Friday, November 05, 2004

Exorcism

Last night I watched again, for the first time since the late-1950s, Robert Bresson's classic film, The Diary of a Country Priest, based on Georges Bernanos' novel of the same name.

The story is that of a young priest who arrives at his first parish in rural France filled with naive idealism, spiritual longing,and a good bit of repressed sexuality. He lives in a world haunted by God and demons.

Spurned by his parishioners, unable to pray, his stomach ravaged by cancer, the young priest drifts inexorably towards death. His last words are: "Does it matter? Grace is everywhere..."

Both film and book made a great impression on me the first time around. I was then a young graduate student in physics, deeply religious, struggling to find my way between faith-based reality and evidence-based reality.

After some years of searching (and no small amount of stomach pain), I chose evidence over faith. Does it matter? Oh yes. I have lived the latter part of my life without God or demons, but I am still willing to say with the country priest, "Grace is everywhere."