Volume twelve of Spice and Wolf can only be described as boring. (The Japanese have a proverb that only a fool buys complete collections of books. It just might be true!) The story features a journey undertaken by Lawrence and company with a famous silversmith named Fran Vonely. Fran has a near encyclopedic knowledge of local lore and history. So, our heroes help her for the sake of at last obtaining a map pointing out the location of Yoitsu. Finding Holo’s homeland happens to be the main point of the series, and we’ve already seen novels focused on this idea. Not much sets it apart from other such novels. As someone who craves variety, I cannot stand this overused plot.
One line casually spoken by a villager stood out to me however: “She gave such wonderful sermons that even God would be enchanted by them, they say” (90). This struck me not so much because a woman was preaching as because it implies that God is not impressed with much. One might think that God finds creation dull, since nothing is new under the sun. The truth is quite the reverse.
St. Faustina Kowalska tells us that God is enchanted by our prayers. In truth, this does not matter whether we pray spontaneously or by rote. Though the Our Father is said the same way, there are millions of conditions, hopes, longings, desires, motives, and emotions which can accompany each repetition. The Rosary appears to be formed of a repetition of six Our Fathers, six doxologies, and fifty-three Hail Maries, but God sees each as slightly or profoundly different. This is like how the phrase “I love you” takes on a myriad of nuances between lovers.
But, there is much cause to believe that God is not bored even with sameness. Pride is a vice found more in adults than in children and not at all in God. Does not God tell us to be childlike because He Himself is childlike? God has frequently approached many saints in the guise of a child–most famously in the case of St. Anthony of Padua. In Orthodoxy, the great G. K. Chesterton pointed out that children love seeing the same thing over and over again. We especially see this phenomenon with movies, as children are hardly done with their favorites though they watch it twenty times. Likewise, God, in His childlike love of creation, has no problem repeating the seasons and other things over and over again. From the view of the divine, what necessity is there that apple trees always produce apples? Why not figs occasionally? Why not tigers and unicorns? Why should they flower always with the same color? You can bet that if a merely human mind ran the universe, all of the changes above would occur at least once!
What about a sermon? Many complain that sermons contain the same subjects. But, the only sermon which bores God is one which does not proceed from a good will. But, for all God’s childlike wonder, something does bore God: sin. Sins have all been done before with the same malice or weakness. They choke the life out of life and the creative out of creation. Some hardened sinners claim that goodness is boring, but it is far more common to find a bored globetrotting playboy than a bored Missionary of Charity. Why should that be? The playboy enjoys the choicest food and drink, adventures galore, beautiful women of all shapes and sizes, and entertainment without end. The religious sister has the same companions, the same food, the same Mass, the same prayers, the same poor, and the same routine. But, the sister has God at her rising, throughout the day, and is even visited with holy dreams at night. Where there is God, there is joy. Without God, there is only the sorrow and ennui of sin.
How fortunate is it for us that the repentance of sinners bores God not in the least! Not only does repentance not bore God, but it even causes God along with the angels and saints of heaven to rejoice. God tires not of rejoicing over our repeated repentance even if we should grow tired of our many lapses into sin. To the sinner who needs to convert again, God exclaims “Do it again!” even as He tells the trees to put on new foliage each spring.