Love What Lasts is Back in Stock!

Iliad: Book 22: Hektor Forsaken

From the Apprenticeship Forum (thus the formatting is altered):

One of the sweetest truths of the One Holy and Everlasting Trinity is that the three Divine Persons share one perfect will. Our Lord never seeks His own will, but does only what He sees the Father do. In fact, in one enormously profound passage He argues that the way you know that He is just is that He never seeks to do His own will, but only the will of the One who sent Him.

Thus He can promise, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” and we can have complete confidence in that promise.
Not so the Greek gods. Among them there are as many wills as gods, and while Zeus reigns supreme it is certainly not a counsel of love we see when the gods of the Iliad convene. Zeus is amused to see the gods fight among themselves in XXI. And even Zeus’s will is limited or controlled by “destiny” or “fate”. I believe the word is moira and it comes from the term for a lot or portion.
The Holy Trinity rises above being as we know it to a transcendant Being that is ineffable and unapproachable and utterly self-determining. He is never in any way subject to anything other than His Own Will, and that Will is eternal Love, unchanging and flowing between the Three Persons who share one essence and nature. We, therefore, need never fear alteration in the Godhead, in whom there is no shadow of turning, but only the eternal outflowing of His good gifts – the greatest of which is His presence.
In book 22, Apollo deceives Achilleus, drawing him away from the city so that the Trojans can escape into the city and the walls not be destroyed before their time (the gods work the will of destiny, not their own will). Hektor, however, does not enter the city, even when his mother and his father appeal to him with all the desperation of a mother and father who have already lost most of their children and foresee the utter ruin of themselves and their community in the death of their son.
Bravely, Hektor stands and waits for Achilleus to return, speaking to his own great-hearted spirit. Only, when Achilleus returns, “the shivers” take hold of Hektor and he runs from Achilleus, three times around the city. “It was a great man who fled, but far greater he who pursued him.”
Zeus asks the gods what should be done about Hektor and Athene reacts, “What is this you said? Do you wish to bring back a man who is mortal, one long since doomed by his destiny [moira: fate, portion], from ill-sounding death and release him? Do it, then; but not all the rest of us gods shall approve you.”
Zeus grants Athene to do as she wills, which is to see that Hektor is killed. Apollo, however, is laboring for Hektor, driving strength into him.
And then fate speaks. “When for the fourth time they had come around to the well springs [where the Trojan women had done their laundry] then the father balanced his golden scales, and in them he set two fateful portions [moire?] of death, which lays men prostrate, one for Achilleus and one for Hektor, breaker of horses, and balanced it by the middle; and Hektor’s death day was heavier and dragged downward toward death,
and Phoibos Apollo forsook him.”
Does it overstate the case to say that the Greek gods are coping mechanisms for an arbitrary, disordered, chaotic universe? It is a warrior cosmos, even the gods fighting it out, Zeus having attained the peak of glory by castrating his own father and conquering the Titans, who had reigned before the Olympians. Some believed that Zeus would be overthrown by his son Apollos at some near point.
Plato found these Homeric gods incompatible with the very idea of justice and, just as significantly, with the attainment of an orderly soul. He didn’t want his students reading Homer for fear that it would make cowards of them. Thus he and Aristotle, among others, came to believe there had to be one God that was beyond all the gods of the mythology. He was, as St. Paul said in Acts, “groping” toward God.
What a sweet gift we have inherited from those who taught us of the One Who Is and of the Logos, of the perfect harmony of wills among the persons of the Holy Trinity, always together loving justice, doing mercy, and walking humbly with His people.
Thus we can engage the enemy of our souls with perfect confidence that the lover of our souls will not only drive His strength into us, but when the “uttermost time” arrives He will not forsake us. He will never leave us. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.
Hektor is slain, and immediately his father and his mother mourn for him. Andromache, his wife, had not seen him fail. She was preparing a bath for him. When she heard the commotion she ran out to see, and when she heard the news she passed out. If you want to know what happened to people when they lost a war in the Homeric age, read her words closely and see if your heart stays in one piece.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles