Should it ever befall me - and it could happen today - to be a victim of the terrorism swallowing up all the foreigners here, I would like my community, my church, my family to remember that my life was given to God and to this country. That the Unique Master of all life was no stranger to this brutal departure. And that my death is the same as so many other violent ones… consigned to the apathy of oblivion. I’ve lived enough to know that I am complicit in the evil that, alas, prevails in the world and the evil that smite me blindly. I could never desire such a death. I could never feel gladdened that these people I love… be accused randomly of my murder. I know the contempt felt for the people here… indiscriminately. And I know how Islam is distorted by a certain Islamism. This country, and Islam, for me… are something different. They’re a body and a soul. My death, of course, will quickly vindicate those who called me naïve or idealistic, but they must know that I will be freed of a burning curiosity and, God-willing, will immerse my gaze in the Father’s and contemplate with Him His children of Islam as He sees them.
This thank you which encompasses my entire life includes you, of course, friends of yesterday and today and you too, friend of the last minute who knew not what you were doing. Yes, to you as well I address this thank you and this farewell which you envisaged. May we meet again happy thieves in Paradise, if it pleases God, the Father of us both. Amen. Inchallah.
~ Dom Christian ~
while Prior, Our Lady of Atlas at Tibhirine, Algeria
We watched the movie Of Gods and Men this past weekend...
It isn't exactly the kind of movie you say you enjoy.
But I found it impossible not to be deeply moved and challened by the story of these gentle, servant-hearted men who loved their community, who refused escape when they could, and who paid the ultimate human price - they gave their lives. Watching this account of how these men arrived at consensus, having so many reasons to live... and thus while not wishing martyrdom they were willing to live that risk because they were confident that God had called them for such a time as this, to borrow another Biblical expression. Even as the situation deteriorated and their worst fears were realized, absolutely, they clung ferociously to confident trust in God's goodness, love and sovereignty over and above all.
The text opening this post was written by the prior in the days before his abduction and what I find so amazing is the grace he is willing to offer the very men who capture him, hold him hostage, and ultimately take his life.
That is what I call choosing gratitude...
this week's gratitude list
(#s 1972 - 1991)
sobering movies that challenge me to contemplate, deeply, on what thankulness, service and sacrifice truly means
a friend who will choose to confront me
having my words being taken at face value
kleenex for when the tears flow
God mandated rest... the kind that happens when your body rebels and refuses to continue on without a break
conversation with one that confirms I'm not imagining things
we've felt God pushing... now beginning to consider how God is pulling
sleepy five year old snuggles
almost 15 year old returned to us... after 4 long days in the interior
a "really cool dermatologist," at least that was how Tori described him, and she was the one who needed to see him
end of the marking period in sight
homemade cheeze its - that actually taste just like the real thing, believe it or not... well, except for the fact that instead of cheddar cheese, gouda spiced with cumin cheese was used instead... and quite delightful
the fact that Andi made the cheeze its... without any help or direction from me
tomato soup to eat with those crunchy cheeze its
watching my friend say goodbye to Mamata... and wondering of the next time they get to hang out together, it will be at the feet of Jesus, speaking a common language but still communicating heart to heart
the privilege and responsability of saying thank you
grace to do a required job I find very distasteful
silly husband who makes crazy plays on words that cause me to roll my eyes every time