30 April 2005 - Saturday

Forbearance and fellowship

My weekend reading project is The Jeweler's Shop: A Meditation on the Sacrament of Matrimony, Passing on Occasion into a Drama, by the late John Paul II. It was first published in 1960, while he was still a bishop in Poland.

The first act features alternating soliloquies by Teresa and Andrew, who describe their recent courtship. Here is an excerpt from Andrew's first speech, in which he explains how he grew slowly to love Teresa, almost in spite of his expectations:

I thought much at the time about the "alter ago."
Teresa was a whole world, just as distant
as any other man, as any other woman.
-- and yet there was something that allowed one to think of throwing a bridge.

I let that thought run on, and even develop within me.
It was not an assent independent of an act of will.
I simply resisted sensation and the appeal of the senses,
for I knew that otherwise I would never really leave my "ego"
and reach the other person -- but that meant an effort.
For my senses fed at every step
on the charms of the women I met.
When once or twice I tried following them,
I met solitary islands.
This made me think that beauty accessible to the senses
can be a difficult gift or a dangerous one;
I met people led by it to hurt others
-- and so, gradually, I learned to value beauty
accessible to the mind, that is to say, truth.
I decided then to seek a woman who would be indeed
my real "alter ego" so that the bridge between us
would not be a shaky footbridge among water lilies and reeds.

| Posted by Wilson at 19:47 Central | TrackBack
| Report submitted to the Humanities Desk