Prayer Thoughts After the Philomena Movie Credits

It’s strange how a movie can lift you away from your current reality only to plop you down more solidly in your current reality. The movie wasn’t about any circumstance our family is experiencing, although I think a movie could be made about our reality, its current weight as well as its past. The movie gave me hope to live in the here and now with more authenticity and strength.

Religious experience sometimes has the same effect. I distrust my own faith; a distrust that has grown from lack of proximity and communication. I take heart in the fact that I am off my antidepressant and not depressed. But a flat-line emotional state is not the opposite of depression. It is a respite from a switchback path up a mountain. This is the level ground in which my heart rate can be stabilized before more ascension. A good life is always an upward climb. An authentic life is an immersed heart under pressure of a new altitude.

My wife feels every little stone along the path, and lets me know. I trudge along quietly like some sort of monk that has misplaced his prayer rope, the one with the knots in it. There was a man in the movie grumbling along, dissing God, and pointed out every injustice as if God was the sole owner of each. The lady he helped had a steadfast faith in her Catholic roots with a sensibility about life that flowed naturally from her heart out beyond her lips. In the end, forgiveness kept her moving up the mountain.

Forgiveness. That passive aggressive antidote for bitterness and victimhood. Passive, because it is a release of personal revenge and retribution. Aggressive, because it is the stay against the calcification of our own hearts.

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Jesus

In our current reality sometimes they do know what they do. More acutely, we do know what we do. Forgiveness often is the most stretched when it is our own selves we need to forgive. In either case, whether it is us or them who we need to forgive, forgiveness must remain a viable option in order to continue our ascent to finish well this mountain climb called life.

God, help us to forgive even as you have forgiven, amen.


  1. rocksand5 says:

    Sounds like the kind of movie I’d like. I wonder how I’ve never even heard of it till now? Switchback path. I like it. I live it.

  2. A striking reaction to the film, Jerry, which I write about in my book ‘The New Filmgoer’s Guide to God’. See Thought you might find this interesting.
    Tim Cawkwell

  3. Forgiveness. That passive aggressive antidote for bitterness and victimhood… i love that definition… forgiving is so immensely powerful… and so very difficult as well…

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