The Devil inside
The Devil inside
Every single one of us
The Devil inside
~ Devil Inside, INXS
Lucifer was said to be the brightest angel in heaven—so powerful that the Old Testament says he dared to challenge God’s authority and was punished by being cast into the black abyss along with a host of his fallen angelic followers.
The New Testament describes Satan as “the ruler of this world,” and Christians have long blamed much of the world’s evil as well as their own personal failings on him. Many medieval monks, for example, brutally whipped themselves in an attempt to identify with Christ’s suffering, purge their bodies of sin and escape the devil’s clutches. The 11th-century zealot Dominicus Loricatus was one of the earliest flagellants, and once repeated the Psalter 20 times in a week, accompanying each psalm with a hundred lashes to his back. He went on to become a Catholic saint.
The Flagellant movement caught on and spread rapidly throughout Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries, especially among Catholics, and particularly at times of hardship like famine or plagues. The faithful made their self-mortification public, organizing processions, singing special hymns, wearing uncomfortable clothing like hair shirts, and practicing various forms of painful self-discipline, including throwing themselves onto rocky ground. Sometimes, onlookers who refused to join in were accused of being in league with the devil and beaten or tortured.
Pope Clement VI officially condemned self-flagellation in 1349. But it still persists today, with some practitioners going so far as to crucify themselves. Even the beloved Pope John Paul II apparently beat himself with a belt and slept on a bare floor to bring himself closer to Christ.
It’s seems like peculiar behavior to me. Much of what’s wrong with the world and ourselves has nothing to do with the devil, and everything to do with our own selfishness, greed and mean-spiritedness.
But in a way, I guess even the best of us often have a devil inside. One we wish we could get rid of so fervently that we’d be willing to severely punish ourselves it if we truly believed it would work.
And so we’ve more or less reached the end of 30 Days of Photographs, our only reward the satisfaction of knowing…well, there is no satisfaction, really. Participating in the meme is less fulfilling and more like having birds viciously peck your eyes out. Because that’s what birds do. They peck your eyes out.
Still, while I’m happy to have free time again — not that time is ever free — it always collects a toll — Ziva and I feel a little sad about the challenge coming to an end. So we were thinking, why not expand it, just a little bit?
We know you’ve all taken tons of photos, desperate to make them work for the themes. And if you’re anything like us, you have about a million of them you never used because you followed the rules and posted only one photo a day, or because they didn’t quite fit. Some of those rejected photos might even be good. We’d like to invite you to take a final look through your photos, and, if you like, post a few of the outtakes tomorrow to give them the attention they deserve.
Meanwhile, Ziva and I are going to go through everybody’s photos soon and pick our favorites from the 30 or so each of you submitted. Please feel free to do the same, if you’d like.
Thanks for playing along, and for clearly agreeing by common, if largely silent, consent that I won this non-competitive foray into photography. I appreciate your support very much. Actually, both your support and your refusal to let Ziva win. Like you, I get tired of Finland’s domination of the world, and believe we need to stand arm-in-arm to resist the Finnish incursion.
Pleave visit my fellow participants in this meme, many of whom aren’t fellows at all: