Of Monsters and Men

As a follow up of sorts to yesterday’s post I’ve placed together three seemingly unrelated items that I read or came across today. The first, a quote from St. John Paul II is from a daily devotional book I use with Mass readings each day whether I’m able to attend or not. The second is from an article written by Karen Ullo for Dappled Things. And last is a new video put together for Josh Garrels. I’m including the lyrics below the video.

As JPII points out evil thrives when we choose to look the other way and prefer not to notice its existence. Ms. Ullo then discusses the power that fiction has to shape our souls and to convey the existence of evil and, most importantly when the monsters come, the meaning of Christ’s redemption to the world. She uses Frankenstein (Mary Shelley), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Victor Hugo) and Dracula (Bram Stoker) to illustrate her point. And finally, in the lyrics of Josh’s song we see the struggle that we all go through as fallen humanity. We fall, we fight, we resist. Through God’s grace and the recognition and acknowledgement of the dark and its monsters we can finally find our way back to the light.

I cry at your feet, wounded for me
And all of the monsters and men
But here in your light
We can begin again

*****

There are times when the existence of evil among people is particularly apparent. Then it becomes even clearer that the powers of darkness that reside in and operate through man are larger than him.

It seems that people today almost do not want to see this problem. They do everything to put the existence of those ‘rulers of this world of darkness’, those ‘tactics of the devil’ referred to in the Epistle to the Ephesians, from their minds. Yet there are times in history when this reluctantly accepted truth of revelation and of Christian faith is completely manifest, almost tangible.

St. John Paul II, Address, May 3, 1987
From In Conversation with God, Volume 5 – Ordinary Time: Weeks 24-34, p.239

*****

It really should not come as a surprise that stories about monsters can be rich with Christian meaning. There is only one story that matters in Christianity: Adam’s first sin leads to humanity’s demise, but Jesus comes to save us through His death and resurrection. It is a blood-soaked tale that features more than its fair share of monstrosity. And there is this: as ridiculous and devoid of metaphysical meaning as most modern horror stories may be, horror remains the one genre in our “post-Christian” society where it is not laughable to call upon Christ and the Church in one’s hour of need. When the monsters come, no one flees to the protection of the local non-denominational minister. When the monsters come, our society still knows that only the fullness of Truth entrusted to the Bride of Christ can challenge them. Our job as Catholics is not to convince the world that such hocus-pocus is beneath us. Our job is to convince them that the monsters are real. The monsters live inside each and every one of us: malformed, lonely, hopeless, vengeful monsters with their fangs latched deep into our hearts. Once we recognize them for what they really are, we know, deep in our bones, that it is only Christ crucified who can drive them out.

From The Catholicity of Monsters, by Karen Ullo. Dappled Things.

*****

Born Again

I came into the world, into the wild
No place for a child
Used my voice to howl
With the ghouls of night
In the dying light

Had to learn to get what I need
In the dark, empty
Instincts are guiding me
Like a beast to some blood
And I can’t get enough

I’m losing control; my body, my soul
Are slowly fading away
But I’m ready now
To feel the power of change

I’m my mother’s child
I’m my father’s son
It took me awhile
But my time has come
To be born again

Running scared in between what I hate
And what I need
Savior and enemy are both trying
To take my soul
And I can’t hide no more

Stumble out to the light
Raise my fist up to fight
Then I catch your eye
So full of love
Lord, what have I done?

I cry at your feet, wounded for me
And all of the monsters and men
But here in your light
We can begin again

I’m my mother’s child
I’m my father’s son
It took me a while
But my time has come
To be born again

Visit Josh Garrels website for more information: http://joshgarrels.com

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