Lesson 11: Kyrie

Boys singingThe opening scene of the black and white film, Lord of the Flies (1963), shows British schoolboys marching in formation on the beach of an island in the South Pacific as they cheerfully sing their upbeat version of “Kyrie, Kyrie, Kyrie eleison.” They are seemingly oblivious to the meaning of the words, “Lord have mercy”, and unaware that the island where their plane just crashed may look like paradise, but in fact is paradise lost because they have been deprived of adult leadership, authority, and the calm and prudent use of reason. Soon these marooned boys will become slaves of their passions; no more marching in formation, no more cheerful singing, no more working together for a common goal. In short order many of them begin to behave like savages. The movie is a metaphor on the effects of original sin.

When we honestly come to grips with the reality of our situation—fallen human nature as a result of original sin—how can we fail to cry out, “Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison”, (Lord, have mercy, Christ, have mercy, Lord, have mercy)?
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