Sunday, November 3, 2013

What has Cinderella to do with Politics

’Tis the season of Municipal elections, Tory conventions and Senate scandals. The history of politics is a sordid tale: of the power hungry manipulating privilege for personal benefit; of dictators forcing rule over exploited people; of tyrants extending influence by war and conquest

Yet there may be more of a common thread to both politics and our favourite love stories like Cinderella than it appears. “Once upon a time . . . happily ever after,” lurks in those tales and books like Utopia, reflecting a perfection of love and life that our hearts yearn for and our best experiences imply.

Political theorist John von Heyking’s book title, Augustine and Politics as Longing in the World, evokes a sense that, despite its excesses, even politics arises from the notion that there is an ideal to strive for beyond the ravages of earthly life—a thirsty longing that wrenches our hearts but is never fully satisfied.

I’m sure most politicians start off with a desire to improve community life, but undermine their good intentions by the subterfuge, manipulation and compromise that political ambition seems to require. So as men envision the ideal society and strive for it, maidens also dream of perfect love.

But if we could read the rest of the story of Cinderella and her prince, we might find a degeneration of their love into self-serving manipulation. But neither evidences of fallen partners or politicians should blind us to the desire God has placed in our hearts for the perfection only found in Him.

Pascal wrote: “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” If God can complete the yearning of the human soul, then He is also the source of a satisfying and enduring marriage.

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