To prepare for our study of the Eucharist in Wisconsin next week, the postulants were to read Fr. Edward Foley's textbook, From Age to Age. We have done that. Another thing we were to do is watch the film Babette's Feast. Now we have done that, too.
Would that I had discovered this film earlier in my life. Ah, well; now I am certainly of age and wisdom to appreciate it. What I lacked of experiences of faith in film in my younger days I can make up for now with the ability to savor each new encounter of the divine through the arts with grace-enhanced powers of perception.
Loss and gain have much to do with the message of this meditation on life, mortality, and hope. As one of the principal characters notes near the climax of the plot, in this life all things are possible because in God's abundance, we receive everything we have chosen nobly to pursue; and yet we shall also receive everything we have renounced as a return for our desire to attain the infinite. And as the protagonist Babette herself observes in the denouement, an artist is never poor when she is freed to give her very best.
Let me not spoil the plot for those who have not seen the film or read the Isak Dinesen story on which it is based. Suffice it to say that the meal from which the movie takes its name is rich in fare both gustatorial and spiritual. My own prayers and contemplations at the celebration of the Eucharist will be seasoned for some time to come by the benedictions of this picture.
For my friends who have seen Babette's Feast, what say you? How did it speak or sing to you?