Sunday, May 04, 2008
In the movie, The Passion of the Christ, one of the hardest things to get right was the music. Icon Productions worked with three different composers, and just two months from the day the movie was supposed to open in theatres, they still didn't have the score composed. The third composer, the talented and experienced John Debney [DEHB-knee], was working furiously, but he just didn't seem able to get anything right.
He also said later that all kinds of strange, uncommon difficulties kept popping up and delaying him. As the deadline drew nearer, he became really concerned. He desperately wanted to make the music as powerful and beautiful as the film, but it just wasn't happening. At that time, John was a Catholic who had only recently returned to his Catholic faith. While he was working on one of the key scenes in the movie, when Mary helps Jesus as he falls while carrying the cross, he decided to ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to help him.
For three days he prayed the Rosary, which he hadn't prayed in years. And on the fourth day he woke up before his alarm clock, with a song in his head. The song was complete, with full melody and lyrics. It turned out to have the musical form of a lullaby, and it became Mary's theme. And just two weeks later the entire score was finished. The movie soundtrack went platinum. It was then nominated for an Academy Award as Best Original Score.
St Luke gives us a beautiful snapshot of the very first Catholic parish in the history of the Church. He tells us in today's First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, that after Jesus ascended into heaven, the Apostles and Jesus' other disciples went back to Jerusalem. So there they are, Peter and the other Apostles, some of the women who had followed Jesus, and some of his relatives, gathered together in prayer, to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
It is a very interesting detail that of the whole crowd, St Luke only mentions twelve people by name. First, he lists the eleven Apostles (there used to be twelve, but Judas abandoned them and then committed suicide). Then, he mentions "Mary, the mother of Jesus. Jesus as God gave Mary a special role to play in Christ's life, now she begins to exercise her special role in the life of the Church. Mary gave birth to Jesus, the head of the Church. Now it is time for the rest of the Church, the mystical body of Christ, to be born. And so she is once again present, giving guidance and comfort, and interceding for them in prayer. Jesus, the head of the Church, was in her womb for nine months before his birth on Christmas. Now his followers, the body of the Church, gather with her for nine days in the Upper Room before the Holy Spirit comes upon them and sends them out into the world on Pentecost. Mary, full of grace, is the mother of Jesus Christ, and so Mary, in the order of grace, is also the spiritual mother of every Christian. When we were baptized, we became brothers and sisters of Christ, which means that Mary, his mother, becomes, in the order of grace, our mother too.
As we begin the month of May, we celebrate and honor the Blessed Virgin Mary during this month. We honor her this month with different events and each culture has different traditions in honoring the BVM. In our society we tend to have May processions and the crowing of Mary (as we did before the Mass). Now many of our non-Catholic brothers and sisters don’t seem to understand our relationship with Mary and many do misunderstand our belief in Mary. They don’t understand that we take seriously the command that Jesus gave from the cross to John the apostle, “this is your mother.” A great gift Christ gave to us his mother who watches over us as Queen of heaven and earth.
When I was a younger friar (even though some would laugh at that and say you still look pretty young to me) I would always enjoy hearing stories about friars that went before me. I still remember this particular friar who was labeled as a “saintly man” Fr. Manny Tavares whose bedroom was kept very simple and the only thing that he kept in his room other than the bedroom furniture was a picture of his mother. To him this was so important that he needed an image of his mother to remind him of that love his mother had for him. We also need to be reminded my dear brothers and sisters of our heavenly mother’s love for us. If we don’t have an image of the blessed mother in our homes let us do it today. Let us put a statue or an icon or any type image of the Blessed Mother in a prominent place in our homes. Let us go back to the tradition and gather together as a family and pray rosary especially during this month and really show our love and appreciate for our Mother. Holy Mary Mother of God pray for us!