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Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Song with a Message about the Emptiness of the Secular Paradise

When I listened to this, I immediately thought of two things:
Socrates' comment that the unexamined life is not worth living 
And the Hound of Heaven where the protagonist searches for life's meaning in everything but God and flees from God's pursuit. There's a verse that specifically relates to his search for meaning in sexual pleasure and human intimacy at "many a hearted casement curtained red." Just like the lady who went to paradise, but never examined her own life, Francis Thompson, whose poem is autobiographical, looked for fulfillment in everything outside, fleeing from the truth he knew, that God was pursuing him. 
The sad thing about the song was reading the comments on YouTube from people who just didn't get it and saw the woman's "whoring" life as "fulfilling." She "followed her dream!" These are the same dolts who think George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life missed out because he never became an architect or got on that cattle boat. All you have to do to recognize the truth of the song is to look at the number of suicides among the "beautiful people" who have it all -- like Richard Cory -- who "was rich - yes, richer than a king - And admirably schooled in every grace....And one calm summer night, Went home and put a bullet through his head."
As St. Augustine says, our hearts are restless until they rest in the Lord. Some people seek satisfaction in worldly fulfillment and, fearing they will never find it, despair. How blessed we are who know God never ceases pursuing us. What a grace to hear those insistent, following feet with their "deliberate beat" us as we run from Him! 
I urge you to read the entire poem which is available here, and don't skip the fascinating introduction. Here's the verse about the protagonist's pursuit of fulfillment in sex and other human relationships.
I pleaded, out law-wise,
By many a hearted casement, curtained red,
Trellised with intertwining charities
(For, though I knew His love Who followèd,
Yet was I sore adread
Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside);
But, if one little casement parted wide,
The gust of His approach would clash it to.
Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.
Across the margent of the world I fled,
And troubled the gold gateways of the stars,
Smiting for shelter on their clangèd bars;
Fretted to dulcet jars
And silvern chatter the pale ports o' the moon.
I said to dawn: Be sudden; to eve: Be soon—
With thy young skyey blossoms heap me over
From this tremendous Lover!
Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see!
I tempted all His servitors, but to find
My own betrayal in their constancy,
In faith to Him their fickleness to me,
Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue;
Clung to the whistling mane of every wind.
But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,
The long savannahs of the blue;
Or whether, Thunder-driven,
They clanged His chariot 'thwart a heaven
Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o' their feet:—
Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.
Still with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
Came on the following Feet,
And a Voice above their beat—
"Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me."
The hound of heaven is pursuing each of us, especially those who run from him. But they need only stop and listen to that voice, like a "bursting sea" that says:
All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might'st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child's mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come."
Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
"Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me."
I pray that no one will drive the greatest Lover in the universe away in pursuit of "free love" that isn't free. He created us to know and love him and no human love, even licit love, can fill us. Each of us is the apple of His eye. Just think that the Creator of the universe wants to embrace you in an intimate relationship as if you were the only creature on the planet. How can anyone say no to His incredible love?

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