Thursday, September 10, 2009

Discussion Questions for "In the Arms of Immortals"

1. The plague was merciless. Suffering was extreme. Everyone was in anguish. Why do you think a merciful God would allow this suffering? How can we call God merciful when thousands, or millions, are brutalized?

2. How can we learn to live without answers? Does this make us fools or faithful? Explain your answer.

3. What are we to do with the anguish we feel when we (or those we love) are victimized without reason and there is no justice to be had on earth?

4. Only Lazarro, as priest, was allowed to hear confession and give last rites (Last Unction). As the plague progressed, the pope allowed all women to assume this role too. Priests could not attend to all the dying, so women were allowed to comfort others in the name of Christ. This was the first time women were allowed to speak in God’s name to a dying world. Why was this moment important in women’s history? Do you see any ripple effects of this decision down through the ages and in society today? If so, name a few.

5. What does it mean to be healed? Is it only physical, or is there more to it? Do you believe there can be total healing on earth? Why or why not?

6. In his final scene, Del Grasso tells Gio to never ask the question “Why?” Instead, ask the question “How?” In your life, have you ever been tangled up in the question of why? If so, tell the story. In what way(s) have you let go of the whys and started exploring the hows? “How, then, shall you live?” (Bonus points for anyone who can find the Scripture verse that inspired this line!)

7. The Black Death was called “the death of the angels.” It was the time when the Age of Fear began. Which rules your life: faith or fear? Why? Why is it easier to respond to a crisis out
of fear, rather than out of faith?

8. If you could change the ending to In the Arms of Immortals, which two people would be alive and married to each other at the end of the story? Why would you choose this ending?

9. If you could go back in time and witness any event in history, what would it be and why?

10. If you could talk to your guardian angel, what questions would you want to ask?

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