Christ in my heart.
I really like Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life and To the Wonder. The last 20 minutes of To the Wonder is a beautiful crescendo of hope and love and God’s beauty. It is a movie about the loss of love. The fickleness of our hearts. The crisis of faith.
If we do not love, do we not see God in all things? If we are blind and only see ourselves, do we only see our self and not God?
There is a character who falls in love with a beautiful French woman. They try to make it work, but fail and she moves back to France. Then he meets someone else and that fails. But the French woman returns and they marry. But the ebb and flow of love, of their feelings and wandering hearts and hardness of heart nearly destroys their relationship.
The second arc is about a priest who has lost his love for God. He cannot see God anywhere. He goes through the motions of his vocation. His heart has grown cold.
The two story lines have a lot to do with each other. What do we truly seek? Love. Love for another, to be loved. Perfect love is found in Love Himself. God is the only fulfillment of our desires. Romantic love is fulfilling, but our hearts grow fickle. Relationships are extremely difficult. They require work each day. Each moment. A marriage can fall apart with the simplest stroke. Our love grows cold for others; for God. Our love is imperfect.
Does this mean we are doomed to destroy everything we try to love? Of course not. But what should we follow, our own understanding of what we think is good and true and right? Or do we follow the author of these things?
The end of the movie begins with a prayer: Christ with me… and continues…
Teach us how to seek You.
Let my life be a reflection of Yours.
Much of the movie is heavy and sad and shows the melancholy of our lives of our trying to love one another. Our failings, doubts, hurting one another.
But the Christian story is always one of hope. The final twenty minutes is that of joy and peace and beauty and divine love. The prayer and the images speak of hope. That Christ is our purpose, forgiving us, leading us when we ask, leading us toward the good and the right.
In the beginning of the movie, the priest cannot see God in anything. He visits the poor and the sick, the dying, and disabled. He feels nothing. At the end of the movie, he visits them again and there are those in prison, the suffering, the downcast, the broken. The priest is there suffering with each person. Showing Christ’s love to them. Seeing God in each of them.
The place I still see Christ is in the people I work with or for or serve (however you want to look at it). Those with developmental disabilities somehow show me the love of Christ. In serving others, we may see the face of Christ in another.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ above, Christ below… Teach us how to seek You and to be a reflection of You.