Thursday, September 15, 2011

I Finally Watched The Passion... Sort Of.

Okay, so I admit that I had very little desire to watch The Passion of the Christ. I heard it was very violent and very intense so I just avoided it. It's not that I wanted to avoid thinking about the agony and torture Our Lord suffered... it's just that I'm very sensitive when it comes to people suffering. I can't see it without a few tears escaping. I've always been that way. When we used to go to Mexico to visit my paternal family, I would cry when I saw the poor children and women begging for money on the streets so they could eat. I felt helpless because I didn't know how to help and when I did help (when I gave up whatever food I had with me), I was made fun of by family members. My heart just broke (and continues to break) for these people. If I see this way towards strangers imagine how much more it hurts when I think about everything Jesus went through for us.

For the record, I am a lot stronger (emotionally) than I am describing myself. I am able to endure a lot of things but seeing others suffer is one of the few things I just cannot help but get emotional over. Having said that, I will now confess that I cry during the Sorrowful Mysteries... especially when I take into consideration how I've been ungrateful in the past for the many blessings I've received. Maybe it's my "healthy Catholic guilt conscience" (as one of my professors described it last semester) but I just feel bad about the dumb, immature things I've had in the past. Anyway, I knew that if I cried during the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary I would be in so much trouble watching The Passion.

I was forced to watch part of it this week for my Christology course. Yes, forced. I was game for any other film but The Passion. I did not want to blubber like a baby in the classroom, especially when there are classmates who look at you as if you're subhuman. (side note: I wish it was a cliched exaggeration but the girls who come from families with money look down on us who don't... and don't hide the "disgust" they feel towards us.) I told several friends I would not watch the movie in the class because I knew it would happen. I was determined. I walked in this morning and said, "I'm just signing in and then I'm leaving. I'm not watching it." But then I felt a little courage and stayed. I'm glad I did.

Yes, I did sob. A lot. I left the classroom twice to get tissues. My eyes were red and puffy when I went to my next class. Yes, I did get these "Oh Em Gee, I can't believe she's crying over this" looks from some classmates. I did not care. Only one of the girls watched all of the film. During certain scenes everyone else took out their phones or played with papers on their desks. I tweeted. It was intense and we all felt it. I only watched the second half as they had started the first half earlier in the week when I was taking an exam (which I passed! :D) for the class elsewhere. It was enough to leave me emotionally drained. On the bright side I was able to see just how much I could handle (and am kind of proud of myself for that) and it gave me a lot to meditate on... in a good way. I actually have to watch it in its entirety since I have to write a paper on it but I'm more prepared now than I was a few days ago.

I can see where the criticism comes from. A friend said he didn't like it because it was too violent. Others praised it for giving us something to think about. I think both are valid arguments. It was intense (maybe a little too intense for the majority of the audience) but at the same time I feel like, though they could've toned down some things and still have gotten the desired effect, it was powerful enough to really makes us think about the suffering Jesus endured, the reason why it happened, and how we can repay Him. I still have a lot to think about (and, no doubt, a lot more when I watch all of it) but I already have a lot to think about... and some things to reevaluate.

I know I got a few "what kind of Catholic are you?" type responses when I said I hadn't watched the movie earlier this week but that's okay. While I do think it definitely makes you see things different, and it does leave you kind of stunned at first (it did me), I don't think anyone should be forced to watch it if they don't wish to. Those who have experienced violence or seen it inflicted on others (I, luckily, have not experienced it myself but have seen classmates/friends physically hurt) are more likely to feel strongly against watching it and that should be okay. It's not a film for everyone.

I am sure I will once again sob and go through a box of tissues when I re-watch it for specific questions such as "which Gospel did the screenwriter use?" but I'm ready. Okay, fine, I'll probably clutch a pillow but I'm good. lol. Don't know if I'll make it a tradition of watching it during Lent like some people but I wouldn't completely rule out ever watching it again at some point in my lifetime. We'll see. :)

Anyway, I have about 80 pages on Judaism to read for one class, 50 on Sexuality in Society for one of my Sociology courses, a couple chapters for my Anger Management class (haha, no, I don't have anger issues; it's a Sociology-Psychology hybrid class), and I have to read the entire Prose and Poetic Eddas by Tuesday so I better hit them books. :)

I hope y'all are having a great weekend thus far; I know I am. ;) I will try to blog again this weekend. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless. :D


Ken said...

Em, don't feel bad about crying in that movie. Anyone with a heart will tear up a little. I was a slobbering idiot myself when I watched it (...and I'm 63...but I watched it when I was much younger -- 61) although the reason for my tears changed throughout the film from overwhelming sadness at such treatment, to believing I could feel the pain myself somehow, to tears of joy that He did this for all of us. It is those last tears I still weep when I receive Him in the Eucharist.

Cry on, sister, cry on.

Thanks be to God.

Please pray for the Church in China.
Ken in Shanghai

Anonymous said...

I cried a couple of times when I finally got around to watching it.

It was very violent but then scourging was very violent (which I guess was rather the point) and was both a tool for punishment and a deterrent for others. As was Crucifixion. The Roman army / govenment didn't tend to (officially) endorse casual cruelty for the sake of it but were bang on side with using violence to send a message.

I can understand why people might want to watch it at Easter. When I was growing up it was Franco Zeffirelli's "Jesus of Nazareth".

Congratulations on the test & good luck with the next batch of papers.


Lindsay said...

I don't think you're a bad Catholic for not having seen The Passion until now. That's a pretty strong requirement for a class, but I've had (and heard of) worse.

I hope you'll run across this as you're doing your own research, but it's worth noting that the screenplay isn't based on any of the Gospels. That's a trick question. I also hope you enjoy the first half much more than the second. You get to see much more of Jesus' human side.

Vaughn Kohler said...

Really enjoyed your post. I found it because I blog too and twitter recommended you to follow.

I'm a new convert to Catholicism. I was a Protestant pastor and I entered the Church this past Easter.

You mentioned the Sorrowful Mysteries. The rosary has been a HUGE blessing to me before and since I became Catholic. But on the days I'm supposed to pray the sorrowful mysteries, I'm always like, "Oh, Lord...I don't want to meditate on all that pain, suffering, sadness." But then, after I'm done, I'm so moved, so grateful for the price Jesus paid for us, for his sacrifice on the cross, that I feel so much stronger spiritually, so much more in love with our Lord.

Keep up the good work. I look forward to reading more posts in the future.