Episode 15 of Space Pirate Captain Harlock features, after Queen Lafresia, the most interesting Mazone we’ve yet met. Aurora been posted inside an ice palace at the North Pole, where she waits for Captain Harlock to investigate the curious pattern produced by an aurora borealis. Her only purpose in life is to kill Captain Harlock, and Aurora has meditated on him and their fateful meeting for years. However, her long contemplation has brought home to her how good Captain Harlock is, and she quite naturally falls in love with him. (What woman can resist the manly bearing of Captain Harlock?) Unfortunately for Aurora, she tries to trap Captain Harlock inside the palace and picks a fight with Miime, an alien woman who owes her life to Captain Harlock. The Mazone’s attack is cast back on herself and brings about her demise.
That the Mazone had fallen in love with Captain Harlock, considering their generally suicidal and malicious nature, came as a complete surprise to me. But, how can one meditate on a good person without loving them more? At the moment, I’m listening to Michael Korda’s recent biography of Robert E. Lee. Certain biographers and pundits have made attempts to demonize the Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia for owning slaves and fighting bitterly for a cause which would have perpetuated the peculiar institution. But, when one examines the man himself, we see a devoted father, a patient husband, an officer who adhered to the highest standards of duty, a man of cheerful good humor, a general capable of meekness despite the attempts of others to strain his temper, a forgiving gentleman, a devout Christian, and an accomplished flirt. To put it briefly, one gets the picture of a man who is not only very difficult to hate but even worthy of emulation.
Similar to the attitude certain people take toward Lee, many people find it unfortunately easy to hate God. They blame God for all the troubles in their lives and neglect to credit God for His blessings. They mock the Bible for its seeming contradictions and remember every harsh deed as they forget moments of mercy. In doing all this, they create a wicked caricature of God and excuse themselves from really looking at God, which is the situation Isaiah 6:10 describes. When it comes to Our Lord Jesus Christ, atheists also refuse to look at Him or declare the Gospels fairy tales. They somehow manage to find harshness in a man without any meanness or otherwise diminish His status to that of a merely good man. In the latter case, they become even more flustered on the occasions when someone brings up the point that Christ must be “mad, bad, or God.”
But, even devout Christians can be severely tempted by the idea that God is cold and judgmental. The world and the devil always portray God as a coldhearted judge, which is the precise opposite of what God is: Love. The great refuge for a Christian amid these temptations to doubt God’s goodness is mental prayer or contemplation. The simplest way to contemplate is to read Scripture, especially the Holy Gospels, and to ruminate on what a certain passage means about God. One cannot merely read. As St. Pio of Pietrelcina said, “In reading, we seek God. In meditation, we find Him.” Every believer seeks the presence of God, which dispels every doubt and dissolves every problem.
Often, the easiest way to engage in mental prayer is through repetitive vocal prayer, such as the Rosary or the Divine Mercy Chaplet. This type of prayer has the benefit of helping the mind concentrate on a particular mystery as the lips and fingers are busy counting off the vocal prayers. But, simply meditating and trying to understand the mystery at hand through begging God for knowledge can be even more fruitful. The main thing is to continue thinking about God and His goodness lest the mundane cares of the world, fleshly pleasures, or hostile voices make us forget that God is a Loving Father and Merciful Savior.
If the Mazone through simple meditation could fall in love with an enemy without the help of grace, how much more can we, assisted by grace, grow in the love and knowledge of God simply by often recalling Him frequently to mind and striving to love Him?