Of Gods And Men
A few nights ago, there was some discussion on one of the LGF threads about those who are willing to make huge sacrifices, including the possibility of losing their lives, in service of the greater good.
Most folks applauded such efforts; but there were a few who most heartily did not. I have my own opinion of those folks that I won’t go into here. But what follows is just such a story of men making sacrifices to serve those in need.
French filmmaker Xavier Beauvais has given us “Of Gods and Men”, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
For every pedophile priest, there are good men like the Trappist monks whose story is the subject of this movie. This is quoted from the article I linked:
The movie tells the story of Brother Christian and his half-dozen fellow monks, mostly elderly as so many monastic congregations are, living the simplest of lives in impoverished and violent Algeria in 1996. Their Trappist vows mandated a life providing basic medical needs to the Muslim peasants in the village Tibhirine; of producing and marketing simple produce like honey for their own sustenance; of prayer and song in their little chapel; of contemplation and of silence.
But that world is shattered by Islamic terrorism. In the one and only grizzly scene, a few Croatians are repairing a local road when a convoy of jeeps, with engines roaring and tires squealing, emerge. The terrorists dismount, grab the foreigners, innocent and unarmed, and viciously slit their throats.
The news reaches the monks. They know that as “infidels” they are now marked men. They know the government, corrupt and murderous in its own right, is equally threatening. If they stay it is only a matter of time. They will be killed. The villagers plead for them to leave.
On Christmas Eve the monastery is assaulted by these killers. The defenseless monks are ordered to surrender their medical supplies. But Brother Christian refuses to do so, citing the need to provide it for the children and the elderly. It is a war of nerves and the terrorist leader blinks. He turns to leave but Brother Christian stops him and, quoting from the Koran, admonishes him not to disturb the sanctity of God’s house on this holy night. The message resonates. Chagrined, the Muslim terrorist apologizes.
The monks know they will return and this time there will be finality. They meet to discuss their future. Initially the brothers are divided; after much prayer, contemplation and consultation the community embraces the will of God: it was their calling to minister to these villagers and with these villagers they will remain. The terrorists return. At gunpoint the monks are kidnapped. In the final heart-breaking scene these holy men are silently led away, to their execution.