Thursday, 29 June 2017

Can One Wish Happy Birthday to People who Died?

Antoine Saint-Exupéry was born on this holy feast of Sts Peter and Paul, back in 1900.

RIP, if you still need it!

And I read a very lauding criticism of him on Pravoslavie:

Antoine de Saint-Exupery as a Christian
Archpriest Andrei Ovchinnikov
Translated by Dmitry Lapa 26 / 01 / 2017

Now, Antoine was in fact a Christian - like Tolkien was. But deducing this is as easy from Lord of the Rings in one case as from Little Prince in the other.

I may be oversensitive, coming from a Sweden where Astrid Lindgren finishes an otherwise brilliant story meditation over the last times with a double suicide, a death jump, not as the former death jump in order to save the brother's life, but on the contrary to save the other brother from a life in pain, and having in my teens had to overcome temptation to suicide at least once or twice*, but the death of the Little Prince seems suicidal (he allows a snake to bite him so he dies), while Tolkien very clearly admonishes against anything suicidal. Yet, Antoine gets praise as a Christian from this work, and Tolkien gets undeserved warnings from Yuri Maximov on same site.** Against which I defended him, back here:

Answering Yuri Maximov on Tolkien, on the Lord of the Rings

I think there is a common theme on what might be wrong with Russian Orthodox spirituality.

The next problem is that in general life of all Tolkien's creatures (elves, dwarves, humans, hobbits etc.) looks rather senseless. They struggle heroicly, it is described very vividly and breathtakingly but all of them dream of peaceful life, they struggle for it and die. In their struggle there is sense. But the peaceful life as their purpose looks extremely wan and senseless as an old faded picture stuck onto the wall. / Yuri

Christian life always presupposes our development. We should seek for something lighter and better all the time. / Andrei

Yes, God appreciates our struggle. Yes, the Christian life is warfare.

But no, taking a breath, or seeking a quiet life, these are not sins, at least not major ones. These are not senseless pursuits.

Ecclesiasticus 24 : [11] And by my power I have trodden under my feet the hearts of all the high and low: and in all these I sought rest, and I shall abide in the inheritance of the Lord.

If Wisdom herself has said "and in all these I sought rest", why would it be wrong for a man to seek rest, in ways that are not sinful?***

Russians seem not to be getting that!

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Sts Peter and Paul

* I was greatly aided by C. S. Lewis' description of Hell.

** "The Lord of the Rings" and Christianity
Yuri Maximov 27 / 01 / 2003

*** A monk who has vowed to take a fight to be better every single day as a Christian is a somewhat other thing.

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