Wednesday 23 November 2011

Sunt lacrimae rerum...

I've always had a slight tendency to well up with tears on utterly inappropriate occasions. I have particular difficulty with samurai films and the film 'Zulu'. Indeed, when the latter was reshown recently on TV, I rediscovered with my youngest child a problem I'd had with the older ones: trying to explain the complexities of British Imperial policy in Africa whilst trying to disguise the fact that I was choking with emotion at the events at Rorke's Drift.

These are usually mere sniffles. But on two occasions within the last few years, I actually found myself sobbing quite violently and without much warning. Linen on the Hedgerow reminded me of one: the photographs of the martyrdom of Blessed Miguel Pro (whose feast is today). The collection that did it can be found here. In particular, the following photo:

I suppose some of the reasons are obvious: the poignancy of the exact moment of death; the helplessness of a young man in the prime of his life etc. Nothing unusual in many ways, but it still profoundly affects me.

The other occasion? Reading this for the first time:

Manning married Mrs. Sargent's granddaughter, Caroline, 7 November, 1833,in a ceremony performed by the bride's brother-in-law, Samuel Wilberforce,later Bishop of Oxford and Winchester. Manning's marriage did not last long: his young and beautiful wife came of a consumptive family, and died childless (24 July, 1837).

When Manning died so many years later 
[in 1892], for decades a celibate Roman Catholic clergyman, a locket containing his wife's picture was found on a chain around his neck.

Atheists reading this will doubtless find it confirmed that I'm nuts. I will go on thinking that anyone who doesn't find such things profoundly moving is simply not feeling the right emotions, at the right time and in the right way  as required by Aristotle and modern virtue ethics.

1 comment:

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