|(Apparently there is a business somewhere ....)|
First passage: When the Green Dolphin is sinking, and Cptn. O'Hara sees a man (William) swimming toward them to save them, O'Hara compares him to Christ: "He was the Savior, saving sometimes by life and sometimes by death, but never failing to redeem."
This is an idea that my brain has toyed with, but has never wanted to express openly: that death is a way of saving someone, that when we die and go to heaven with Jesus, we are then fully saved, in our deaths -- or rather through our deaths, because we have to pass through death, to reach salvation. I've avoided this concept at times, because I really wanted only the first type of salvation; I wanted "saving by life," as O'Hara says. We all want deliverance in this life, on this soil, in real time. But in this scene from the book, O'Hara has resigned himself joyfully to going down with his beloved ship. He wants his buddy Nat to be saved in this life, but he knows that he himself will be saved also, by dying. They're both saved either way.
I'm not expressing this well, but in the past I've viewed the deaths of Christians as a failure. God didn't heal them, and so they died. A sad, second-best finish. This passage celebrates that the Christian's death is also salvation, and is a perfectly good option.
Second passage: When Marguerite is talking with the Rev. Mother, they discuss what reality is. The nun says that all people are searching for a better reality, but they search for it in three different ways, depending on their temperaments. "We think of it as a place, a person, a state, according to our temperaments." Marguerite describes her sister, Marianne, as a "restless" person; the nun states that Marianne has "that conception of reality as a place that makes some souls pilgrims and wanderers." The instant I read that, I felt it was true. Some people are wanderers, and are always looking for a place. And I think it's unfair to say they're unsettled, or unsatisfied. They are searching for a beautiful reality, and they conceive of it in a place.
Others look for their reality in a person. "If the craving of the soul for its perfect mate remains unsatisfied, they find salvation in the service of others, in saving others." This also rings true. Many humans cling to each other, looking for fulfillment, joy, or they love to serve others. This is fairly common.
The third assessment is a bit deeper. The Rev. Mother says, "Ascetics like ourselves conceive of reality as a state. We long for inward perfection." Yes - that's true also! Isn't it odd to find a person who doesn't seem attached to places or to people, but to something inside himself? He is also searching, in a different way.
I don't think Goudge means here that people are seeking reality in other things, when they ought to be seeking it in God. Her assumption is that the Rev. Mother and Marguerite (at least) are devout believers. But even Christians are still searchers in this life, searchers for the good and beautiful that God leaves for us to find. We find it in different ways.
I found this orderly evaluation of humans into three categories very refreshing and true. I'd never thought of it before in any organized way, and I find myself wanting to ruminate and test it. Which of the three am I?
Third passage: Well, the third one is just a short finger-shaking. At one point, Goudge refers to "the waters of Jordan [River] ... poised above the ranks of the Egyptians before they fell and swept them to annihilation."
Um, that would be the waters of the Red Sea. They killed the Egyptians. The Israelites also walked through the dry bed of the Jordan River, but there were no Egyptians in hot pursuit by that time. It had been forty years.
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