10 March 2009

The Unbishop of Linz

His views about Hurricane Wozname being a punishment upon New Orlinz for its brothels and its sodomy niggle away at a distant corner of my mind while I say some of the EF propers for Lent. They do seem to suggest that the calamities of our lives are related to our sins. Take, for example, the Collect for the Friday after Ash Wednesday or the Introit for Ember Friday (selected at random).

Of course, such formulae do not suggest a precise correlation between the iniquity of the individual and the degree of suffering that a natural disaster inflicts upon him. Nor do they address the question of all the innocent folks who might suffer while a somewhat Old Testament Deity is busy clobbering the unrighteous.

In a general way, one might relate some natural disasters to human sin; for example, if a property racketeer driven by greed builds on a floodplain, the miseries caused by the inevitable eventual inundation are related to his sin. (Hardships following the global economic collapse also spring to mind.) But it might very well not be he who has to endure them.

Two ideas occur to me: (1) We could put behind us the Individualism encouraged by much 'Enlightenment' thinking and accept that sin embedded in corporate cultures and structures affects all those who are part of that corporate life. No man is an island. We have to accept our interconnectedness, for good and for ill. I take it that this is part of the sense of the concept of Original Sin.
(2) Without judging others, or speculating on how the 'misfortunes' of others relate to their sins, am I meant to relate my 'misfortunes' to my sins?

Quite honestly, I don't know.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

With sick and famish'd eyes,
With doubling knees and weary bones,
To thee my cries,
To thee my groans,
To thee my sighs, my tears ascend:
No end?

My throat, my soul is hoarse,
My heart is wither'd like a ground
Which thou dost curse;
My thoughts turn round
And make me giddy; Lord, I fall,
Yet call.

Bowels of pity, hear!
Lord of my soul, love of my mind,
Bow down thine ear!
Let not thy wind
Scatter my words, and in the same,
Thy name!

Look on my sorrows round!
Mark well my furnace! O what flames,
What heats abound!
What griefs, what shames!
Consider, Lord; Lord, bow thine ear
And hear!

Lord Jesu, thou did'st bow
Thy dying head upon the tree;
O be not now
More dead to me!
Lord, hear! shall he that made the ear
Not hear?

Behold! thy dust doth stir,
It moves, it creeps to thee;
Do not defer
To succour me,
Thy pile of dust wherein each crumb
Says 'Come'?

My love, my sweetness, hear!
by these thy feet, at which my heart
Lies all the year,
Pluck out thy dart,
and heal my troubled breast, which cries,
Which dies.

-G. Herbert