The Marseille Trilogy: Wounded Love

I’ve been wanting to watch these old movies for a while now, and with being quarantined, I finally got my chance. The movies are Marius, Fanny, and César. If you’ve seen the movie Fanny with Leslie Caron from 1960, you know the story.

If not, the gist is that a young man named Marius, who works at a bar with his father César, loves a young woman, Fanny. He also yearns for the sea and to get away on a ship. An older man has asked the woman to marry him, but the Fanny loves Marius.

The girl becomes pregnant, but not before Marius has gone off to sea. So she marries the older man who will claim the child as his own and save her from the shame of being an unwed mother (this is the early 30s, mind you).

There’s one part that particularly struck me. When she’s giving birth to her baby, the older man, Panisse, asks her to hold on to his hand. In her pain, she digs in with her fingernails and leaves scars.

That got me thinking. Doesn’t love always come with scars? I don’t mean that love is destructive and bad. I mean that love is always costly. Any kind of love, not just romantic. C. S. Lewis once said that to love anyone is to have your heart broken, and that the only remedy for that is to keep your heart locked away and never allow yourself to feel or to care.

The proof of Panisse’s deep love for Fanny is the scars that he bears on his hands. Doesn’t that sound familiar? There’s another who bears the scars of His sacrificial love. That’s how the apostle Thomas is able to recognize the risen Jesus. That’s how we will know Him when we see Him.

Henri Nouwen talks about those believers who serve in love as wounded healers. We have all made poor choices and suffered the consequences of our own stupid actions, but we all bear the results of living in a fallen world. We have scars and wounds that we carry as a testimony to what we’ve endured, and those scars and wounds can also be the best part of our witness to the saving grace of God who heals and redeems. We are the wounded healers.

Love always seeks the best of the beloved, no matter the cost. God in His infinite love didn’t spare anything for us, and He’s called us to love each other the way He loved us. He’s called us to love the lost in a way that shows His great mercy and grace, not ashamed of scars but mindful of Him who was obedient to the point of death for the love of us.

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