Seeing is believing
“The sky is pocked with stars. What eyes the Wise Men must have had to see a new one among so many.”
James Goldman, “The Lion in Winter”
Henry II wanders into the room speaking these words after a particularly tense scene in the Oscar winning film starring Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn. They introduce a strange calm after a stormy exchange and remind the audience that we are supposed to be celebrating Christmas in the midst of this political and personal struggle.
There is also the air of longing in Henry’s voice, a deep desire for something better than what he and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, have managed to produce after all their scheming and plotting. During the film and the play, amongst the dark humour, great one liners, and violence, there emerges, every now and again, an echo of the tenderness and the hope that the couple once had when they were young, in love, and set to build an empire. Because these moments are almost lost in the bitterness and intrigue, they stand out all the more.
The hope for something better
Dissatisfaction is not the only reason that people look to improve their lives. It often starts there, but without a proper sense of direction being unhappy with who we are or where we are so often leads to more unhappiness. Addiction, thrill-seeking, even religion can all be false dawns for the person just looking for a way out, rather than a way forward.
Curiosity, now there’s a start. Seeking answers to the deep questions we ask ourselves can be a good place to begin, and, to use an old adage borrowed from a far away TV series long, long ago, “The answer’s out there’. But we wander ‘out there’ because of what’s in here. What’s in here is the goodness, the tenderness, the desire for something more.
Sharing Gospel Values
Many people share a common purpose with the Catholic Church. This is shown, for example, in the number of parents who choose to send their children to a Catholic school. They may not be fully signed up members of the Church, they may not particularly espouse any religion, but they see something they like, values they share, a way of living and learning that is different and, we believe, more than just accumulating facts.
As we focus in these days during Catholic Education Week on promoting Gospel values, we give thanks that so many people are seeking something good, because they know there is something more to life than just ‘getting by’, than just being secular. As Catholics, we share with them a fascination for life and the world, as we too wonder and wander. As people of differing beliefs, they share with us a yearning for something better.
Pause for thought
Reflect on what makes us want to know more. What drives us to discover?