Saturday, 22 October 2011

Memory and Identity: History.

The whole created universe is subject to history; everything and everyone is subject to the course of events. Man however, unlike the plants and the animals, can reflect on history and give an account of it.

Communities of people, like individuals, have a historical memory; nations, for instance, seek to record what they remember. These histories are among the essential elements of culture, because they go to the heart of a nation's identity.

History for the Christian is not simply a question of acknowledging and understanding the past, it concerns rather, the whole of man's life: his origin, his historical experiences and his future, including his judgement before God. Such a perspective flows out of God's self-revelation; it is called "escatological". In other words, there is a diffrence between the history of nations and the history of man. A nation's history is confined to a course of events which have marked that nation. Man's history, as well as containing a course of events, also includes his divine origin and his divine vocation. This unique value within man's history is something which leaves its mark, and gives meaning to, the history of a nation.

(The above photo I took in 2007 inside the basement of the Bell Tower of the Tower of London. St Thomas More was confined in this cell before his trial and execution.)

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