Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Fact and fiction

A well-known film actor used to come for daily Mass to the Motherhouse of my congregation. He was so much ‘a part of the furniture’ that his presence was quite unremarkable. Then there was the Sunday evening when one of the films in which he played a major role was screened on television. Of course most of the Community gathered to watch his performance, which was a real tear-jerker. Handkerchiefs discreetly emerged from pockets, noses were blown and tears unashamedly ran down the cheeks of several Sisters when our friend ‘died’. From the back of the room, a single voice raised itself above the sniffles. “I don’t know why you’re all crying,” she remarked. “You’ll see him at Mass tomorrow!”

Through the media and through literature, it is possible to enter the world of fantasy and unreality. Most times, it’s not a bad thing. We all need a bit of escapism into a good story, but what happens when it becomes difficult to separate fact from fiction?

It seems to me that a reason for the level of violent crime that we see at the moment could be, not only because of social instability, but also because there is so much violence portrayed on television and in the cinema. It looks clean (relatively) and easy to pull out a knife or a gun. The difference between reality and unreality only emerges when it is a real person who drops in front of an assailant, shedding real blood. It is a real person who stands before the judicial system and learns that, instead of a long, happy and productive life, there’s a loss of good name, a home and a family, and the gain of a long prison term. It is a real family that sheds tears at the loss of one of its members.

My Poor Clare friend complained this morning that vandals had climbed over the monastery wall and had stabbed her pet fish to death. I can remember seeing beautiful Golden Pheasants minus the tail feathers, plucked out by vandals. Why is there cruelty? Is it because in a world where so many things are disposable, people and Creation as a whole is also seen as disposable?

God doesn’t make disposable people. Creation is not a throwaway. That is fact, not fiction.

God bless,
Sr. Janet