Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Entire Body

When the Hermana Sebastiana prayed God to discharge on her the punishment due all the sins committed in her country, she expressed the social reason for the beaterios, which was to atone for the evil done in the world. Each beaterio was the ten just men in Sodom for whose sake the Lord would not destroy the city. What's being cherished here is human community: the belief that Christians form such a solidarity that what some lack others can make up for, and that the entire body draws health from the virtue of each member, which is the doctrine of the Communion of Saints. The beaterios lived out that doctrine and the beati fostered the sense of community which their later secular counterparts, the patriots, would develop into a sense of nation. Even in aberrant form -- for example, the 19th-century manangs' absurd ways of using indulgences for the dead -- the basic idea remains beautiful: that human beings are so linked to one another we can, through the good we do, nourish each other even beyond the grave.

Nick Joaquin, "The Beatas of 17th-Century Manila," Culture and History, Anvil (Mandaluyong City, Philippines: 2004) pp. 190-191.

And how could he ever have thought himself alone, wondered Currito. Why had he ever supposed the world against him! It was he, rather, who had set himself against the world, against the human community of which he was part but had always rejoiced to play the outlaw and outside which he now desired to place himself eternally, by dying unrepentant, by dying in despair -- the last gesture of utter egoism. And the world laboured to save him now as it had laboured to save him all his life. Monks were rising in the cold night to worship -- because he had worshipped so little. They respected silence -- because he had babbled so much. They enslaved their flesh -- because he had been enslaved by his. Nuns went hungry (to atone for his greed) and were chaste (to atone for his lust) and humiliated themselves (to atone for his pride). For such is human solidarity that where any of us lack others may supply and the virtue of a single member nourishes the entire body.

Nick Joaquin, "The Legend of the Dying Wanton," May Day's Eve and Other Stories, Anvil (Mandaluyong City, Philippines: 2016) pp. 58-59..

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please understand that this weblog runs on a third-party comment system, not on Blogger's comment system. If you have come by way of a mobile device and can see this message, you may have landed on the Blogger comment page, or the third party commenting system has not yet completely loaded; your comments will only be shown on this page and not on the page most people will see, and it is much more likely that your comment will be missed.