Sunday, February 12, 2012

If you choose...

"Besides, everyone has troubles of their own, and lepers are no new thing. People want you to go away and die quickly. Be it slow or quick, above all they want you to go away, and stay away--far, far away so you will not frighten them with how you look and how you smell.

It is terrible, the smell. Imagine living inside the body of a rotting corpse. Think about this. Then add to it the truth that every morning when you wake up, you do not wake up to pains of the flesh but to something worse. You wake up and for the thousandth time realize that the corpse is you. Yes, and then there comes a time when the blackness of it is so deep that you would kill yourself if a knife came to hand. You try to starve yourself, but it is too slow. To kill yourself that way you must persevere in it, with a strong will. And when you are sick and eaten away, you have no will to speak of. You can only shuffle here and there in the hope that someone will throw you a crust from a safe distance. But mostly you lie down in remote places and sleep. You wait to die."


From Michael O' Brien's novel of imaginative speculation, Theophilos - an excerpt in which a man who had leprosy tells the story of his encounters and relationship with Jesus Christ (a character among a range who recount their encounters with Christ as He walked the earth). Something to consider for those whose idea of what leprosy was like comes from Monty Python, or at best, from Ben-Hur.

I mean, what sort of courage was it then, that drove St. Damien of Molokai? Look what great things he accomplished.

Why are we today who don't have to deal with the slow progression of a rotting body, and who do everything in our power to drive away the thought of death, all but fixed up on the pharmacology industry and a mind-numbing entertainment industry just to get along with life?

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