I lost a bet to my husband. The stakes were a medium vanilla iced coffee or, if my husband won, a movie of his choice because he always defers to me when picking out movies, definitely because he’s a gentleman and possibly to avoid the stream of negative commentary from his wife on his guy movie’s obvious flaws on everything from its immodest costuming to its totally unrealistic plots turns. (“Wait, who’s Luke Skywalker’s dad? Oh…I wonder if he named him Luke because he didn’t like his own name.”)
So when he won, I braced myself. In justice, he really did deserve to pick out whatever movie he wanted to see, and I promised I wouldn’t say a word. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a contender, so you could imagine my delight when he finally settled on Roland Joffe’s There Be Dragons, on the life of St. Josemaria Escriva. And everyone was perfectly clothed.
The movie was wonderful; Charlie Cox played a super-cute, always-smiling Josemaria, and the setting, the Spanish Civil War, seemed familiar to me as an at-home mom of two preschoolers and a toddler. I drew great strength from St. Josemaria’s example and had more hope for my days at home as he struggled and succeeded in keeping the faith and encouraging others to maintain their human dignity and virtue amidst the fighting. And I didn’t say a word the whole movie…except for the occasional “wow”.
To prep for the movie, I flipped through my compilation of St. Josemaria’s The Way, Furrow, and The Forge. Besides seeing thousands of his typical, always helpful, hard-on-sin exhortative nuggets—my favorite: “Don’t say, ‘That’s the way I am—it’s my character.’ It’s your lack of character. Esto vir!—Be a man!” (The Way, 4.). I came across a beautiful expression of love and of hope for us modern day saints-in-training:
Don’t ask Jesus to forgive only your own faults: don’t love him with your heart alone. Console him for every offense that has been, is, and will be done to him. Love him with all the strength of all the hearts of all the men who have loved him most. Be daring: tell him you are carried away with more love than Mary Magdalene, more than Teresa and little Therese, more carried away than Augustine and Dominic and Francis, more than Ignatius and Xavier (The Way, 402).
Take it from St. Josemaria: be daring. Tell Jesus that you love Him today more than all the Teresas together loved Him, He might just give you the grace to do it. And let your husband pick out the movie this weekend, it might just leave you speechless.
Copyright 2012 Meg Matenaer
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