Hector Us O Lord We Pray

Hector Us O Lord We Pray August 21, 2018

Hector us, O Lord, we pray.

And no, we do not wish God to bully us. He would not, even if we asked, because God is just and applies justice with mercy and love. Somehow the English word “hector” came to mean bully when it began as the proper name of a great Trojan hero. There are many theories but one is a street gang named after the Greek hero who spoilt the name for English speakers. Bullies are always trying to spoil things, but Hector would have stopped their hectoring.

God make us like Hector and we will stop the bullies from hectoring.

He was a Trojan and a gentleman, something I am told is not probable, but also not impossible even in Southern California. Hector, Homer’s hero, is just what we need now in the United States.

Hector is a leader of a broken city where the Establishment is either old or decadent. His father Priam is not a dotard, but unable to control his many children, especially the Man in the Leapord Skin Suit Paris. Hector meets Helen and does not sleep with her when he could: an accomplishment akin to knowing there is porn on the Net and never looking. Hector does his duty and does not whine in the face of Fate.

He knows he will fail, but knows that he can control how his failure will be viewed. For the sake of his wife and son, his real loves, he can become heroic. His wife may become a slave, but her enslavement will be softened when people see her and whisper that she is that she: the woman that Hector thought worthy of love more than Helen. 

Helen was the face that launched a thousand ships and burned the sacred towers of Ilium. Hector’s wife, Andromache, was the woman that launched one man to defy fate and wrench heroism from sure defeat.

Hector refused to lie. He knows his cause is doomed, but he will not lie about it. His son causes him to forget, for just a moment, that all must be destroyed, but this a slip that love, not lies, produces. He wants his son to live to lead a prosperous Troy. He knows and lives knowing that it is too late.

Hector lives with honesty, but not brutal honesty, because he loves Troy (for all her faults), Andromache (with all her virtues), and his son (with all his promise). His future will die, his present will be spoilt, but he can ennoble the past by doing his duty.

Hector is not the greatest warrior on the field, just the greatest of the Trojans. Achilles will kill him, but Ajax, Diomedes (on his day of glory), and perhaps Odysseus could take him down. The Trojans are rich, but not so mighty when they get beyond their great walls. Hector does his best and wins a few he should not win as a result. He fights for honor even if winning is not possible and so he wins. 

Hector is willing to weep for his fate, but not willing to hide from his fate. He boldly goes where every man must go- to death, but manages nobility and so poets like Homer have made his memory deathless.

Hector would never hector the weak like a bully. . . It is not his way. He will, however, hector, or at least nag, the powerful (like Paris) who shirk duty for pleasure. He rejects wealth for honor, victory for integrity, and short term pleasure for immortal glory.

Make us like Hector, O Lord we pray.


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