Thursday, 4 December 2014

“I wonder when in the world you’re going to do anything, Rudolf?” said my brother’s wife.*

Advent, for those who know the basics about Catholics, is about waiting. Waiting for the baby Jesus to finally be born, sure, but about waiting in general. That is a big theme of the fourth Joyful Mystery in the Rosary about Joseph and Mary presenting the baby Jesus in the temple. They waited their whole life for that moment, they had to be patient and trust in God, and they were rewarded.

Stories are the same way. The main character and the villain both want something. The main character, the protagonist, is usually distinguished by willing to wait to get what he wants and getting the opportunity given to him or being impatient and setting on his own to find it for himself and ends up stumbling into it. While the hero might foolishly blunder ahead, he usually has virtues on his side to make up for his imperfections. A good hero is one you can root for. The villain is ALWAYS characterized as selfishly claiming what he wants for himself without regard for anything regarding patience, let alone temperance, fortitude, grace, or love. The villain should never be pictured as more noble than the hero, because a villain has no interest as such a thing and is always, in the end, out for himself in one way or another.

Life is about making choices, good ones and bad ones, and stories are a reflection of that daily battle we all face. But sometimes, we have to wait for our questions to be answered and our choices to be rewarded. We aren't always like heroes or villains and making the right or wrong choices so explicitly. Sometimes we refuse to even make choices for fear we might get what we actually want, or maybe we won't get anything. But life is about making choices, and sometimes those choices are not rewarded on page one-- sometimes they only get rewarded on the last line.

Be patient.

Have a happy December and a fruitful Advent.

*The first line of "The Prisoner of Zenda" by Anthony Hope

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