December 4, 2009

IF THE LOVE OF FATHER AND SON ENDURES, WHAT WAS LOST?

Cormac McCarthy’s "The Road" (Joan Frawley Desmond, 12/04/09, Catholic Thing)

Starving, filthy and desperate, the father and son take part in “some ancient anointing. So be it. Evoke the forms. Where you’ve nothing else construct ceremonies out of the air and breathe upon them.” He strokes the boy’s head and thinks: “Golden chalice, good to house a god.” The son’s purity of soul provides a balm for the father’s broken heart. The boy leads him to the wellspring of love and bids him to drink. Contemplating his son, he thinks, “if he is not the word of God, God never spoke.”

What does it mean to believe in love? And if you do believe in love, are you halfway to believing in God, the source of all love? [...]

Most book and film reviewers sift through The Road to try to identify the source of the environmental disaster that shrouds the land in ash. It is far more difficult to speak of the ravages of sin that remain hidden, but no less destructive. Why does this beautiful and terrible story inspire? It testifies to a love stronger than death. Evil will not have the final word.

“You have my whole heart,” the father tells his son at the end. Still, the boy remains fearful of what might come at the next bend in the road, what darkness of purpose might lurk in the heart of a stranger – or even within his own heart.

“But who will find him if he’s lost? Who will find the little boy?” he asks his father, in a reference to a grim vision that has plagued his whole childhood.

“Goodness will find the little boy. It always has. It will again.”

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 4, 2009 7:37 AM
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