This submit is predicated on Week Three of An Ignatian Prayer Journey.
There’s a scene in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi that neatly sums up a key theme of the complete Star Wars franchise.
We’re on the planet Dagobah, and Yoda has simply turn out to be one with the Drive. Luke Skywalker is understandably dismayed and uncertain how he’ll proceed on the Jedi path. Enter Obi-Wan Kenobi, or moderately, the Drive ghost of him.
“Yoda will at all times be with you,” he says, rising from the swamp.
Luke activates the outdated Jedi, offended at his once-mentor. Obi-Wan had failed to say the familial relationship Luke shares along with his nemesis: The Jedi Knight-turned-Sith Lord, Anakin Skywalker, now Darth Vader, is Luke’s father.
Obi-Wan shrugs off Luke’s anger. It’s clear Kenobi gave up on his outdated pal years in the past, unable to avoid wasting him from the Darkish Aspect.
“There may be nonetheless good in him,” Luke insists.
“He’s extra machine now than man,” Kenobi counters. “Twisted and evil.”
“I can’t kill my very own father.”
And there it’s, that thematic beat so integral to Star Wars: a cussed clinging to hoped-for redemption. Nobody is simply too far gone.
In fact, Luke’s phrases are those that symbolize this hope. Nevertheless it’s in Kenobi’s retort that we see the religious stakes: Extra machine than human. Twisted and evil.
Within the First Week of the Non secular Workouts, St. Ignatius invitations us to look plainly at sin and its results in our life and our world. This isn’t meant as a guilt journey however moderately to awaken in us an understanding of the evil from which God yearns to avoid wasting us. If we don’t take an sincere, exhausting take a look at sin and our culpability in it, we will by no means obtain the religious freedom that God needs for us.
And that’s why I believe Kenobi’s line is so useful. We don’t want to know the technical workings of Darth Vader’s go well with to understand Kenobi’s that means: The person who as soon as was Anakin Skywalker is now so caught up within the equipment of the Darkish Aspect that he’s extra a software of evil than a human being absolutely alive and free to train his conscience.
Will we acknowledge the equipment that retains us caught in sin? The equipment that holds up constructions of injustice and violence and oppression? Will we see clearly these habits we perpetuate, seemingly with out pondering? And can we see the impacts that these sinful tendencies have, not solely on ourselves however on our neighborhood and our world?
Kenobi isn’t lamenting Vader’s prosthetics or his reliance on expertise to assist him breathe. He’s lamenting that his outdated pal has turn out to be so caught up within the enterprise of evil that he can not see a method out. He can not think about one other path for himself.
However Luke disagrees.
Luke believes that there’s not solely good left in his father however a method during which that good leads him to a brand new life. Nevertheless it all is dependent upon Vader recognizing the evil methods and impulses during which he’s entangled.
That ought to be our prayer, too, significantly within the early days of the Non secular Workouts. God needs that we see the stakes clearly—after which act for the great.
Obi-Wan Kenobi might have thought Darth Vader was too far gone, however the conclusion of Return of the Jedi would show him improper.
How do we wish our tales to conclude?
Picture (cropped) by Star Wars/Ron Riccio below CC BY 2.0, through Wikimedia Commons.