Monday, February 2, 2015

Mr. Darcy and God's Merciful Love

A few weeks ago, on the last Saturday of break, I decided to reward myself for (kind of) being productive on a couple of school assignments. How did I do this? By watching the five hour Pride and Prejudice while working on my latch hook rug. Yes, it was awesome. Extremely awesome. I love Pride and Prejudice, but I have not seen the five hour production much. A couple times over the past several years, but that's it. And I've absolutely loved it, but it's hard to find a five hour time slot to watch Jane Austen very often, especially when one is a full time student. Mainly, I've watched the Keira Knightley version, which is wonderful. Different from the five hour version, but excellent in its own ways. 

So, as I worked on my rug and sat amid many dangos, I watched the epic tale of Lizzy Bennet, her family, and her acquaintances. And, of course, that includes Mr. Darcy.  The viewer is pulled into the story as Mr. Darcy enters as a stuffy, rather awkward party guest and continues to transform into the literary hero that countless women and girls love. Usually, I get very caught up in the precious romance between Darcy and Lizzy, and watching P&P this time was no different. However, the biggest thing that jumped out at me was Darcy's actions regarding Lydia and Wickham's scandal. So let's take a look at some sections of the novel. 

Lizzy discovers that Darcy has paid off Wickham's debts and has made their marriage possible--as well as saving the Bennet family from complete financial ruin:

“It was painful, exceedingly painful, to know that they were under obligations to a person who could never receive a return. They owed the restoration of Lydia, her character, every thing to him. Oh! How heartily did she grieve over every ungracious sensation she had ever encouraged, every saucy speech she had ever directed towards him. For herself she was humbled; but she was proud of him. Proud that in a cause of compassion and honour, he had been able to get the better of himself.” (Austen 243)

When Darcy and Bingley arrive at Longbourn after Lydia's marriage, Mrs. Bennet is very welcoming to Bingley, but only coldly polite to Darcy: 

“He [Bingley] was received by Mrs. Bennet with a degree of civility, which made her two daughters ashamed, especially when contrasted with the cold and ceremonious politeness of her curtsey [sic] and address to his friend. Elizabeth particularly, who knew that her mother owed to the latter the preservation of her favourite daughter from irremediable infamy, was hurt and distressed to a most painful degree by distinction so ill applied.” (Austen 250)

Finally, Lizzy has a chance to speak with Mr. Darcy about his role in the events of Lydia and Wickham: 

“Mr. Darcy, I am a very selfish creature; and, for the sake of giving relief to my own feelings, care not how much I may be wounding your’s. I can no longer help thanking you for your unexampled kindness to my poor sister. Ever since I have known it, I have been most anxious to acknowledge to you how gratefully I feel it…Let me thank you again and again, in the name of all my family, for that generous compassion which induced you to take so much trouble and bear so many mortifications, for the sake of discovering them.”
“If you will thank me,” he replied, “let it be for yourself alone. That the wish of giving happiness to you, might add force to the other inducements which led me on, I shall not attempt to deny. But your family owe me nothing. Much as I respect them, I believe, I thought only of you.” (Austen 273)

Watching these scenes play out on screen, I was blown away with Darcy's actions. He saved the Bennets, Lydia, and Wickham from total ruin. Not only that, but when Mrs. Bennet treated him so cruelly afterwards (since she believed him to be a horrid man), Darcy kept his cool. He could have thrown it in Mrs. Bennet's face that he was the one that saved them all. But he kept his mouth shut, accepting her rude, barren politeness. And then, when Lizzy speaks to him about the matter, he stresses that it was her he had thought of when doing these kind actions. Darcy kept his love for Lizzy at the forefront of his thoughts and actions as he extended mercy to the Bennets and Wickham. This totally made me think of God's merciful love. We sin and  bring so much sorrow to God, all the time. We don't appreciate all of the love and gifts that He showers down upon us. And yet, He keeps His love for us--for He is Love--at the forefront, and keeps pouring down the goodness anyways. With all of these thoughts in mind, I happened across a couple of pretty sweet passages in St. Faustina's Diary: 

       "In the greatest torments of soul I am always alone, but no – not alone, for I am with You, Jesus; but here I am speaking about [other] people.  None of them under-stands my heart, but this does not surprise me anymore, whereas I used to be surprised when my intentions were condemned and wrongly interpreted; no, this does not surprise me now at all.  People do not know how to perceive the soul.  They see the body, and they judge according to the body.  But as distant as heaven is from earth, so distant are God’s thoughts from our thoughts.  I myself have experienced that quite often it happens that [……]

      The Lord said to me, It should be of no concern to you how anyone else acts; you are to be My living reflection, through love and mercy. I answered, “Lord, but they often take advantage of my goodness.” That makes no difference, My daughter.That is no concern of yours.  As for you, be always merciful toward other people, and especially toward sinners."
  (Notebook 5, #1445-1446)

I hope that y'all have a Monday full of joy, blessings, love, and mercy! 

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