Marvin Repinski: Others have recovered ­— now it’s our turn

Published 6:30 am Saturday, January 16, 2021

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For me, it is just good fortune that I went back to a book I had placed among my stacks a few years ago: The book “Labyrinths” by Jorge Luis Borges, who was born in 1899 in Buenos Aires, educated in European schools, and taught at several institutions of learning.  Much of his writings share the imprints of the life of Argentinian culture and politics.  Enough said about that; more can be received through his books printed by Modern Library.

About my “good fortune,” and it may be embraced in these troubled days by many who read the following:  In a chapter titled “The Theologians,” he reminds us, I believe, that yesterday is not unlike today.

“After having razed the garden and profaned the chalices and altars, the Huns entered the monastery library on horseback and trampled the incomprehensible books and vituperated and burned them, perhaps fearful that the letters concealed blasphemies against their god, which was an iron scimitar.  Palimpsests and codices were consumed, but in the heat of the fire, amid the ashes, there remained almost intact, the twelfth book of the Civitas Dei, which relates how in Athens, Plato taught that, at the centuries’ end, all things will recover their previous state and doctrine anew.”

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You no doubt have read the written reflections, watched TV reports, and looked at the photographs of Washington, D.C. from Jan. 6.  These images and impressions will remain like a hammer in the brain, mark or divide life and the lives of people on all continents.  We will live with questions and horror for many years to come.

The Borges quotation refers to Huns. What is the proper term for those who will nearly raze our nation’s Capitol?  With the sentence “blasphemies against their god,” I want to be careful on how I make an application.  But, like many of us, we are students of the Bible. Other persons of spiritual persuasion have their chalices and altars. Question:  Stomping on, destroying the equipment of the present journalists and reporters, is that to prevent “fake news?” To smear feces on the sacred place of meeting is next to barbaric.

The offense we share when that we regard as is sacred is profaned, ruined, wrecked, stamped on, cursed in name and action, the words are inadequate to converse on the invasion of our nation’s Capitol.  That is, let us agree, sacred ground!

Return again to the Borges quotation “all things will recover, will teach this same doctrine anew.”

These are words I receive as a promise. I think I had in early life, a teaching about the Constitution of the United States.  We choose our “doctrine.”  Let us shape the years ahead, with some able leaders in our country, to live anew!

A verse from the Bible, Psalm 34:6, may be welcomed today:  “Look to Him that you may be radiant with joy and your faces may not blush with shame.”  A possibility?

“Though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though they roar, they cannot pass over the sand’s boundary at the shore. It’s a barrier against stubborn and rebellious hearts.”  (Jeremiah 29:23)  Time to believe in a reborn national life!