theaters March 23, 2018. © 2018 CTMG. All Rights Reserved.[/caption] The producer of Paul, Apostle of Christ T. J. Berden considers forgiveness one of the film’s main themes. “Paul changed from murdering Christians to becoming their unlikely leader. His life personifies ‘forgiveness,’ a concept that seems almost impossible today — but desperately needed." This film is a meditation. Much the dialogue is taken from Paul’s letters and the Acts of the Apostles. One prominent Pauline theme, being poured out as a sacrifice, threads throughout the film.
But even if I am being poured out as a libation over the sacrifice and the offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. (Phil. 2:17). Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God. (Romans 12:1)This theme contrasts scenes depicting libations offered to the gods. Paul reviews his life in service of Christ boasting of his weakness and the mercy of God. This confuses his Roman jailer who has a very post-modern definition of truth, “That truth is only yours.” It is an echo of Pilate’s question to Jesus: “What is truth?” Paul responds by asking his jailer if he noticed that the world is missing something. He tells him that there is grace enough for everyone. Paul knows that though we face death nothing can separate us from the love of Christ who is risen from the dead. Casting off all moorings, he will spread his sails in eternity. One of Paul’s movie prayers is “help us finish the race.” He expresses being torn between two desires: if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. I also long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me (Phil. 1:23). A cutaway scene depicts Paul, the Christians in hiding, and the Christians destined to be martyred at Nero’s Circus praying the Our Father. They pray in order to run with endurance, to win an imperishable crown from the righteous Judge (1 Cor. 9:24). Luke (Jim Caviezel) enters Rome in secret to find Paul in PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST- in theaters March 23, 2018. © 2018
CTMG. All Rights Reserved.[/caption] The film’s conclusion is my favorite. There is a healing that emphasizes Paul’s desire that each person know they are completely loved. In an earlier scene Paul recites his great ode to love, 1 Corinthians 13. The greatest ode to love is shown in the brief Eucharistic scene. Luke visits Paul in prison. They both partake of Holy Communion during what must have been a concelebrated liturgy. This is a reminder that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for another (cf. John 15:13). Paul reminds us that others “will know we are Christian by our love.” Jesus’ love for us is the measure of our love for each other. This film uncovers the life goal of Christians as it is revealed in Paul’s life. He sums it up in his words, “It is no longer I who live but Christ” (Gal. 2:20). A minor spoiler alert: look for St. Stephen at the beginning and end of the film. Film Facts:
- Filmed on location in Malta
- James Faulkner as Saint Paul
- Jim Caviezel as Saint Luke: “I read the Acts of the Apostles and started lifting little clues here and there, and I went to Mass and prayed on them. And then we see how he wrote, how Paul sees [Luke], and I started cross-examining him — and there is a lot of cross-examining and asking him about it — and, slowly, it starts to all come together.”
- Olivier Martinez as Mauritius, prefect of Mamertine Prison
- Joanne Whalley as Priscilla, Aquilla's wife
- John Lynch as Aquilla, Priscilla's husband
- Yorgos Karamihos as Saul of Tarsus, Paul before his conversion to Christianity.
Copyright 2018 Sr. Margaret Kerry, fsp
About the Author
A Daughter of St. Paul for 40 years Sr. Margaret continues to pursue new ways to proclaim the Gospel: sharing the Pauline Charism with the laity, writing books (St. Anthony of Padua: Fire & Light; Strength in Darkness: John of the Cross; Prayers for the New Evangelization), & through direct evangelization. She is available for workshops on the Vocation & Mission of the Laity, Media Literacy, and The New Evangelization. firstname.lastname@example.org