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Sunday, March 29, 2009


At the behest of our 12-year-old son, we attended a showing of the Nicolas Cage sci-fi movie, Knowing on Friday night. The thumbnail sketch of the plot is this: an MIT professor who has recently & tragically lost his wife, is convinced that the universe and all it contains is just a random grouping of unrelated and purposeless events: Life has no meaning. What unfolds is a series of scenes that turn his theory on its ear. The movie is a sci-fi thriller with many allusions to the faith and scriptural reference points. If you can get past the numerological details and some of the global warming nuttiness, you will be pleasantly surprised (I think) about some of the conversations that this movie will undoubtedly spark.

My husband and I have laid a faith foundation in our family that we oftenttimes are fooled into thinking, due to the actions of our sons, that it has been a bridge to nowhere. To be frank, we just don't always see the fruits of our labor. I can become easily discouraged knowing that we have been faithful with our investment of time, energy and resources into Catholic education, Mass every week and an insistance in the values that we embrace, and yet my kids just don't get it. They think it's tripe. Sorry, I don't mean to whine, but this is the hair-raising cross that I've had to bear more recently and more often than ever before. To be frank, I have come to a basic acceptance of the fact that I must entrust to God what he has entrusted to me as a parent. That having been said, I get giddy over little things (God shots) that prove to me that there are some fruits to be noticed in the here and now and God has not abandoned me to my vain frustrations. The example was Friday when we emerged from the theater.

"Mom, did you know that those guys were angels sent from God? And that one part reminded me of Noah's Ark and the flood. And they ended up back in the Garden of Eden just like Adam and Eve with the good tree and not that evil tree....yadda yadda yadda. " It came gushing forth! I learned later on that my son had been discussing this movie at his new school with a classmate who happens to be jewish. Again, and I repeat: they are twelve.

In all my years of knowing my son, he never has initiated conversation with me about the faith. Never. Until Friday. It might be a fair assessment that we humans provide the necessary kindling and raw materials with which to make a foundation of a faith. We engage our memory, our will, our liberty and our intellect to process a reality that is both here and in the eternal. But it needs a spark, a seed, the God particle at precisely the "right" moments in order to become what it is to be: in this case, belief. Could I have witnessed the creation of a new cosmos of understanding in my son? I'm probably reading way too much into this. I'll stop now, content to KNOW that God is in charge, and I am not and I get to surrender over and over and over again.

If you have a 12-year old*, you might want to go see Knowing; you might be pleasantly surprised by some of the interesting conversations that spark after the show!

*It's a PG-13 and there are some scenes that contain a lot of destruction and people burning, fyi.


  1. St. Monica is working in today's world! Raising children in the faith has never been easy, but in this decade it's nearly impossible without complete trust in God. You're doing a great job - this proves it! Keep up the good work - we need more parents like you and your husband.

  2. I know exactly what you mean, Karen. But you and Ron just need to keep on truckin. Your prayers, diligence, and good example will have the permanent effects on the boys in due time. In fact, both of them are in that age-zone where the oddest rebellions rise and fall. We've found that by around 18 or so, that starts to subside.

    And I enjoyed your take on the movie. I saw it with Dave Hess over the weekend and really enjoyed it. The number thing didn't bother me at all. My only dissapointment was that the "angels" (which in fact looked like angels, with their winglike heat signatures) were just aliens. It gave me the vibe that God doesn't really exist, it's just these superior aliens who are doing all the stuff that mankind assumed was being done by God and angels.

    But even with that, I thought it was a good movie. I plan to take my 14 year old son to see it.

  3. I haven't seen the movie, but I'm comforted to know that I'm not the only mother worried that all my efforts at imparting faith to my children are accomplishing nothing. I know the best thing I can do is pray for them daily and live the most transparent Catholic Christian life I can.

    It's nice to find you. (Pat sent me! If he says you're good people, that's good enough for me! Hmmmm...Pat, how do I get you to send people my way?)