The Prada Saga continues: by night…

Poor Nicodemus.  Perhaps he was the one who arrived at the Rabbi’s meeting late?  Did he lose out on the pulling of straws?  Maybe he wanted to speak to Jesus privately for himself?  Whatever the reason, he seeks out Jesus under cover of darkness and has a truly strange conversation.  Of course when listening to God and to Jesus it is rare that there is ever a straight or an easy answer.  The answers often involve some form of sacrifice or questioning of our actions, our own prejudices and desires more closely.  Why is it that we act the way we do.  We are a strange species as humans.  The ability to make rational or moral decisions is not without its disadvantages

For the devil of course wearing Prada is beginning to turn out very well indeed.  Andrea is still not able to fit in the office.  She is running herself ragged attempting to keep up with the world she is not used to and requests she doesn’t really understand.  So it was that like Nicodemus seeking out Jesus, Andrea seeks out a little council with Nigel the art director.  Unwilling to be dragged down into a world she is unaware of, a bit like Job, she begins a lengthy complaint.  Nigel, not totally unsympathetic, tells her to wake up and see the world as it really is.

Does forty days of fasting help us to see the world more clearly?  To help us to over come desires and to see beyond what is in front of our eyes?  Did such a period of time in the wilderness have that effect on Jesus?  To let go any delusions of being great or first and then really see what is real and true.  Let go of the ego and to focus on the other.  Andrea lets go of her inhibitions about fashion and allows Nigel to help her focus on Dolché choo Ralph Nancy Gonzalez Channel Mark Jacobs Clinique and so on.  A transformation has taken place from curtain material skirt convention to catwalk model in one afternoon’s rapid makeover.
Andrea meets Nate after work dressed to impress, he barely recognises her in the transformation.  So begins the lessons in fashion from Nigel, each day a different outfit, make up and shoes.   But as Jesus says:  Flesh is flesh and Spirit is spirit.  One is not the other.  Dressing a cut above the rest as it were is not necessarily changing Andrea’s nature.  Fasting will not necessarily make any difference to our inner life.  Not eating meat or giving up alcohol is unlikely to bring us closer to God.
Changing the outward appearance is relatively straight forward with the right help and fashion accessories.  Changing what is inside is a different matter entirely.  However, slowly but surely Andrea’s inner life is as transformed as much as her outward.  Even fellow fashion designers and writers warn that she can never survive Miranda, but she shrugs these comments off as her new found confidence gives her a spring in her step.

The devil wants to be loved, worshiped and obeyed, Andrea changes her clothes and fashion and attitudes out of a desire to be appreciated in her work, to be liked by Miranda – therein of course lay her downfall.

Jesus offers unconditional love and more importantly which is implied by the term ‘unconditional’ expects nothing in return.  However it is up to us what we do with the gift.  Do we keep it to ourselves?  Or do we give it away?

The devil wears the wilderness well

The devil wears the wilderness well.

Devil attacks when it’s easy – when we are vulnerable and in need.  Our basic desires are attacked with temptation:  Bread for the hungry.  Riches for the poor.  Power for the weak.
But is this true:  What is it the hungry truly need, but any meal.  What do the poor need for but simply the ability to pay their way.  Do the weak need anything but equality with others?

So should that be our desires are:  Bread for the glutton?  Riches for the materialist?  Power for the mercenary?
Remember that the devil offers not from what we need, but from our desires.  So a word of caution to those who would give up chocolate this lent in the hope of loosing a few pounds.  Is your self denial focussing upon God or actually a reflection of your own desires?

So it was then that in an attempt to simply pay her way in the world: Andrea an ambitious journalist graduate who was unable to get a foot in the employment door and who is at the end of a long search for jobs, arrives at Runway a fashion magazine to end all others.  It just so happens that the in the 2006 film, the Devil decided to wear Prada that day.

Andrea, (Anne Hathaway) is from what we might call the ordinary world of functional clothes and choosing what to wear based on the weather.  She ends up in the deepest deep end of the fashion world with no real understanding of what she has walked into.  And there, of course the devil is waiting.

Miranda, the head of this fashion icon in print is about to make a devious entrance.  As the imminent arrival is announced the office goes wild with activity in attempting to live up to her expectations.  Desks are cleared, shoes are changed, rails of clothes moved round and round, last minute make up applied – image is of course everything.

Miranda (Meryl Streep) or perhaps we might say the devil’s advocate decides to play a little game with Andrea.   If you want an unblemished apple, you pick one from the tree.  If you want an assistant who you can train, get one who doesn’t already think she knows the job.  If you want someone whose fashion you can tailor to your own designs?  Find someone who considers it irrelevant to their life.  If you are the devil in the job of temptation you make sure you strike at true weaknesses.  Andrea is a mystery – what is she doing here?  Clearly no interest in fashion and not intimidated by the name she doesn’t know.  Here’s a challenge for the devil, what might her weakness be, how best to wear her down?

Here’s to jobs that pay the rent is the toast that night with her bemused friends who cannot believe she has a job with ‘that woman’.  But Andi is determined not to get sucked into this world, she’ll be answering phones and getting coffee, surely a ball gown will not be required.  Andi begins her new job. The baptism of fire begins with a rude awakening at 6am.  Paris fashion week?  Andi seems to have no interest.  One pair size eight ‘Jimmy Choo’s’? (I had to look that up)  not a second glance.

Intersting, the girl is unmoved, so there is a need to increase the pressure.  Andi is called into the office and is unable to answer a baffling array of requests, most of which were probably meaningless.  But here comes the killer blow, no words, just a look, a long lingering look that says it all.  Andi retreats to her desk and slips quickly into the Jimmy Choo’s. Gotcha!  Time to slip home the advantage with a little dig or two:  How about size, weight?

Andi goes down with fighting talk: “Why should I change everything about me just because I have this job.”  To which the reply comes “Of course that’s what this multi-million dollar industry is about isn’t it – inner beauty.” Ouch.

We find the little demons aka ‘office staff’ running back and forth trying to live up to the expectations set so high they fail with almost comical regularity.  But amongst those who jump and twitch at her every comment or command there is a calm cool individual.  Not phased by the devilish requirements, neither overawed by the mere presence of this woman.  As Andrea is at the beginning of her downfall, can it be that in the heart of this place lies a little salvation?  Perhaps after all there is a glimpse of the Easter resurrection even in the midst of the dirty devil games of desire.