Saturday, March 30, 2013

What Are We Made For?

Think on the Passion of Jesus. The Lord not only came in the flesh to teach us, but laid down his life for us. After he was unjustly condemned, he was beaten, crowned with sharp thorns that tore into his scalp, stripped of his clothing, paraded down the street carrying his own instrument of execution, before having nails pounded through his hands and feet to pin him to a cross. Think about it, the hands that cured people, both physically and spiritually. And His feet, the feet that carried Him as he taught and healed people.

Speaking of feet, think about the night before he died. He knew what was going to happen--how he'd suffer. Did he take the night off? Take some "me time"? No. He washed people's feet. Don't think of your pedicurist or massage therapist whom you tip, I hope. ;)  This was a job for servants or slaves because feet got super dirty back then.
At Holy Thursday Mass, they displayed a picture of this scene. I was struck, really struck, for the first time, by the real meaning of this act. Jesus as servant. The Lord God acting as a servant to humans. It's like the love and service of a parent to a child, but more so.

We are to imitate Christ. Be servants to one another. That's what we are made for.

Many people say, "I just want to be happy" or "I just want my children to be happy." It makes me wonder--"Happy in this world or in Heaven?"
Giotto di Bondone- "Cappella Scrovegni a Padova"

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Probably the Best Film about Jesus

My daughters and I watched The Miracle Maker: The Story of Jesus, a 2000 stop-motion animated film. I heard Steven Greydanus of Decent Films rave about it on the radio. Still, I expected a film that was good as a children's animated Bible story. However, It was amazing, both as a film worth watching by anyone, and as a gospel story. Within a couple of minutes I knew it was a drop-your-knitting-and-pay-full-attention type movie.

We watched a beautiful interaction between the adult Jesus and his mother, as well as a couple flashbacks of his birth and childhood. And we got to know the little girl whom Jesus brought back to life. A majority of the film is from her point of view. The filmmakers brought scripture to life by adding enough detail that the Gospel became three-dimensional.

I only wish they'd put in every Gospel story, but I guess they had to limit the movie length. But they really could have put Mary and John at the foot of the cross and had Jesus say, "Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother." That wouldn't have taken long. But Jesus does declare Simon Peter the rock on which he'll build His church.

The voice actors were brilliant. My kids were shocked when I told them Ralph Fiennes (the actor they know as Voldemort from the Harry Potter films) played Jesus. They marveled how versatile an actor he is. One of my girls did recognize David Thewlis (Remus from the Potter films) as Judas Iscariot. A couple of the other awesome actors were Ken Stott (who played Balin in The Hobbit) as Peter, and Miranda Richardson (who played Lady Van Tassel in Sleepy Hollow) as Mary Magdalene. But you could really forget that these were actors because of the claymation.

Do check out Steven Greydanus's thorough review to read why he gives The Miracle Maker an A+! It really could be the best movie about Jesus and His Passion.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What is a Cardinal?

In light of recent events, I thought you, dear readers, would be interested in this video I found that explains clearly what a cardinal is,

What is a Cardinal?

It's interesting to note that the church cardinals were called that from before the year 1126, according to The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology. The cardinal bird wasn't called that until 1678. So, it seems that the bird was named after the church's cardinals.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Planet of Snail Review

"Planet of Snail" is one of the most compelling films my daughters and I have seen in a long time. I heard Steven Greydanus (from Decent Films) discuss it on Catholic Answers Live and it intrigued me so much, I put it on my Netflix queue right away.

"Planet of Snail" is a documentary about a Christian Korean couple. Each has a handicap. Young-Chan, a poet, is blind and deaf. His wife, Soon-Ho has dwarfism, due to a spinal condition. They help each other constantly, both in practical matters (such as changing a light bulb) and emotionally.

It's a quiet, subtle film. I expected my twin daughters (age 11) to lose patience with the slow pace, but they were as riveted as I was. We three agree that the movie is a beautiful example of a deeply loving marriage.

It's not rated, but I feel it's suitable for all ages. There's nothing sexual or violent. There was a bit of potty humor when they showed Young-Chan's little clay sculpture of a guy peeing, but it's not a graphic sculpture. My girls said, "Eww!" but I'm sure if one of my nephews had been there, they'd be laughing.

Because of his blind-deafness, and also probably because of his poetic disposition, Young-Chan approaches the world in a very sensual way. Don't confuse what I'm saying with anything creepy. It's very beautiful and pure. I'll give the most extreme example of this. In the park, he was touching a tree and even hugging it. His fingers trailing over the trunk made it seem as if he were reading its braille-like bark. It was rather lovely, though his wife was a bit embarrassed.

I cannot recommend this film enough. I also want to tell you about an app that compliments it. I put it on my iPad, but I think it would work on other touch screen devices. It lets you play around with the braille-like finger language of blind-deaf people. It's different than the finger spelling you might have seen/read in the Helen Keller book/movie. It almost looks as if they're typing on each other's fingers. Anyway, the app is called Love is Touch. Here's the link:  Interestingly, when I go there on my computer, I get inforation about the film as well as the app, but when I go there on my iPad, I see just the app. Anyway, it's worth checking out.

Here's the Planet of Snail trailer: