Happy Holy Week. As we begin the Triduum I have decided to share my reversion story with you… the story of how a simple movie brought me back to my faith. Knowing that we were teaching the Life Teen students about The Passion I asked if I could share with them my story… below is what I shared last Sunday night:
How many of you like movies? Me too. I love movies. I love going to the movie theater and I love watching DVDs at home. I am a very visual person, a visual learner. How many of you took a “learning style” quiz in school? How many of you are visual learners? I know I am. Many people are, many people learn by seeing better than just by hearing. Do you know who else knows how you learn best? (God). God knows what makes you learn and what helps you grow as a person.
Back in the spring of 2004 I had been away from my childhood faith, the Catholic faith, for over twenty years. The movie “The Passion of The Christ” had come out and it was all over the news. It was very controversial. Like I said, I love movies … and the controversy made me want to see it even more. I wanted to know what all the noise was about. So I went to a matinee showing of the move ~by myself. Has anyone seen the movie? Okay so you know how violent some scenes are (I had my hands covering my eyes horrified at many of the scenes). I left the theater BLOWN AWAY by the power of the movie. As I was driving home in my minivan I broke down and began to weep uncontrollably. And I seriously had no idea why I reacted in that way… I did not know why I was balling like a baby. (I now know, years later, that it is the ‘gift of tears’). God had touched me. He knew what would “get me.”
That movie clicked something in me. That movie turned a light on in me. It lit a fire within me. Within 4 months I had the strong urge to go back to church, to go back to the Catholic Church. In the movie, the scene where Mary meets Jesus as he is carrying the cross he says to her, “I make all things new,” which is from the book of Revelation. Revelation 21:5 …And he did. He made me new. He gave me a new beginning. I tell people that that movie was the catalyst that brought me back to my faith. I became “born again” because of that movie.
Within 4 months I went back to the Catholic faith, to church every Sunday … but… I felt that wasn’t enough. I knew I needed to do more, to become more. That fire placed a passion, a desire, within me… SO I joined Catholic groups and read books, especially the bible. I watched movies about the faith and about Jesus and the saints. I taught CCD. I had this unquenchable thirst within me. I desired to learn and grow in my faith. This fire, the fire He set inside me back in 2004, has not died, it has actually grown within me… and it’s all because of that movie and its message. That God so loved the world that he gave us His son, to teach us, to love us and to die for us.
I watched a movie several years ago about how that movie, “The Passion of the Christ”, converted a lot of people to the faith when it came out. Even more amazing: many of the actors in the movie were converted. The actor who played Barabbas was converted after seeing Jim Caviezel as Jesus. And the actor who played Judas Iscariot, who was an atheist, converted to Catholicism after acting in that movie. The movie is very powerful. Visually it is very disturbing. After watching the movie Blessed Pope John Paul II said, “It is as it was.” Mel Gibson (the director) got it right. I now watch the movie every Good Friday to remember what Christ endured for us.
That movie brought me and many people back to the faith. You know why? ….because the Passion of Jesus Christ is what our faith is all about. His love for us. That he would do anything, endure anything, to bring us all back to Him.
He would even use a simple movie to bring us back…