I finally watched the truly outstanding film Of Gods and Men last night. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. I was blown away.
The film is about a group of French Trapist monks living in Algeria in 1996 when the Civil War breaks out. They refuse to leave, even though their lives are threatened by Islamic fundamentalists. Seven of the monks are taken captive and killed. But the film ends with this beautiful, haunting statement from the head father, Christian.
I thought it especially beautiful and appropriate this week:
Should it ever befall me, and it could happen today, to be a victim of the terrorism swallowing up all foreigners here, I would like my community, my church, my family, to remember that my life was given to God and to this country.
The the Unique Master of all life was no stranger to this brutal departure. And that my death is the same as so many other violent ones, consigned to the apathy of oblivion.
I’ve lived enough to know that I am complicit in the evil that, alas, prevails over the world and the evil that will smite me blindly. I could never desire such a death. I could never feel gladdened that these people I love be accused randomly of my murder.
I know the contempt felt for the people here, indiscriminately. And I know how Islam is distorted by a certain Islamism. This country, and Islam, for me are something different. They’re a body and a soul.
My death, of course, will quickly vindicate those who called me naive, or idealistic, but they must know that I will be freed of a burning curiosity and, God willing, will immerse my gaze in the Father’s and contemplate with him his children of Islam as he sees them.
This thank-you which encompasses my entire life includes you, of course, friends of yesterday and today, and you too, friend of the last minute, who knew not what you were doing.
Yes, to you as well I address this thank-you and this farewell which you envisaged. May we meet again, happy thieves in Paradise, if it pleases God, the Father of us both. Amen.
That last line ruins me. May we meet again, happy thieves in Paradise. Wow.