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Redditor Considering the Catholic Priesthood talks about love and compassion in Fate/Stay Night

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Redditor Considering the Catholic Priesthood talks about love and compassion in Fate/Stay Night Empty Redditor Considering the Catholic Priesthood talks about love and compassion in Fate/Stay Night

Post by Zhu Yang on 2015-11-17, 19:15

Here's the link. His text is copied below:



So I just recently finished Fate/hollow ataraxia. I'll be jumping in to full spoilers, so unless you've reached the ending, don't read further!

First off, allow me to freely admit that I was very touched by the ending, which I didn't expect. I thought it'd be like much of the rest of the novel; excepting the Illya scene, it was mostly SoL and fun. But before I go into that, I'm going to have a little Fate/stay night review as well.

Also, for maximum effect as you read this review, listen to this very fitting BGM; I'm very glad it became the new title screen for F/HA after the game ended. Very sweet.

Anyway...

The first time I played through all of the Fate/stay night routes, I liked it, but I had fallen under the kind of detachment that sometimes happens when a story gets super long and repetitive. So I didn't fully appreciate or understand it.

Later, after I watched Fate/Zero and the UBW animation (speaking of which, Last Stardust was fantastic), it was similar to a re-read, especially concerning Shirou.

I had seen Shirou as...annoying. I guess my impression of him through the first Fate route stuck with me and colored my vision with slight annoyance. I had the sense I was missing something...

Possibly because the VN's scene with Archer in UBW seemed to last forever and repeated the same thing again and again. He was a fake. His justice was fake. Blah blah blah stab shank pain etc. I was thinking, "Uh, I think you misunderstand what true justice is. Not sure what's going wrong here." Bunch of other minor points got swirled around and never really congested into a single coherent thought.

But suddenly, as I'm watching that fight between Shirou and Archer in UBW, it all came together with a single portion of his speech:
But I sensed a beauty in it. I understand that putting myself before others is hypocritical. But even so... Even so, I admired it, thinking, “If I could live like that, how great would that be?” Even if my life is a sham, the wish for others to be happy must be beautiful. [...] Even if I'm a fraud, my dream isn't wrong!

Wait. What?

Even if my life is a sham, the wish for others to be happy must be beautiful.

Hold on a second. That sounds familiar. Very, very familiar.

(Light personal details ahead, mainly about how deeply and intensely I identify with this. Nothing personally identifying, and nothing you wouldn’t know from stalking my posts, but just a warning for those of y’all who don’t care for this kind of thing. If I speak too much about it, let me know and I'll edit it down.)

You see, I've been considering the Catholic priesthood for a long time. The biggest question I'm asked is, of course, "Why do you want to be a priest?! Giving up marriage and sex for life: man, you even a human?" (That or their questions go a more disturbing route.)

Well, excluding the 4% of criminal priests, the rest of us chose the lifestyle for much the same reason Shirou did. We saw the Crucifixion and read the stories of some amazing saints, and our hearts were struck. We had seen Love in its purest, most beautiful form; such beauty saves lives. We wanted to become like Him. We wanted to love like He did. Even if we have to give everything up – every pleasure of the world and even family and marriage – if we can love like that, it would be enough. More than enough.

We wanted to bring happiness to every soul, and that particular way would be through the priesthood. (Technically, every human being should live a life of love, seeking happiness for everyone, but that's another story.)

But we're sinners. The biggest problem for priests is, perhaps ironically, the biggest problem that priests help lay people with: we struggle with our own sin. Confessions by St. Augustine shows this well. We look back and wonder, “What have I been doing? I fail to love. I fail to reach this ideal of a life of love. I’m not loving enough. Kind enough. I don’t give enough of myself. I perform the Sacraments and then go home and chill. I am not a saint.”

Well, I’m not a priest. And I may never be one; not sure yet. Just an average salaryman atm. But there’s a calling common to every person; the only difference between a priest and a lay person is the way they seek to live this life of love.

Yet even as a layman, I fail to achieve it.

But I still strive, every day, to reach for that. I want to reach for it, with all my being; I want to dedicate my life to it. Because that life of love which I saw was more beautiful than anything I’ve ever known. Because living a life of love is more fulfilling than any other life I can think of. Because of what that life of love is.

I’m sure you can tell by now: that statement by Shirou made me realize he’s just like me (at least, how I understood UBW). Maybe some details differ: insecurities born of being the sole survivor; problems with self-worth; but we share that essential heart: a longing for that ideal life.

He sleeps in the shed on accident; he spends an hour plus daily to work on his projection; he has discipline in his life; a lot of this mirrors ways we seek to grow in love and various virtues. It really struck me how much Shirou (ironically) portrayed the ideal I strive for.

It was really inspiring. Even now, I just play “Brave Shine” or “Last Stardust” (gotta love Aimer) to re-inspire myself to actually get up for that morning run or whatever selfish obstacle I’m struggling to overcome.

So UBW Shirou proved to be my favorite visual novel character, actually, because of this. Even if I only glimpsed it through repeated re-readings of the text and an animation. Maybe I’m a bad reader, or perhaps we can attribute that to the VN writing…

In any case, I loved it. UBW Shirou had become like a brother, I felt like.

Now, on to Fate/hollow ataraxia.

I entered F/HA with this love for Shirou and feeling of brotherhood with him…and encounter Avenger. At first, I was like, “Dude, Shirou, what’s wrong, bro? Why you being all mean to that Caren gal? Sad face. And why you ain’t practicing your projection?”

I enjoyed the SoL, even if I skipped the raunchy scenes. (For obvious reasons.) And as the story progressed, I got a sense, more and more, that there was a link I was missing.

Then came the grand reveal: Avenger had “possessed” Shirou during these four days in order to experience his daily life those four days.

Then I got another bombshell from all of this. I can’t remember the exact wording, but he said something to the effect of:

We had different ideals. We were incompatable. But I wanted to experience his ideal. I wanted to see the beauty that he saw.

Except he said it much more eloquently, haha. Man. Struck in the heart again. The beauty of that life of love shone through Shirou and struck the heart of another person.

So F/HA moved me at the end. The ideal life of love wins again!

Anyone else have a similar experience? It’d be sad if my interpretation of UBW was entirely wrong and nothing like Nasu’s intention, haha.
Zhu Yang
Zhu Yang
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