Friday, January 30, 2009

On this day in history

The trick to life is knowing when to take the long view, and when to concentrate on the short term. Driving in heavy traffic is a short term project - what is miles ahead or behind is of less importance than the car ten feet in front of you.

Over the last week, I found myself locking ever tighter into the short term, watching this day's action in the legislature, or the hourly update on various news sources, my scope of attention growing ever narrower.

It is, I think, a symptom of the instant communication which is available to us, and is unavoidable. That is not to say it should not be recognized and resisted.

That is why I took great comfort in this news I came across after an internet wander I would detail, but that I can't remember.

The Pope is preparing to offer the Traditonal Anglican Communion, a group of half a million dissident Anglicans, its own personal prelature by Rome, according to reports this morning.

"History may be in the making", reports The Record. "It appears Rome is on the brink of welcoming close to half a million members of the Traditional Anglican Communion into membership of the Roman Catholic Church. Such a move would be the most historic development in Anglican-Catholic relations in the last 500 years.

I am not very religious, and the comfort I derive from this news does not have its source in my feelings about the church. Indeed, many people would read this article and dismiss it as trivial compared to the monumental events of the day.

They would be wrong.

Like the white noise remnants of the formation of the universe we can hear in this story, if we care to listen in the right way, the echoes of passions, and events unleashed half a millennia ago and a half a world away. Events which have not been played out completely even yet.

Trivial? Not by any measure. To study history, is to follow the tracks of the human spirit back across the sands of time and to take comfort in the continuity of human affairs.

One wonders how the acts of our preening politicians, who flatter themselves that they are making history, will resonate as loudly as the hammer taps of a skeptical German monk.

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