We often think that our dark side, our sins and shadows are not “pleasing” to God. We use our own standards to measure and define what gains us access to our God. We fall victim to values of our cultural traditions, or of our families or of pop culture to convince ourselves that we are “with it” and acceptable. We judge ourselves and others by how well we measure up to these artificial, superficial and false standards. We get so caught up in measuring up that sooner or later we discover that we are hard-hearted and have become impervious to the situations of others. Pope Francis reminds us “not to be afraid of tenderness.” We have a God who sympathizes with our human plight. Our God knows how hungry we are to be loved and understood and accepted; we are offered unconditional love. Once we begin to tire of the rat race, treadmill-like futility of gaining acceptance through false standards, we can catch a glimpse of our Waiting God Who ceaselessly offers us mercy, forgiveness and love. During this program we will take encouragement from film artists who portray and remind us of our hunger and our God of Mercy and Tenderness. Our exploration will be placed on the horizon of our God-Become-Human and thereby receive the encouragement of our God Who wants us to engage as fully as we can in the self-emptying love that marks our Trinitarian God as vulnerable lover.
Through viewing and discussing international films vis-à-vis theological truths of our faith, we will gain insight into remembering our All-Merciful, All-Loving God.
Resource Person: Larry Lewis, MM, PhD., has served for many years in Taiwan and China. For the past 20 years, Larry has coordinated programs with the Chinese Bishops to train Church personnel. He is currently a staff member and spiritual director at the Cenacle Sisters Retreat Center, Ronkonkoma, Long Island, offering retreats and teaching spirituality. He holds a doctorate in spirituality from Duquesne University. He has authored The Misfit: Haunting the Human-Unveiling the Divine (Orbis, 1997).