Sunday, 24 April 2011

Holy Saturday

Love hopes all things, love hopes always, love hopes all ways. The French uses ‘hope’ although the subtitle domesticated this to a more conventional ‘Love is eternal’.

Last night we caught up with the film Of Gods and Men when it came to the Film Theatre housed in the Secondary School in the parish, with the story of the murder of French Trappist monks in Algeria in the 1990s. We’d prepared on Palm Sunday by giving those who came to St Michael’s and St George’s a copy of the ‘testament’ left behind by one of monks, Fr Christian de Cherge, and a couple of them joined us as a result.

The pace and atmosphere echoed strongly that of Into Great Silence, the film portrait of the daily life of the monks at the Grande Chartreuse, which we had had to go to Hull to see a while ago. But woven into this was the sense of the growing menace, and the gradually growing consensus among the monks that they cannot choose to flee. And endless small touches which witnessed to their approach and their struggle with its growing implications.

I do not see how I could rejoice if this people I love were to be accused indiscriminately of my murder. It would be to pay too dearly for what will, perhaps, be called ‘the grace of martyrdom’ to owe it to an Algerian whoever he may be, especially if he says he is acting in fidelity to what he believes is Islam. I know the scorn with which Algerians as a whole can be regarded. I know also the caricature of Islam which a certain kind of idealism encourages.

The picture is from the foot of the cross in Bradley churchyard on Good Friday.

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