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Jennifer Jones made her first appearance in the movies in 1943 as the poor peasant girl Bernadette Sorbouris who said she saw "a lovely lady" (later said to be the Virgin Mary). Though the common people who were anxious to believe a miracle soon believed the girl, all the powerful officials including the priest who was the Dean of Lourdes said her claim was false. They said it was an attempt to get attention or a scheme to get presents from the people or it might even be madness.
At first the Dean (played well by Charles Bickford) was an outspoken critic of Bernadette’s claim but then her obvious sincerity, honesty, humility and courage won him round. He came to believe that she was telling the truth. When the public prosecutor lined up against the girl and threatened to put her in an insane asylum the Dean said he would oppose any action aimed at taking her away. Asked what he would do when the police arrived to take her he said: "I would say to them, ‘load well your guns for your path lies over my dead body.’ "
If Hollywood can imagine such scenes can we not so live as to make them reality? If Hollywood can admire and publish such incidents can we not do the same? To see a man so change (even in fiction) stirs the heart and makes us want to be that kind of person. In a world full of disappointments and broken promises, where people walk away from those under fire in case they themselves might suffer in the battle, how profoundly uplifting it is to see someone draw a line in the dirt and defy all comers to cross it.
Christ opposed Satan who would spill the souls of men and women in lonely ditches and vile ghettos. "Load your weapons well for your path lies over my dead body."
Christ opposed religious leaders and government officials when they came after the accused and vulnerable. "Load your weapons well for your path lies over my dead body" He said the same to his friends when they joined the ranks of the smug and dismissive and somehow that strikes me as nobler still. To oppose your enemies is easier than to oppose your friends on whom you have come to depend and whose good opinion of you has become precious. Whoever it is that comes for the defenceless there should be a word in all our mouths. "Load your weapons well for your path lies over my dead body or reputation or protests."