Clearly, the young woman who asks Brother Luc about love near the beginning of the film “Of Gods And Men” is pondering how she might know in her life the presence of real love in its romantic form.

Luc understands the direction of the young woman’s question:

Young Algerian Woman – Ever been in love?

Brother Luc – Several times. Yes

But then he moves the conversation to a whole new level as he goes on to say:

And then I encountered another love, even greater. And I answered that love. It’s been a while now. Over 60 years.

The love that is “even greater” than romantic love is not Brother Luc’s love. It is a love he “encountered”, a love that met him unexpectedly and that called him to answer with his whole life.

This love shapes everything about the lives of the monks of Tibhirine. It is a love that consumes them and, in the end, claims their complete loyalty.

Later in the film, struggling with what increasingly appears to be their destiny, Brother Christophe asks Brother Christian,

I don’t get it. Why be martyrs? For God? To be heroes? To prove we’re the best?

Christian replies: No, No, No. We’re martyrs out of love, out of fidelity. If death overtakes us, despite ourselves because up to the end. Up to the end, we’ll try to avoid it. Our mission here is to be brothers to all. Remember that love is eternal hope. Love endures everything.

The monks are not preparing to die for a cause or an ideology; they are not going to die to make a point. They are not actually intending to die at all. They are only preparing to do what they have always done, to follow the way of love wherever it may lead. They do not die “for God”. They die because death is where the path of love led.

To follow Jesus is to follow the way of love. The only perfection in Christian faith is the perfection of love.

Advent invites me to ask, Where is Love leading today? What might it look like at this moment for me to be faithful to love?

I commit myself this Advent to seeking and opening to this “greater love” that Brother Luc saw and that surpasses all emotion and human relationship.