The film “Of Gods And Men” is a movie about many things. But, perhaps most of all, it tells a story of freedom.

On Christmas Eve Ali Fayattia and his Armed Islamic Group invade the monastery of Our Lady of Atlas, seeking medical care for three of their wounded warriors. Brother Christian pledges that Brother Luc will attend to anyone in need of medical care but only at the monastery.

Brother Christian explains that Luc, who acts as the monastery physician,

can’t leave here. He’s sick. He’s old and asthmatic. Br. Luc sees patients at the clinic. He tends to everyone who needs his help. Their identity is not an issue and never will be. That’s all.

Later in the film, as the danger the monks face increases daily, Brother Christian is a little less confident and warns Brother Luc,

The villagers may talk about these men we help. Be careful.

Brother Luc replies,

Throughout my career I’ve met all sorts of different people. Including Nazis. And even the devil. I’m not scared of terrorists even less of the army. And I’m not scared of death. I’m a free man.

Brother Luc has faced death and discovered there is nothing in this life that can be taken from him that he is not free to give up.

Just before they are kidnapped, the brothers of Tibhirine hear a reading in chapel from the Gospel of Luke in which Jesus is reported to have said,

Whoever tries to save his life shall lose it,
and whoever shall lose it, preserves it.
(Luke 17:33)

Brother Luc understands that true life cannot be attained by clinging. Willing sacrifice is the path that releases love. Although it is not quoted in the film, Luc has taken to heart the words Mary spoke when Gabriel announced her curious destiny and she replied,

Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word. (Luke 1:38)

Like Mary, Luc is willing to walk the path that is laid before him, no matter where it may lead.

When I let go of everything, I am truly free and the way of love lies open before me. I wonder if I desire such freedom and am willing to pay such a price to walk the path of love.


In his short poem “let it go – the” ee cummings shares this vision of freedom to love that grows in the soil of surrender:

let it go – the
e.e. cummings (1894-1962)

let it go – the
smashed word broken
open vow or
the oath cracked length
wise – let it go it
was sworn to

let them go – the
truthful liars and
the false fair friends
and the boths and
neithers – you must let them go they
were born
to go

let all go – the
big small middling
tall bigger really
the biggest and all
things – let all go

so comes love