Skip to main content

"The Way": wandering aimlessly or seeking the eternal?

I finally got to see "The Way" last weekend, the movie with Martin Sheen as a dad who carries the ashes of his son on the pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago.  It was written, produced and directed by Emilio Estevez (if you've been living under a rock for the past twenty years or so, Emilio is Sheen's son in "real life").

First, it was sheer pleasure watching Sheen.  He's really a fine actor, and this is a nuanced role.  His character is a pretty unhappy man (although he doesn't seem to realize it), a very thin-lipped, constrained man.  Sheen does a superb job of keeping it subtle in a very affecting way.

The rest of the cast is terrific too, although it almost - almost, mind you - slips over the line of buffoonery and caricature.  However, the fine acting and the humor with which the other actors (Debra Kara Unger, Yorick Van Wageningen, James Nesbitt) embody their roles keeps this in check.

The idea of pilgrimage is one that has attracted artists for centuries (remembering trying to get through "Canterbury Tales" in high school English class?), and with good reason.  The outward journey - the physical act of getting from one place to another in a rather trying manner - mirrors the inward journey every thoughtful human goes through:  how do I get from birth to death in a good way?  What does it all mean?  How do I become the best person?  How do I make up for my faults?  How do I deal with the people who annoy me, but I can't seem to shake?  How do I journey through life?

I enjoyed the movie.  It was well-crafted, beautifully shot and wonderfully performed.  I saw it with Tallest Son, who is a skeptic of all things religious, and he enjoyed it as well.  If it's playing on the "big screen" near you, go see it.  If not, watch for the DVD - you'll definitely want this one in your collection.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Be Transfigured

From today's readings: 

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the and his clothes became white as light.

...we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Today we celebrate the Transfiguration. For whatever reason, Jesus brought three of His disciples to Mount Tabor to witness this miracle. They weren't sure what they were seeing, but they knew enough to throw themselves to the ground in the presence of Almighty God. St. Peter (who never did anything halfway) excitedly declares that he will erect tents on the mountain as a way of memorializing the event. But Jesus tells him and the others that they are not to tell people what they witnessed - at least not yet.

In the second reading, the requirement to be quiet has bee…

Be Brave

A few years ago, it came to my attention that a young family member was struggling with anxiety and depression. I was able to share with her a bit of my own struggles, and let her know she wasn't alone.

A few weeks after our talk, I saw the movie, "Brave." It struck me that the young protagonist, Merida, modeled a great quality. She was indeed brave.

Being brave is not about recklessness. It is not about confidence. It's not about being foolish, or looking for glory in the eyes of others.

Bravery is about doing what is right, even when you are a quivering mess. It's about knowing that things may not turn out the way you expected, but forging ahead anyway. Being brave is standing by the hospital bed while a loved one is dying, and all you really want to do is turn back time. Bravery is standing up to a bully, when your legs are screaming for you to run. Brave is doing what needs to be done even when you're scared and tired and feeling helpless and hopeless.

I …