14th Sun A
Sunday 5th July 2020
Image supplied by Mary Bevis
Looking at art works or movies is a great way to open ourselves to the meaning
of the Gospels. Seeing can bypass our preconceived notions, giving us new vistas
of enlightenment. With painting or sculpture one needs to sit quietly and absorb
the dynamics of the piece. The drama of movies more easily engages us and offers
a way to conversation about the Gospel with other members of your family.
This Sunday's Visual Meditation
- In this painting of Paul in prison (click red text) by Rembrandt we see the transforming power of the love of Jesus on the person of Paul who is in a situation normally judged terrible.
- James Tissot’s painting shows Jesus comforting those who come to him (click red text)
- Consolator (click red text) by Carl Bloch shows Jesus inviting all to him.
- The movie Of Gods and Men recounts the story of the life and death of a group of Cistercian monks in Algeria, culminating in their deaths in 1996. Their lives were difficult, living in a remote area of a backward country but not as difficult as the lives of the local Muslim people who built their village around the monastery because of the love and service offered by the monks. The movie traces the impact that the growing terrorist threat posed to them. They had the option to leave, to go back to the peace and safety of France. Both the terrorists and the army wanted them to do that but the local people wanted them to stay. Well, you know the outcome but the drama explores the personal and communal struggle these men underwent as they accepted the yoke that was the consequence of the vows, the life they had committed themselves to so many years earlier. Once they fully accepted that their Master had passed through a nasty brutal death in order to offer the fullness of life, they accepted the inevitable with peace.
A major theme of the movie was: who had the authority to ask such a sacrifice of the men? Early in the movie, the superior, Fr Christian, presumes that he as superior had that right and this deeply offends some of the community. The drama of the movie is the struggle by each man to determine the call, the yoke, that was being placed upon him. It comes out clearly that each man had to struggle to discern this within himself but in the context of and with the support of each other. As each discerned their response, each man’s spirit lifted and a calm and ease descended upon the community.
- Another movie that explores the theme of commitment in difficult circumstances is Who will love my children. Be warned it is emotionally harrowing while being inspiring.