Journeys of Faith Help Us To See: in Life and in Film “Risen”

Even though my blog has had new  posts, I’ve a secret. The truth is that for the past two weeks I haven’t been online much. I wrote those entries before I left on my trip to Rome and scheduled them to post. So I was deeply touched this morning, after my return, to discover how many of you are happy that I’m returning to weekly blogging, “liking” my posts and sharing them.  A huge thank you!

I prayed for you while I was in Rome, especially in three places that are more meaningful for me:

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One of the chapels at the Generalate of the Daughters of St. Paul, at the “Casa San Paolo” where we had our meetings. I prayed for you there especially upon my arrival and on World Communications Day on May 8th.

 

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At Saint Peter’s, I carried all of you in my heart through the holy door for the Jubilee of Mercy.

 

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At the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls, I prayed for you at Mass and then at the tomb of St. Paul. I feel  I received many graces.

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Praying at the tomb of St. Paul the Apostle.

I was blessed to be able to visit Saint Paul’s Basilica twice, participate at Mass there twice, and pray at St. Paul’s tomb several times. (My second visit was a half-day mini-retreat.) I suspect a few people thought I was crazy to make a retreat at Saint Paul’s Basilica when there is so much to see in Rome, and I still hadn’t done half of the things I’d like to do there, but it’s such a special place for me. I found out recently how often our Founder, Blessed James Alberione, used to go and pray there—especially when he was starting the film apostolate—and so it’s grown even more meaningful for me to pray there. Unknown to me, he and I prayed for the film apostolate in the same place, some 65-75 years apart!

My trip to Rome was a beautiful opportunity to deepen my understanding and living of the apostolic mysticism of our Pauline spirituality. It was also a wonderful opportunity to reunite and meet with many Daughters of Saint Paul who are communicating Christ in various ways throughout the world. I feel like I am overflowing with good news to share about my own journey of faith…and I’ll be blogging about that!

I wanted to add to my earlier blogpost about traveling as a writer, with pilgrim eyes of faith. Another advantage of traveling as a writer is the way the lack of familiarity puts you in touch with living in the present moment. When we are away from home—and especially if we are visiting outside of our country—we realize how very much of our lives is out of our control, and how much we depend on God and others for our daily needs. I found that when I placed my trust in God for the things that I would normally take for granted (for example, finding food that fit within my restricted diet), I received so much more than what I needed! God blessed my little acts of faith with abundance. This kind of entrusting ourselves to God’s care (usually received through others’ goodness) is an essential aspect of pilgrimage, and it also creates space in us to receive. Being more receptive to the unexpected is, of course, a wonderful way for writers in particular to relate to the world around them, as it compels us to live fully in the present moment, attentive to the “fingerprints” of God in our day. The pilgrimage journey of faith opens us up as writers to notice and live within the action of God.

RisenDigitalReleaseWhile I was on the last days of my journey of faith this week in Rome, the film Risen, which is a cinematic journey of faith, released digitally. You may have read my review of Risen when it was released in the theaters, where I talk about the film as an excellent “launching pad” for prayer, reflection, and dialogue about faith and what it means in our lives. Risen is now available digitally on iTunes, Amazon digital download, and several other places. (The full list of available sites to stream or download a digital copy is here.) In two weeks, Risen will release to DVD, and as a way to help people become more aware of the film, I’m participating in a Risen blog tour, as well as a special DVD giveaway, courtesy of Sony. (I’ll post the details soon—check back!) For the film’s release, I will make available a reflection/prayer guide for the film that you can download and use personally or with a group.

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