Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

Evolution for the Catholic Student

Order 'Evolution for the Catholic Student' - Click on the image above

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

'The Greatest Miracle' on DVD

The Greatest Miracle 
on DVD

          An English-language version of The Greatest Miracle is finally available for pre-order on DVD.  Here’s the review I wrote of the film during its brief run in theaters.
          The Greatest Miracle, from Dos Corazones Films (makers of Guadalupe), hit theaters last Friday, December 9.  It is unlike anything else you have seen in a movie theater.  This animated film (also available in 3D) is a theological walk through the Mass.
          The movie follows the story of three main characters, each dealing with personal struggles, who all find themselves at Mass one Saturday thanks to the help of their guardian angels.  It then progresses through the Mass and the characters are inspired to delve into it more deeply as their angels open the doors to an amazing spiritual world they had never really contemplated before.
          The beautiful thing about this movie is that it not only tells the viewer what each of the parts of the Mass is about, it also reveals invisible realities that we are often unaware of when we come to Mass.
When we come to Mass, we don’t just sing a few songs, say a few prayers, and try to think about God for an hour.  We take one step into Heaven.  The Communion of Saints is there, Our Lady is there, the Choirs of Angels are there, and most importantly, Our Lord is there, truly present.
The Greatest Miracle does a beautiful job illustrating all this.  As the Mass progresses, the characters learn how to truly prepare for the Sacred Mysteries, and offer themselves at Mass.  They see angels guiding souls to the Lord.  They watch as Jesus Himself, through the priest, forgives sins in Confession, and offers Himself to the Father, and then to us in Holy Communion.  The connection between the Eucharist and the Cross is powerful.  They see the elevation of a soul from Purgatory as it benefits from a worthy Communion offered by a pure heart.
The format the film uses keeps the audience engaged and successfully integrates the Mass with the stories of the main characters.  It challenges adults to approach Mass with wonder and love, and be conscious of everything that happens there, both seen and unseen.  It will also be an incredible teaching tool for parents and religious educators.  I will certainly be awaiting its video release, but it is worth seeing in the theater while you have the chance.  However, it may be difficult to do with a child, at least a young one, because it would probably need a lot of explaining and lead to a lot of discussion.  Perfect, of course, for home or in a classroom.
The film is not without its flaws.  First, considering we are just adopting the new translation of the Roman Missal, it would have been nice had that been in the movie.  But if you’re already nostalgic for “and also with you,” or “Lord, God of power and might,” you’ll find them here.  Also, there is a part in which we see little devils trying to distract people and keep them from making good Confessions.  That may be a little scary for younger kids.  In one instance a devil even becomes a voluptuous, scantily clad woman in order to tempt a man to lust.  Even with an animated film, those of us trying to guard our senses won’t really appreciate that.  A priest friend of mine pointed out that it was slightly inaccurate demonstrating the moment of transubstantiation, as well.
Still, it is an enjoyable and edifying film.  What’s even more beautiful is that a film whose main purpose is to explain and inspire devotion for the Mass is being shown at mainstream movie theaters.  We can all pray that more Catholic filmmakers will use their talents to honor and serve the Lord.