Friday, November 22, 2013

Aurgh!  Arthritis.  really bad.

So I'm reading Master of Hestviken.  

Which reminded me of this post from the past:

Last night after finishing my lesson plans, I picked up my much-loved copy of Kristin Lavransdatter from the nightstand and opened it at random. My eye was drawn to the italicized Latin text, "---dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris"---forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
The passage follows the thoughts of Simon, Kristin's brother-in-law, whom, in her youth, she cast away to follow her passion for Erlend whom she subsequently married.  Simon married her younger sister, partly because the sister was devoted to him, and partly because of his own affection for Kristin's father Lavrans—but Simon always retained his youthful devotion to Kristin, his promised maid.  He strove, because of his good character, to be a good relative to her and to Erlend.  When Erlend forfeited his lands and faced death for his part in an ill-fated coup, Simon was responsible for saving his life, at a tremendous emotional and moral cost to himself.  However, Simon now finds that he has been guilty of believing an ignoble lie concerning Erlend.  Because the evidence seemed to fit, Simon believed it, and now must make apologies to his brother-in-law.
During their encounter, Erlend, who had married Simon's betrothed maid, Kristin, is dismayed that Simon could think so ill of him…and you may make of that what you will…The fact is that Simon also is dismayed, and cannot apologize strongly enough.  "'Tis not worth taking so hardly," says Erlend.
Simon replies, "I am not so good a man as you!  I cannot forgive so easily them that I have wronged!...I have heard you speak fair words of Sigurd…the old man whose wife you stole from him.  I have seen and known that you loved Lavrans with all a son's love.  And never have I marked that you bore me grudge for that you lured from me my promised maid—I am not so high-minded as you deem, Erlend---I am not so high-minded as you—I bear a grudge to the man whom I have wronged!"
It's an astounding concept.  It is indicative both of Erlend's character, that he could so easily and sincerely speak well of and love all those whom he had monstrously wronged and ruined through his own thoughtless actions, and of Simon's character, that, rather than attribute Erlend's attitude to a lack of contrition, he chooses to call it a virtue.  And who is to judge whether it is stupidity or humility?  Only God knows whether people like Erlend ever comprehend the pain they've caused.  But suppose they do…Would it not be a virtue to put aside the weight of guilt and forgive those whom we have horribly wronged? 
We could do far worse than to add "and those against whom we trespass" when we whisper the Our Father… 

Which in turn brought to mind THIS repost:

How does a people, a society, come to where we are?   How does one analyze the long defeat within a region or a nation?

For the American South, of course, the deep rent in the fabric of history appears stark and raw and without subtlety with Lincoln’s invasion and the four years of vain resistance which followed.  Some people even go so far as to pinpoint it with mile-long line of Southern soldiers charging the stone wall at Gettysburg.  But the real change in the people could only be accomplished with their utter defeat and complete disenfranchisement-—by the sustained effort to remove from them every particle of hope and self-determination—-in a word, to break them.

Although the success of the alleged victors in stripping the South of its humanity and character is debatable, it can certainly not be denied that character and structure of the United States itself was drastically changed by the War.  The Government crafted by the original founders gasped its last when Lincoln took office and for all intents and purposes, staged a coup which nullified the concept of government with the consent of the governed.  Much of the national character was forever corrupted by the war of attrition inflicted upon the women and children of the South.  A man cannot spend the day plundering, burning, and leaving his victims starving without giving up something of what makes him a man.  When the children he wrongs appeal to him in his own language and vernacular, when they, in fact, look and sound almost exactly like his own children, he will have made a hideous choice from which his own soul will probably never recover, and which will affect his sons because of his need to justify his actions.  So dies Chivalry.  So changes a people.

The terrible period of so-called Reconstruction further alienated Northern and Southern people from each other and from their own long-held codes of behavior.  But the Catholic heart which continued to propel Catholic blood through the veins of so many even after the tragedy of the so-called Reformation held its line of charity and forgiveness tenaciously for some time after the war in the breasts of all men of good will, regardless of their denomination.   Not until its recent sacrifice to political expediency did the bonds weaken and shatter, and now hatred for the South is carefully nurtured in the hearts of all Northerners, who cannot forgive themselves for the vicious manner in which they prosecuted Lincoln's War.  In abandoning decency and honor in favor of self-justification, the North has hastened its own demise, its own deterioration.  And sadly they are dragging us, the defeated, down with them, even as they propel the "liberated" ahead of them.   

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