I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the priest in Chocolat. The movie follows the life of a woman and her daughter who have just moved to a small town in rural France. The woman, Vianne, opens a chocolaterie and proceeds to turn the small town way of life upside down.
In the film, during the young priest’s Easter homily, he mentions the idea that love and life should not be measured by what we don’t do and by who we exclude. I think this hits home for me and probably for a lot of people. Its easy to measure our worth and our self-control by what we can keep ourselves from doing. Its almost easier to work in the negative. If only I can keep myself from eating this or saying that or doing x, y, and z then I’ll have proved, I am strong.
But maybe our strength, our love, and even our self-control flow from what we allow ourselves to do. And from who we include. Maybe life is measured not in what we can keep ourselves from, but from what we open ourselves up to. Maybe we should live lives of addition, not subtraction.
“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.”
Can I live my Lord’s divinity? Not really no. But his humanity? Absolutely.