In the letter he writes as the film “Of Gods And Men” nears its heart-breaking conclusion, Brother Luc describes with clear-eyed honesty, the reality of the monks’ situation:

Here it is mayhem and violence. We are in a high-risk situation
Heavy devastating downpours
have put no damper on the spread of violence.
Two opponents, one clutching onto power,
the other out to seize it.
They’ll fight to the bitter end.
I don’t know when or how it will end.

Violence, uncertainty and chaos are the world the monks inhabit. But, Brother Luc continues, despite the unsettling realities around them,

we persist in our faith and our confidence in God.

Then Brother Luc makes the startling statement that,

It is through poverty, failure and death
that we advance towards him.

This is the faith that was born in Bethlehem. Brother Luc has discovered that we advance towards God, not in spite of our frailties, nor apart from our weaknesses. Our failures are not the obstacle to an awareness of the divine presence at the heart of all life. In fact, Brother Luc attests it is through these very realities we so often shun and seek to avoid, that we grow into an awareness of that light which illumines all darkness.

And so, Brother Luc says, despite the threat, despite the dark and in the midst of uncertainty and doubt,

In the meantime, I do my duty.
Caring for the poor and the sick,
awaiting the day I close my eyes.

We are powerless to control our present circumstances. The future is uncertain and vaguely threatening. So, instead of wasting our lives resisting the reality of what is, we get on with the business of life, of love, compassion and kindness.

We are not put here to understand the horror or make sense of the confusion and turmoil. Love is our only “duty”. The Incarnation of Christ in human form reveals that, wherever we find ourselves, whatever circumstances may confront us, the challenge is always to open to love. Love is our true identity. To follow as deeply as we can wherever that voice of love may lead is the meaning and purpose of our lives.

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