I asked Fr. Robert Barron to write a book on Eucharist, and when he sent me the manuscript I saw that the first two chapters were about a Danish movie called Babette’s Feast (1987). I got on the phone. “Bob, are you nuts? Nobody wants to buy a book called Eucharist and then read about a foreign movie that knocked your socks off but will never appear at a theater near them!”
“It’s on cassette now,” he told me. “Rent it. Please.”
Those chapters are still there. My socks are somewhere in the corner of Cinema Leach.
Babette’s Feast is about a mysterious woman who comes to an isolated village and becomes a housekeeper for two never-married sisters. Seventeen years later she wins the lottery. Before she leaves the village, she prepares a lavish dinner for the two sisters and all the people in their small church, who so often could not get along with each other. As you watch, you feel the tomatoes being sliced, smell the roast beef in the oven, and taste the vintage wine. You are a guest at the table. At the end of the meal another guest speaks:
In our human foolishness and short-sightedness we imagine that grace is finite…. But the moment comes when our eyes are opened, and we come to realize that grace is infinite. Grace, my friends, demands nothing of us but that we shall await it with confidence and acknowledge it in gratitude… Grace takes us all to its bosom and declares amnesty.
That little miracle is near the end of the movie. Bigger miracles (that will blow your socks off) come one after another.
Bob Barron knew. Babette’s Feast is a beautiful movie, one about eucharist.
The book that inspired this blog, Why Stay Catholic? is available as an eBook. Find your preferred format and learn more about the book.