Posted by: rosa alba | July 15, 2009

Cam’ Ye By Athol: Insurrection or Resurrection?

The Corries describe the song. Cam Ye By Athol as a travelogue of Scotland and certainly it mentions the homelands of the Jacobite lairds and clan leaders – Glengarry, Lochiel, Appin, the Tummel, Rannoch, as the various septs of the Houses of Donald, “leaving their mountain hame, tae follow Prince Charlie,”and as the Corries also point out, it reveals the passion with which the Jaocbites followed Chairlie, with the refrain,

“Follow ye, follow ye, wha wouldna follow ye
Lang hae ye lo’ed us and trusted us fairly
Chairlie, Chairlie, wha wouldna follow ye
King of the hieland hairts, Bonnie Prince Chairlie”.

The bitterness running deep in Scotland following the Glorious Revolution which saw the Young Pretender’s failed attempts to overthrow King William, interwoven with the  religious oppression of the period of the Covenanters, (Penal Times) and the peculiar mélange of perfidy and betrayal – of society’s code – which lead to the Massacre of Glencoe, played no small part in creating a community,  with already closely structured rules of kinship and alliegance, which bereft of a leader and  aglow strong feelings of disenfranchisement – though worse consequences were to come following the ’45 rebellion (indeed, it is still an act of treason to utter the toast. “tae him wha lies o’er the water”), so, a community ripe for a leader who would bring salvation and retribution, for it is thus it was marketed, and the Highlanders did trust Chairlie with a passion, which continued well beyond the bourach of Culloden.

A sad aside is the fate of Flora MacDonald, who after languishing in the Tower for her part in abetting Charlie’s escape to the ship lying of the shores of Scotland which would bear him back to France,  married her cousin and went with him as German George’s representative to the Carolinas where – in the War of Independence – she once more ended up on the losing side. Dick Gaughan writes a moving account of her life in the song Strong Women Rule Us All.

A modern historical view would  sum up the whole Young Pretender “crusade” as somewhat sad, ill-advised, illusionary and inevitably bound to fail from the start – and categorise his followers as deceived, if not desperate, but that is to disregard the issue of trust, in and of its place, both in the historical moments of the Jacobite Uprisings, in which there were more than one political stooge set up for the expediency of the  hegemony: Scotland seems a nation sadly fated to have enthusiastic but somewhat foolhardy and ill-advised monarchs, not least Marie Stuart;  but also to disregard the place of trust in the human psyche.

Today’s (Shorter) Evening Office (Week 3, Tuesday) focuses on the question of trust, not one of the three theological virtues, but one taking from and informing the virtues of both Hope and Faith: the motto of the United States is “in God we trust,” born initially of a nation founded on the precept of freedom of religion – and from taxes – although the irony of the motto’s first appearing on a coin is not lost.

Trust is then a fluid concept born of Self’s belief in “Other” and the belief of “Other” in Self, to use Existentialist terms – each relationship flow informs the other, inasmuch as trust must be on some level a two-way process.  Or need it be so?  Certainly in practical terms to live without trusting in this world, results in bitterness, the extremes of which are not so much the political paranoia of the survivalist, but in the disintegration of persona in not knowing who is who in terms of truth., in this two way process. While there might be some value – in terms of external relationships in that wee statement beloved of  some Cognitive Behavioural Therapists that, “what other people think of me is none of my business”, it does depend on an established,  integrated and relatively cohesive (and possibly, objectively validated) sense of Self; if one’s own sense of Self is constantly at odds – at war even – with whom one is told one is (or one is told one is various contradicting Selves) it leads to fragmentation, and in more extreme circumstances, some degree of disassociation.

There are no winners in terms of adult survivors of childhood abuse by parents – the affective bond with one’s  carer(s) is inevitably damaged to some degree, but research suggests that “the deleterious effects of destructive childhood relationships” can be overcome or repaired by, “taking into the self either admirable qualities of important others or characteristics of relationships with important others” (Jerry M. Lewis,Repairing the Bond in Important Relationships: A Dynamic for Personality Maturation Am J Psychiatry 157:1375-1378, September 2000); this internalisation is part of a process of rupture and repair, both as infant and adult (and an interesting corollary with the Sacrament of Reconciliation in its fullest manifestation).  Both rupture and repair are necessary to this growth, a normal part of childhood development wherein the child learns effective coping mechanisms, and where despair becomes joy.  Hope, and evidenced trust. It is no surprise that Lewis goes on to add, “Internalization of a pattern of unsuccessful repair leads to a limited and often later self-fulfilling relationship style”; this is so often the case with survivors of abuse – where the ability to trust one’s own innate sense of who one is (or might be) becomes eroded, and the “survivor” continually seems to seek validation of a negative sense of Self (and inhibit the reparative process).

The concept of being  “like a child”  in terms of trusting and being appears in the second Psalm (130) of today’s evening prayers:

“Truly, I have set my soul
In silence and peace.
As a child has rest in its’ mother’s arms,
even so my soul.”

And the Antiphon picks up the advice from Matthew 18: 3: “Unless you become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven”; while in the case of the citation from Matthew, the reference is to humility – the juxtaposition of this quotation (as Antiphon) with the first of the evenings Psalm, 124:

“Those who put their trust in the Lord
are like Mount Sion, that cannot be shaken,
that stands for ever,”

ties in the idea of a child’s blind faith, hope and trust in a parent, as the Lost Sheep trusts in the Shepherd, as the Prodigal Son trusts in the all-forgiving and all-embracing love of the Father of whom we are all beloved Children, fashioned in His likeness.  Trust in this innate worth of each human, known to God and loved by Him, runs through Old Testament and New, and informs doctrine, as well as  Encyclicals such as Humanae Vitae.  This immutable identity of ‘intrinsic’ worth, however, depends on Faith (and so is not so much essential in terms of the individual, however much essential objectively and externally: on an individual, subjective level, Self is still, (être) pour soi): a leap of Trust

For if we are to align the theological virtues with the Persons of the Trinty, where the Spirit is Hope, the Father is Love and the Son is Faith.  The ultimate act of Trust – of Faith not the “thy will be done” of words of the Lord’s Prayer but the “thy will be done” of the Garden of Gethsemane:

“He went away a second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.'” (Matthew 26: 42).

A prayer repeated in the final moments of the physical prayer or sacrifice  of Christ’s Crucifixion, the defining act of Faith:

“Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last.” (Luke, 23:46).

That Christ in His physical humanity had to pray strenuously three times – the spiritual parallel of  His bodily falls under the weight of the Cross – gives us, in our own humanity, Faith to Trust in and through our doubts in our identity as Children of God; the confirmation, not just in the Redemption of the Resurrection, but the in persistence shown in the Garden and along the Via Crucis: at times  for us acts of Faith, but perhaps born – albeit through the labour of Despair – from more realism than the passion of the Jacobites. And in finding – and clinging to and trusting in that sense of Self in God (which might,  as in the Gospel Reading of Monday 0f the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time (Year 1), set daughter against mother) then, as with Charity – where one gives “without counting the cost, labours seeking no reward”, one can move towards trusting others freely, without the bindings of expectations.


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