It takes a lot of vision, talent, and money to make a film like this a reality. But you and I have an opportunity to give this effort -- and all the people behind it -- a real boost.
When I heard that the people who produced the amazingly life affirming film "Bella" a few years ago had another project in the works, I was definitely interested. That's because for me, "Bella" was about as close to a perfect movie as anything ever could be. That's why our family took the opportunity to attend a special pre-release showing of "Little Boy" in Boston a few weeks ago.
I'm not an expert movie reviewer, but as someone who knows what a good story well-told looks like, I'd recommend "Little Boy" to everyone. This World War II drama told from the perspective of a seven year-old boy, weaves together themes of family, war, bullying, and prejudice in unexpected and artful ways. The cast's performance is warm and believable, especially that of previously inexperienced child actor Jakob Salvati. But the best thing about "Little Boy" is that what moves the plot along is faith, hope, and the seven corporal works of mercy.
You heard me right. Someone has made a movie that invites its audience to explore how powerful the works of mercy can be. And it's even coming to "real" theaters! That's what I'm excited about. I'm not going to tell you that this movie (or any movie) will change your life. But it will most certainly move anyone who sees it, and start a conversation that can lead to genuine dialogue about what matters most -- our souls.
Allow me to suggest that it's a lot easier to ask your friends to go to a movie than it is to invite them to a Bible study, holy hour, or other explicitly religious activity. Everyone feels welcome in a theater. Not everyone feels at home in church. Thankfully, the Gospel of Jesus Christ wasn't meant to be kept locked up in sanctuaries. Jesus told his disciples to go out into all the world and preach the good news. On April 24, "Little Boy" will proclaim that same good news on the screens of theaters nationwide, and in a way that can speak to the people of our time and culture.
Support for initiatives like this is critically important. If we are to have an impact on the culture we live in, we've got to show up for each other and affirm every effort that is made to reach those who have weak faith, little faith, or none at all. Whatever gifts we have, we must encourage one another to put them at the service of the Gospel. That isn't necessarily easy, but it is the call to holiness and evangelization that God has given each one of us.
It takes a lot of vision, talent, and money to make a film like this a reality. But you and I have an opportunity to give this effort -- and all the people behind it -- a real boost. Our message, so often pushed to the margins, can often hardly be heard. If we want to reach out, we've got to do more than just invite people to come to us. We've got to go where we will find them. If you haven't noticed, that isn't in the pews. It is, however, in theaters and on smartphones.
The story "Little Boy" conveys encourages us to make the works of mercy part of our daily lives. With the Year of Mercy on the horizon, I can't think of a better way to start. Is there someone you know who needs mercy and love? Someone who is discouraged and needs to be inspired? Is there someone you can shelter or feed, clothe or visit? Ask the Lord to show you who that might be. Then buy a couple of tickets and a popcorn.
JAYMIE STUART WOLFE IS A WIFE AND MOTHER OF EIGHT CHILDREN, AND A DISCIPLE OF THE SPIRITUALITY OF ST. FRANCIS DE SALES. SHE IS AN INSPIRATIONAL AUTHOR, SPEAKER, MUSICIAN AND SERVES AS AN ASSOCIATE CHILDREN'S EDITOR AT PAULINE BOOKS AND MEDIA.
Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a Catholic convert, wife, and mother of eight. Inspired by the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, she is an author, speaker, and musician, and serves as a senior editor at Ave Maria Press. Find Jaymie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @YouFeedThem.