I remember growing up as a young boy in Jamaica, Long Island, New York. We lived in a residential area a few blocks from “down town” where the elevated extension of the subway rail system came to an end. On the weekend I would walk down to the movie theatre and for 10 cents I could watch one of the serials. Each one would end with some dramatic situation to be completed in next week’s episode. The one I remember involved a motorcycle rider franticly trying to stay ahead of an onrushing wall of water in the Holland tunnel in order to reach and close some kind of emergency flood gates. After being suckered into a few such episodes I decided to spend my precious dime on penny candy.
Recently several of my friends have waxed enthusiastically about the film “For Greater Glory” about some of the religious martyrs in Mexico. They had seen it several times and described the intensity of some of the scenes.
Because the movie is over two hours long and because my time is increasingly precious I was not interested in committing an evening for the event.
On one of my trips to Medjugorje we were able to watch an advanced copy of “THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST” before it was released. Jim Caviezel had brought it over with him. I purchased a copy of the DVD, watched it once, and have not felt the desire to repeat it. It wasn’t that parts of it were too uncomfortable to watch. I just didn’t feel the need to see it again – the need to repeat the intense emotional experience.
At 3:30 AM this morning I woke up and started thinking about this subject. It seemed to me that there was a common element in watching this type of good, intense meaningful film and watching the senseless horror violent films advertised on TV today. Both strongly stimulate our emotions – one provides useful information – one useless. Some poor souls need any kind of stimulation to fill their emptiness.
For me, at this point in my faith growth I don’t find that type of useful stimulation helpful. It takes a while for some of that imagery to fade away. Christ’s suffering has become real enough for me so that now I need to allow it to quietly sink in and fertilize my love for Him. The next life is real and attractive enough so that martyrdom isn’t out of the question. I would hope to be able to approach it quietly, without any noisy “heroism”.