George nooks my world


I have discovered now through direct experience, though I had certainly sensed it through photographs, that it is practically impossible to gaze at Mont Saint-Michel without falling into mystical reverie. I would challenge anyone to come here and walk the causeway leading up to the mount and not find himself beguiled into thinking of things higher and more eternal. The mountain itself, and then the architecture piled so exquisitely on top of it, draw the viewer’s eyes up and up, beyond this world. And when you climb to the top, you look out on the trackless and seemingly endless sea. From Plato, through Dante, to James Joyce, the trope of the open sea has been used to evoke the transcendent goal of the searching heart. The art, the sacraments, the doctrine, and the saints of the church are meant to lure us to the edge of the ordinary and to allow us at least a glimpse of that open sea of God’s eternity. They are, accordingly, the enemies of Charles Taylor’s “buffered self,” the modern person so thoroughly shaped by secularist ideology that she no longer hears the rumors of angels. It has always struck me as curious that a religious person is seen as somehow conventional and non-threatening, a little fussy Ned Flanders. Authentic Christians are in fact edgy folks, more than a bit dangerous. Mont Saint-Michel, standing on the border between heaven and earth, is just the kind of place those dangerous types like to go. 

But it has taken until the unveiling of the film to understand the backstory of John Boyega ’s Finn. Finn, it transpires, is a rechristening of his stormtrooper designation FN-2187. It’s a moment for die-hard Star Wars fans to knowingly nod and smile. 2187, as any hardcore geek can tell you, is a reference to the cell number that holds Princess Leia captive in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope .


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