I saw the movie “Of Gods and Men” this weekend — the true story of seven monks in a monastery in Algeria who, in 1996, amidst growing political turmoil in that country, were kidnapped in the middle of the night, held captive, and eventually killed…just because they were Christian. It would take too long to say all the things that moved me about their story. But two stood out. One was the scene where a young woman was in turmoil over an arranged marriage and asked one of the older monks if he’d ever been in love. “Many times,” he said, “but then I found a love greater than all of them, and I left everything for that love.” His genuine love of God was palpable – so real – based in everyday experience.
But almost more inspiring was a scene where a younger monk was praying in his cell. Each monk had agreed to pray and decide for themselves if they would stay or leave the country — knowing that staying put them in death’s path. Br. Christophe was in turmoil — terrified of staying, and yet afraid to leave his call. He literally cried out to God in the darkness of his cell, “Do not abandon me! Give me faith.” It took my breath away — this raw, human, throwing of himself at God’s feet.
And I came away with the knowledge that I want that — I want to love God every day — to cry out to him in the most real way — in joy and turmoil.