I remember seeing Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ for the first time at the Arclight Hollywood on Ash Wednesday of 2004. Father Willy Raymond, CSC, had offered to take the staff of Family Theater Productions after the celebration of Mass. So we all processed into the theater with ashes on our foreheads, to the bewildered stares of some. (You could see them working it out in their minds: oh, those must be the Passion groupies. People dress up like Frodo Baggins before a Lord of the Rings premiere, so this must be what the Christians do before seeing their movie…)
At any rate, the film made such an impression on me that I decided to use it as my Lenten meditation: I went and saw the film every Friday of Lent that year, just as I would ordinarily pray the stations of the cross.
I had already planned to host a stations of the cross hike for young adults in the Verdugo Mountains on Palm Sunday. The day before the hike, I realized that I had no text to share with others as we prayed along the way. However, the images from Gibson’s film were etched clearly in my mind and suggested many points of meditation, so I decided to compose my own via crucis based upon the film.
I supplemented my meditations with some of my favorite quotes from various spiritual writers: Dietrich von Hildebrand, St. Josemaria Escriva, St. Ambrose of Milan, (then) Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, St. Leo the Great, Karol Wojytla, St. John of the Cross, Pope John Paul II, an ancient homily on Holy Saturday, and a closing prayer from (then venerable, now blessed) John Henry Cardinal Newman.
I’ve made the resulting text available on my website in multiple formats:
PS – Another multimedia stations of the cross — much more brief (around 4 minutes long) — is still available on my site here. I used some music from Schindler’s List for this one, which somehow seemed appropriate. I am reminded of a quote from Hildegard Brem which the Pope includes in his new book, Jesus of Nazareth, Part II: “The Jews themselves are a living homily to which the Church must draw attention, since they call to mind the Lord’s suffering.”
The Mass Explained is without question the most elegant, content-rich, beautiful app for the iPad that I have come across. While this app is an investment, it’s a worthy one if you want to dive deeply into the riches of the Mass. I recently purchased it after reading Amy Welborn‘s post about it.
Originally posted on Charlotte was Both:
Written, programmed and developed by Dan Gonzalez over a period of two years, the app is a thorough, in-depth and really exceptionally beautiful resource.
Some of us complain – a lot – about the relatively lame quality of Catholic resources. The aesthetics of our resources often reflect a paradoxical marriage of frameworks and design that are about half a decade behind the times along with an almost resolute refusal to dig more deeply into the profound resources our tradition has produced over two millenia. Well, here’s an opportunity to benefit from a resource that doesn’t suffer from those limitations, and that, like the Catholicism series, should be a model for anyone seeking to produce engaging and substantive catechetical and evangelical materials. Yes, I’d put it at that level.
Last Friday marked the one-year anniversary of Benedict XVI’s abdication of the papacy. In its wake, one of my Facebook friends posted a link to this article by Fr. Dwight Longenecker: Missing Papa Benedict. The article gives more than a half dozen reasons why the author appreciates the legacy of the pope emeritus, and then concludes:
History will show Pope Benedict XVI to have been one of the great popes of this modern age. A gentleman, a scholar, a true man of faith and the Holy Spirit–a man full of grace and blessing: Long Live Pope Emeritus Benedict.
About four comments into the thread, the first dissenting voice appeared:
I am in equal parts saddened and sickened.
I invited this person to elaborate, but there has been no response. It seems to have been one of those drive-by slanders that one so often encounters in social media.
Later on in the thread, someone else, who I will refer to as A, decided to take up the dissent:
Yyyeah THIS is why no one liked Ratzinger:
Pope Benedict ‘complicit in child sex abuse scandals’, say victims’ groups
This person was at least willing to engage in a bit of back-and-forth:
Myself: Have you considered evidence contrary to the claims of the article you linked to? Here is one example.
A: Yep. Considered it. Still believe the article I posted instead.
Myself: I’m sorry you have chosen to believe the worst about the pope emeritus, A
A: I’m sorry you have chosen to believe the not-true about him, Clay
B: Benedict is one of the finest minds to have ever sat on the throne of St. Peter. He did more for the Church than anyone will ever realize.
A: You mean further drive a wedge in the Church’s relations with Islam, ignore the huge amount of child molesters in the priesthood, hoping transfers would make the problem go away, and blame the global recession on feminism? No, we all realize he did that.
A: If it makes any of you feel any better Pope Francis is my favorite so far. That guy’s already saved you from losing the European and American 35-and-below demographic.
It seemed to me that the thread had gone fairly far afield from its source in Fr. Longenecker’s article, so I am offering to take the conversation to a different forum. I don’t know if A will decide to engage or not, but if so, I’m offering the comments box of this post for a dialogue.
I was surprised to find this link come across my phone this morning on the way to work.
Surprised, and yet, as I think on it, it seems so characteristic of this Pope. Ever humble, ever listening, ever attentive to the promptings of grace in his heart. It is the sort of gesture that has been such a hallmark of his writings, and of his papacy.
God bless you, Pope Benedict XVI. Thank you for your nearly eight years of service in the chair of St. Peter, for bearing a load “so heavy that only humility could carry it” (to borrow a phrase from C.S. Lewis). Your witness has stirred my heart.