Skellig Michael

I have left this post until now, as it contains spoilers, so that most interested will have seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens. A lot of Star Wars spirituality is pretty overt (even down to the liturgical greeting, “The Force be with you”, the Force being that which “surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” Ben to Luke. It even involves faith).

The Jedi Knights clearly have a monastic dimension. And the linking of monasticism (and hence spirituality) with (spiritual) battle has ancient roots (it is no coincidence that St Anthony, one of the founders of monasticism, lives in a fort). We find the connection between monasticism and battle in many films (martial arts, Indiana Jones, Batman,…)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens makes the connections more Christian. The movie concludes with Rey, on the planet Ahch-To, climbing the steps of what is clearly filmed on Skellig Michael, an island west of the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland, which was occupied by Christian monks for centuries. The imagery is unmistakable. There she meets (Prince) Luke Skywalker’s at his Jedi hermitage (my guess: she is his daughter).

For centuries monks, in this fierce, isolated terrain, translated the rigours of Christian monasticism that had originated in the desert into this Irish context, building stone, beehive huts and oratories.

We know that Skellig Michael will feature in the 2017 sequel Episode VIII. We have plenty of material accumulating for reflection on the inner (and outer) battle between good and evil.

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