Lent, grace and the shadow

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It’s that time of year again. It hardly seems five minutes since we were packing away our Christmas crib, does  it?  Now here we are. Lent is about to begin.
Lent: a time of reflection, fasting and self-denial. “What are you giving up?” is the inevitable question, though more recently we’ve been urged to take up a practice; to focus on giving : thoughtful actions, kind deeds, moving out of our confort zones, to break out of our confines of self-interest. There’s more to Lent than giving up chocolate, (my DH begs to  disagree!) Though  now I’ve been diagnosed with a digestive disorder for which it may be one (of many) triggers, I’ll admit to having sent up a few    begging prayers heavenwards!
 I tend not to do Lenten  devotional books, (with a few honourable exceptions). Does anybody else find inspiration in fiction? It doesn’t have  to be  ‘Christian’ fiction.  A classic for me is Joanne Harris’s Chocolat, both the novel and the film adaptation. What  a brilliant depiction of the shadow:  the damage that repressed anger, pain, grief and guilt wreaks on our psyches, individual and collective;  issues of inclusion and exclusion: the  townspeoples’  initial reactions to the arrival of Vianne and her daughter, Anouk, the changes her kindness and acceptance made to their lives.  Christians talk of the unconditional grace of God.
Have a look at this scenewhere the mayor (film version) breaks into Vianne’s Chocolaterie, followed by an Easter sermon.
See what you think.
I’m not sure what the theme of my homily today ought to be. Do I want to speak of the miracle of Our Lord’s divine transformation? Not really, no. I don’t want to talk about His divinity. I’d rather talk about His humanity. I mean, you know, how He lived His life, here on Earth. His kindness, His tolerance… Listen, here’s what I think. I think that we can’t go around… measuring our goodness by what we don’t do. By what we deny ourselves, what we resist, and who we exclude. I think… we’ve got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create… and who we include.
 – Pere Henri in the film version of Joanne Harris’s  Chocolat

5 thoughts on “Lent, grace and the shadow”

    • I remember the Laura books well! There was that something special that kids could relate to, wasn’t there? I guess that’s the secret of all good stories.

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    • It certainly does, Susan! I love both the film and the book, although the latter has differences in casting that develops the narrative in a more complex way. The chief being Francis Raynaud as the Priest, not the Count. That said- I thought that Alfred Moilina’s performance was brilliant and that scene in the window so moving…in a weird kind of way!

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