils in the world and finds fault with God. Bitter toward God and suffused with an ideology of weights and measures, he decides that God is a figment of the imagination: the seed of faith sown among thorns has choked.

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Yet, the desire for love never quits a human being—however warped his understanding of love becomes. Even as the witch I mentioned earlier desires her two friends to be kept safe from harm in the same breath as she hopes for riches. Another sharp difference between the spirit of the world and the spirit of Christ lies in that worldliness desires to have while the Spirit of Christ desires to give. While the worldly man sees himself as furthest from God and the cross as a reproach, Christ is cut to the quick for this lonely and isolated soul. Christ cries “I thirst!” for the soul of this man so that he might not thirst eternally in hell. Does the soul proceed to lead others away from Christ and heap up sins upon itself? Christ fights ever more desperately for a soul in proportion to its misery and sins. Then, you say, God is unhappy because He does not have our love—that solves the problem of what God gets out of saving us! No! “These things I have spoken to you that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11). God’s happiness is unchanging and eternal, but He is happy in making us happy! Moreover, He does not wish to be happy without us being happy too! All our sins and sufferings Christ bore both on the cross and throughout his life so that He might share our miseries completely. Christ did not measure the blood He shed but emptied Himself so that He might be an ocean of mercy for poor sinners.

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In the final moments of the El Cazador de la Bruja episode to which I alluded, my heart ached to watch the final moments of the witch alone in her house. Happiness seems to have eluded her for her entire life: she grew up knowing little save the pursuit of money, this pursuit prevented her from pursuing her individuality, and she had just tasted a few drops of love before having her life cruelly extinguished. Why does God allow such cruelty? Especially perhaps the cruelest joke that her pursuit of money brought no happiness at all? One can only hope that God will say to such people who are so spiritually impoverished along with Lazarus: “…and Lazarus [received] in like manner evil things; but he is comforted here…” (Luke 16:25). For without love, no amount of possessions can make someone happy. One might ask: “Would God really care about the welfare of a soul which spent itself in the pursuit of money?” Well, would you take care of a weeping child who appeared on your doorstep? Then, how much more would God take care of one of His weeping children no matter how wayward!

Samurai X and St. Bonaventure

This is interesting.  I got the option to combine Anime and Philosophy on a paper a while back.  Despite a certain stuffiness of style inherent in all such work, some of my dear readers might appreciate it.  Especially how it remarks on the Christian themes found in Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal.  You might want to read St. Bonaventure’s Journey of the Mind to God before reading it, and I congratulate beforehand anyone with the stamina to go through it all.  : ) Let me just remark that much of St. Bonaventure’s work relies on the idea of steps leading the mind up to God as symbolized by a six-winged Seraph bearing a crucifix.  Each of the wings is a different step with the Cross, or the Mercy-Seat, being the highest step.

Here’s to a long academic article with pictures!

Turning one’s countenance to the Mercy-Seat: A Bonaventurian Reading of Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal

This essay will concern the Bonaventurian theme of the importance of the Mercy-Seat between the two Cherubim and meditation on the Passion and Death of Christ in healing the wounds in our nature as found in the movie Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal. Set in the last days of the Tokugawa Shogunate just before the onset of the Meiji Era (circa 1864), the film begins by presenting the problem of evil and questioning how to cure it. The two divergent paths offered by the characters for curing the ills afflicting society are justice and mercy. Overall, the film offers mercy and forgiveness as the best ways to overcome the wounds caused by evil. Specifically, it points to the reconciliation brought about by Our Lord’s sacrifice on the cross as the best and only way in which this is effected. The main problem with justice is that it relies on human beings who have flawed notions about how to distribute justice. Ofttimes, murder passes for justice in certain cases, particularly in our hero’s mode of being an assassin. Instead, mercy is more effective and more divine, the last attribute being made most apparent by the film beginning with a cross and ending with a cross.

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The very first words of the film, spoken by Kenshin’s master shortly before they meet, are “They are sick, the times and men’s hearts.” He goes on to lament that not even a man of colossal power could fix it, which I believe begins to point to the fact that only God can bring salvation. While Bonaventure does not delve much into the fallen state of the world, he does note the personal sins and vice affecting men’s souls and how it is necessary to polish them in order to enter contemplation: “Wherefore, it is through groans of prayer through Christ Crucified, in whose blood we are cleansed from the filth of the vices, that I first of all invite the reader.”1 The film powerfully shows the corruption afflicting mankind at the same time as Kenshin’s master laments it. Bandits slaughter the caravan in which Kenshin travels during this monologue, and Kenshin’s master only arrives in time enough to save Kenshin himself.

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The wounds on the people seem to reflect the wounded nature of men’s souls and the ugliness of the wounds clash with the beauty and goodness with which nature was created. To highlight this, this animation contains many views of beautiful scenery, which the characters often praise and which are sometimes juxtaposed to the murders which happen against this background. For example, when Kenshin joins the revolution as an assassin, he cuts down his first mark amidst a beautiful forest on a sunny day. This seems to deliberately attempt to show that men’s sinfulness goes against the goodness of creation. To highlight the discordant nature of the act, this scene is accompanied by some rather mellow music. (This is the case in the original soundtrack: the American release often dubs in music which are more in accord with the darkness of the action than the nature of the scene.) This ties into Bonaventure’s theory on the musical nature of the universe—drawn from St. Augustine’s work, which is found in chapter two of Journey of the Mind to God. God creates the world as a beautiful symphony, and men are supposed to align themselves within this symphony.

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In the case mentioned above, to a comrade’s praise for for not cracking during his first kill. Kenshin responds by saying that he does not feel anything. Rather than allowing the beauty of nature around him to understand the ugliness of his action, he hardens his heart against this inclination, which shows how contemplation does not suffice for bringing people to conversion.

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To return to Kenshin meeting his future master of swordsmanship, the wandering master leaves Kenshin to find a family to adopt him—a rather callous thing to do to a young boy. Yet, the master returns one week later to this same area in order to bury the bodies of the slain to find a field of crosses at that place. Kenshin decided on his own to bury all the slain, peasants and bandits, without exception. Not only did he owe nothing to the bandits, but he was actually a slave to those in the caravan. The sword master is so impressed by this act that he decides to adopt him as his pupil. This scene is the first time we see the cross, the Mercy-Seat, and it is accompanied by an act of mercy. This kind of mercy and forgiveness can heal whatever rancor Kenshin felt against both parties. His master will often remark on how pure Kenshin is during their years training.

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Unfortunately, Kenshin forgets the superiority of mercy and walks down the road of justice—or, more properly speaking, human justice (jinchuu in Japanese). At this point, Kenshin is a capable swordsman of about fourteen. (Very young, but it must be remembered that in American colonial times fifteen was the age one entered the militia.) In a scene reminiscent of the story of the prodigal son, he urges his master to let him participate in the conflict against the oppressive Tokugawa Shogunate. His master tries to dissuade him, noting that he shall become a pawn for one of the factions in this battle and that they shall use him for murder. Kenshin still insists upon how joining such a faction would help the suffering, and so his master lets him go.

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It is interesting to note that this training took place on a mountain top, and that Bonaventure’s contemplation of St. Francis’s vision of the six-winged Seraph took place on a mountain, and he often refers to mountains as a place for contemplation: “the mountain height where the God of gods is seen in Zion.2 Kenshin goes wrong when he decides to leave from the mountain, and it is not until later, when he has stained his hands with the blood of so many of his political opponents, that he again ascends a mountain and arrives at a level of peace in his soul and the realization that he had been doing wrong. Both the film and Bonaventure place a high regard on contemplation and removing oneself from the press of daily life. But, the methods of contemplation employed by Kenshin never goes beyond the second wing of the Seraph, which points to its insufficiency in completely healing his soul as I shall speak of later. Rather, he must perceive his wounded nature and bring it to the cross.

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After a while at this work, Kenshin runs into a target with a couple of body guards during the midst of night. The last one of them alive, a young bodyguard who is betrothed to a girl in his hometown of Otsu, wounds Kenshin on the cheek before succumbing to Kenshin’s prowess. Two remarks from the film are notable concerning this wound, both of which are delivered by the person in charged of cleaning up the scene of the crime. In the first, he remarks that he had never thought to see a wound on him. This wound symbolizes the interior wounds he has and will lead him out of the self-assurance he has that he kills justly. This is not the kind of attitude one must bring to meditating on God’s goodness, which must be sought by “the humble and pious, the contrite and devout.”3 Kenshin severely lacks any of these qualities in his current state, two years into Lord Katsura’s service.

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The first motion we have of Kenshin’s interior change comes when his associate says his second remark. When Kenshin’s wound randomly reopens, he tells him that superstitious people would say that the spirit of the bodyguard is seeking revenge. Kenshin’s eyes widen, and for the first time we see that he is capable of fear—fear that he might have done something worthy of punishment. This salutary fear may be compared to fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom. If the seven chapters of Bonaventure relate to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the first of which being the fear or awe of God, then Kenshin has finally reached the first step in the ladder of divine ascent.

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He reaches the second when he meets the heroine, Tomoe, for the first time. They meet right as Kenshin kills an assassin who had been sent after him, causing blood to fall on her apparel. In a state of intoxication, she tells him that he made the rain bleed. This seem to be an reference to how the fall caused nature itself to be corrupted, and Kenshin, by sinning in Adam, has further added to the fallen nature of the world. At any rate, Tomoe passes out and Kenshin charitably decides to bring her to the inn where he states, where she soon finds work and they develop a rather stiff relationship—Kenshin is not the most approachable individual.

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After his faction loses power in Kyoto and all the member must go into hiding, Kenshin and Tomoe are asked by Lord Katsura to escape the city and reside far in the country pretending to be husband and wife. Tomoe, who had left her family in Otsu, agrees. Through living in the country upon his mountain home and performing an honest living, Kenshin gradually begins to hate the life he had led, and promises to quit the life of an assassin. At the same time, the pseudo-couple falls completely in love. While love is not expressly named as a step of contemplation, it is surely the fastest way to having a fuller understanding of God, who is Love and who’s very Love led him to die for us on a cross.

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At this point, the stage is set for the Passion. Purification cannot be complete without contrition and meditating on the Passion. One morning, Kenshin awakes to find that Tomoe has left and his comrade waiting for him at the door of their cottage. This comrade had actually turned traitor ere this point and is now working for the Shogun. He tells Kenshin that Tomoe was the fiance of the bodyguard who wounded Kenshin. Upon learning this, Kenshin’s wound opens up again—as if to say that no amount of spiritual healing is complete without the blood of Christ. And so, he sets off to find her.

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At the same time, Tomoe, who has long since forgiven Kenshin’s crime, reports to the Shogunate soldier who is responsible for Kenshin’s dispatching that Kenshin is still as formidable as ever. (They had been hoping that his skill would worsen during this time with his lack of practice and the softening of his heart.) This particular soldier refuses to believe her, and Tomoe fails in her attempt to kill him with a dagger she carries about her person.

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In a scene reminiscent of the Agony in the Garden, the Shogunate official reminds her of the justice owed her fiance and how the strict order imposed by the Shogunate, which restrains man from acting on their baser self, needs to be preserved through killing its opponents. And so, we see how the other side of the political spectrum also resorts to a flawed idea of justice. He eventually leaves her in the Shinto shrine where they had met, where she is tormented by visions of her former fiance, which seem to demand justice.

At the same time, Kenshin undergoes his own suffering as he feels betrayed by Tomoe and seems to relive the past on his march to where the Shogunate official has set his trap. This march is reminiscent of the Agony in the Garden due to his mental anguish. Also, at the end of it, he shouts, “Let’s go to Otsu!” This indicates that he does not wish to avenge himself on Tomoe, but to be reconciled not only with her but even perhaps with her family. So, we have the beginnings of the triumph of mercy over justice. This symbolizes the mercy which heals men’s souls.

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After taking wounds defeating the henchmen who ambush Kenshin on the way, he finally meets the powerful Shogunate soldier in a duel and almost loses. He puts all his strength into one final, blind, and futile strike. What saves him from certain death is that Tomoe rushed in front of the dagger heading toward Kenshin to block it and is unfortunately cut down by Kenshin simultaneously with the Shogunate soldier. We are left with two more images of the passion as Tomoe lies in Kenshin’s arms in a way recalling the Pieta and Tomoe, as her final act, makes a cross on Kenshin’s cheek by cutting perpendicularly to the cut made by her fiance. At the end of the film, Kenshin vows to live a life repenting for his misdeeds.

In conclusion, the film seems to showcase Bonaventurian ideas pertaining to the necessity of penance and meditation on the Passion before the soul stained by sin can meditate on the natural world and arrive at a true understanding at the nature of things. While justice is important in ruling individual lives, preference is given to mercy in restoring the order of creation, which had been damaged by sin. Thus, the Mercy-Seat holds the prime place in both the philosophy of St. Bonaventure and the creator of Samurai X.

1St. Bonaventure. Journey of the Mind to God, (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1993), 2.

2Ibid., 8.

3Ibid., 2.

How to Imitate the Good Thief

Happy Palm Sunday, dear readers!  Here’s an article on a different subject than which I had promised earlier, but today’s reading on the Passion of Christ struck me so forcibly  that it would be a crime not to write about it.  The part in particular which struck me is the story of the Good Thief.  Now, I claim this to be my favorite story in the Bible; yet, my ignorance of all the implications of this story was very clearly laid out to me.  Let’s quote it here in full:

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35 And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” 38 Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:35-43)

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You notice that I quoted a little more than the story of the Good Thief.  This shows the general trend of people mocking Jesus, saying “Are you really the Messiah?”  I opine that the crowds, soldiers, and synagogue officials represent those people nowadays who are outside of the Church and refuse to believe.  Not only do they refuse to believe, but they even ridicule the idea of a Crucified God.  If only they would stop ridiculing Him, they might be converted like the centurion who says after Jesus breathes His last: “This man was innocent beyond doubt.” (Luke 23:47)

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But, I really do not wish to focus on the figures above, but rather the two thieves crucified with Jesus, who represent two kinds of Christians.  I say represent Christians because all Christians were baptized into the Passion and Death of Christ as well as into Our Lord’s Resurrection to new life.  So, we have to carry our crosses and be crucified on them eventually.  Note how the Bad Thief speaks to Our Lord: “Are You not the Christ?  Save Yourself and us!”  I feel that for the past while I had imitated the bad thief, and those who are troubled by the Problem of Evil or the Problem of Pain are rather similar.  Christians like this say: “Are you not all powerful?  Why do I have to suffer so much?  Is it really possible to suffer this much?  Take me down from this cross and just give me the Kingdom without a cross!”

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Then, there are humble Christians who realize that we must follow our Master all the way up Mt. Calvary, and say, like the Good Thief: “Justly do I suffer these things!  If I had not sinned, this would not be happening to me!  If I had not so much pride, this would not be happening!  Jesus suffered more than the human mind can fathom, and He was a pure and unblemished Lamb.  Ought I not to drain the cup my sins have merited?”

Jesus Speaks to the Good Thief.

Jesus Speaks to the Good Thief.

Then, instead of turning to Jesus and begging to be taken down from the cross, the Good Thief asks: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”  The Good Thief is not asking to be taken down from his cross; instead, he asks for salvation.  This salvation does not require freedom from suffering, but freedom and purification from sin and the promise of eternal life.  We should all try to imitate St. Augustine, who begged not to be spared pain in this life so that he might suffer less after death–referring to purgatory, I suppose.

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Then, by imitating the Good Thief, we shall receive words of consolation from God.  Jesus spoke to neither the crowds nor the bad thief because of their lack of faith.  But, if we have faith and do not blame God for any evil which befalls us, then Jesus shall speak to us and console us in our sufferings.  By continuing in this attitude, we shall one day hear the most consoling words of all: “Truly I say to you, today, you shall be with me in paradise.”

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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.