It is not often today that one can say he has watched a movie capable of changing him. Tonight, thanks be to God, I can say that.
Last week I bookmarked “Beyond the Gates” to be the Sunday movie for my wife and me to watch simply after stumbling upon it online. Recently I have been hesitating even from watching a movie once a week, due to the incredible lack of worthwhile films coming out (and the fact that I will never watch a movie with anything in the least resembling a sex scene; nor do I deem a film worthwhile merely by being enjoyable – what a waste of two hours if watching that movie does not find you a better person), but I am extremely thankful to God for compelling me to watch this.
This is a movie about the Rwandan Genocide – that unconscionable massacre of a million innocent souls by their fellow citizens, a mere nineteen and a half years ago, completely foretold by Our Lady one decade beforehand at Kibeho (along with how to prevent it) – an approved apparition (which, by the way, only received full Church approval after the genocide.) I know there are other movies about this genocide, but this is the best I have seen (far surpassing Hotel Rwanda). It is Catholic through and through, and the moral of the story is heart breakingly beautiful. It will compel you to act.
I am not trying to turn this into a movie review blog; I am writing this post because of what I was doing, Providentially, immediately before watching this movie. I was reading one of the writings of my soon-to-be Bishop (Albany, NY), Edward Scharfenberger. Here is the most poignant excerpt:
“The really terrifying part of this institutionalized, “legalized” form of extermination of human life [(abortion)] is the routine, casual way in which it is carried on and the denial by a society that tolerates it in its own neighborhoods. No one wants to talk about it, no one wants to admit the obvious similarities with what goes on in concentration camps, those areas throughout the world where, even now, human lives are killed or “disappeared” because of some arbitrary category in which they are classified, whether that be female or male, Christian or Jew, black or white, Hutu or Tutsi [(a reference to the Rwandan Genocide)]– born or unborn.
We must pray for one another so that our consciences do not go to sleep! The evil that is happening in our own neighborhoods does not go away just because we do not see it or want to see it. Every woman who is led to such a point that she feels she has no “choice” but to dispose of her own child deserves more from us than this. We pray in the psalms that “the Lord hears the cry of the poor.” How do we call ourselves disciples of Christ and not hear the muffled cries of a mother bringing her own child on a Saturday morning to a house of death?”
Beyond the Gates is, above all, a condemnation of indifference and lukewarmness. The last spoken words of the movie are “We are fortunate. All of this time we have been given. We must use it well.” And who of us can say we have not fallen into lukewarmness and indifference? Therefore, as I have before, I would like to close with these words of Our Lord to St. Faustina.
“But child, you are not yet in your homeland; so go, fortified by My grace, and fight
for My kingdom in human souls; fight as a king’s child would; and remember that
the days of your exile will pass quickly, and with them the possibility of earning
merit for heaven. I expect from you, My child, a great number of souls who will
glorify My mercy for all eternity. My child, that you may answer My call worthily,
receive Me daily in Holy Communion. It will give you strength…”
In Christ, through Mary,
PS:I must also take this chance to heartily recommend watching and spreading The Rite. I am disappointed that some Catholics oppose this movie due to a canonical error or two contained therein. What foolishness! The errors amount to very little, and are not in the least harmful to your average viewer (i.e. if you plan to recommend this to a Deacon, remind him that he can’t perform anointing of the sick, and all will be well); and yet what is to be gained is enormous. The entire movie is an unabashed and incredibly powerful Catholic argument for God. It is mainstream Hollywood (starring Anthony Hopkins), and therefore can easily be recommended or given to anyone. (The same, by the way, goes for The Conjuring.)