Xavier Beauvois’ Of Gods and Men made Alexander Schmemann’s For the Life of the World come alive. The entire course of the movie is driven by the Trappist Monk’s liturgical life rhythms, embracing the entirety of the village life and the ensuing political storm. Beauvois’ film aptly demonstrates that monastic life is not some otherworldly ideal, but a window into the very “life of life” (Schmemann).

From Brother Christian:

“Should it ever befall me, and it could happen today, to fall victim to the terrorism which seems to now want to engulf all the foreigners living here, I would like my community, my church and my family to remember that my life was GIVEN to God and to this country.

May they accept that the Unique Master of all life could not be a stranger to this brutal departure. May they be able to associate this death to so many other violent ones, consigned to the apathy of anonymity.

I’ve lived long enough to know that I am complicit in the evil that, alas, seems to prevail over the world and even of the one that would strike me blindly.

I could never desire such a death. In fact, I don’t see how I could ever rejoice in this people I love being indistinctly accused of my murder.

I know the contempt the people of this country may have indiscriminately been surrounded by. And I know which caricatures of Islam a certain Islamism encourages.

This country and Islam, for me, are something else. They are a body and a soul.

My death will of course quickly vindicate those who hastily called me naive or idealistic, but they must know that I will finally be freed of my most burning curiosity and will be able, God willing, to immerse my gaze into the Father’s in order to contemplate with him his children of Islam as he sees them.

In this THANK YOU, where from now on all is said about my life, I include you of course, friends of yesterday and today, and you as well, friend of the last minute, who knew not what you were doing.

Yes, for you as well I want this THANK YOU and this FAREWELL which you envisaged.

And may we meet again, happy thieves in paradise, if it pleases God, the Father of us both.

AMEN! INCH’ALLAH!”

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