Yes, Jamie. Like you told Bree, freedom is hard won. I wonder what kind of freedom Father Alexandre could of had in Episode 12 of Season 4? I wonder what advice Jamie might have given Father Alexandre instead of the advice Father Alexandre got from Roger. What do you think?
Father Alexandre felt like he had no choice but to go to the pyre because he couldn’t in good conscience baptize his own child. I have SO many thoughts about his theology. But for the sake of this discussion, I will share that I believe Father Alexandre did have a choice, he just didn’t know it. If only he had met Jamie Fraser in that idiot hut.
The name of this episode was “Providence”. The Lord will provide. What did “the Lord” provide Father Alexandre? From the Father’s perspective, God only provided abandonment and a tortuous death. What a tragedy!
What I believe the Father didn’t understand is that we cannot be independent from others. Our decisions and choices affect others and are based in love or something much more sinister (Stephen Bonnet and Black Jack, anyone?). Father Alexandre believed God would punish him so severely it would separate him from the woman he loved and the child he made with her unto death.
The key to a life of love is to live interdependently with one another. We cannot grasp for love or ignore it. Being connected to one another requires vulnerability and commitment. It also requires understanding we cannot change them against their will. The chances of pain are very high even when we love one another well.
But it’s not that kind of pain Father Alexandre thinks he is being punished with. And it’s not the pain Roger is living with, though Roger at least has a chance still. Roger doesn’t understand interdependence yet, either He has grasped for, chased, and lashed out in anger at Bree. He has not shown her his vulnerability yet and taken the chance she will love him anyway. He can’t yet receive the gift of Bree. He is still dependent on her being something else to him than what she’s been able to give him so far. This is what unhealthy dependence vs. interdependence in relationships can look like.
The priest believed he had to live out his faith all by himself and without God’s help. He prayed for freedom from his desire for the woman he loved. His prayer wasn’t answered the way he thought it had to be. If only he could have believed in a God of relationship and connection!
The God of relationship and connection is the god Jamie believes in. I’m reminded of the season finale of Season 2 when Jamie and Claire say goodbye at the stones. From Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon:
“I will find you," he whispered in my ear. "I promise. If I must endure two hundred years of purgatory, two hundred years without you - then that is my punishment, which I have earned for my crimes. For I have lied, and killed, and stolen; betrayed and broken trust. But there is the one thing that shall lie in the balance. When I shall stand before God, I shall have one thing to say, to weigh against the rest."
His voice dropped, nearly to a whisper, and his arms tightened around me.
Lord, ye gave me a rare woman, and God! I loved her well.”
I think Jamie, even as a Papist who understands the vow of celibacy for priests, would have told the priest that he cannot live out his faith on his own. God helps those that help themselves? No. Instead God does send us one another for love, help, and connection.
We always have a choice, even you, Father Alexandre. What could your choice of love been?
Discovering a good story helps us live a good story. Outlander has changed you and me. Can the magic of Outlander be more than a fantasy? Yes. When we pay attention to the emotions Outlander stirs in us, we can see reflections of our own stories. Our stories are still being written. What can your story be?
If you’re not sure what gift the story of Outlander wants to give you, take the quiz! Then let me know in the comments if you resonate with your result.
Dinna Fash, Sassenach. “The Lord” will provide. It just might not look like you might think.