Be holy. You were not created to fit, you were born to stand out!
A powerful testimony of Jim Caviezel the protagonist of The Passion of Christ
At the beginning of February 2018, Jim Caviezel, the protagonist of "The Passion of Christ", caused a stir when he addressed thousands of young people gathered at the SLS18 Congress (Student Leadership Summit 2018), an event that brought together young Catholic college students in Chicago, United States. He is also the actor of the new film "Paul, Apostle of Christ" harangued and inflamed the attendees by making a powerful call to live the faith, to fight for the truth, and to conquer the holiness.
In the video presented below, we see the actor first talking about the need to "become small to be great in the eyes of God", clarifying that this type of grandeur is not how the world understands it, but is the greatness of the saints. Thus, Caviezel emphasizes that it is in this way that Saul (meaning "great") became the great apostle Paul (which providentially means small).
The actor also makes a small account of his personal experience and different facts in his life that has helped him to understand more genuinely the power of vocation and redeeming the value of suffering. He even mentions that being on the cross –during the filming of the film "The Passion of Christ" – he could understand that «in the suffering is our redemption and that the disciple is only his master». He also said that "we must all bear our cross" because "there is a price for our faith, for our freedoms".
Towards the middle of the video, however, the intensity of his speech increases and vibrates his audience, because Caviezel proclaims faith as seldom seen in a Hollywood actor. Then we include a fragment of his harangue (from Minute 8:31):
"Suffering styled my performance [in the Passion of Christ], as well as till our lives. Some of us –you know them– cling to a false Christianity, where all are pretty words (I call it "the Happy Jesus" and "Glory"). Guys, there was much pain and suffering before the resurrection. Your paths will not be different, so load your cross and walk towards your goal.
I want you to go out into this pagan world, I want you to have the courage to stand in front of this pagan world and show, without shame, your faith in public. The world needs proud warriors animated by their faith. Warriors like St. Paul and St. Luke, who risked their name and reputation to lead the world to their faith and love for Jesus.
God calls each one of us, each one of you, to do great things, but how often we fail in our response, rejecting it as if it were a mere digression of our mind! It is time for our generation to accept that call; the call of God urging us all to give ourselves entirely to Him and see His sweet hand guiding our way.
But first, we must also commit to starting to pray, to fast, to meditate in the holy scriptures, and to take the holy sacraments seriously. Because now we are a decaying culture. People in danger of succumbing to their excesses, the whole world is clinging to sin. But there, in the silence of our hearts, God is calling each one of us to give ourselves entirely to him and how often we ignore him, we ignore his sweet call...
The great saint of Auschwitz, San Maximiliano Kolbe, he said that Indifference is the great sin of the XX century. Dear brothers and sisters, it is also the great sin of the 21ST century. We must shake this indifference, this destructive tolerance of evil. Only our faith in the wisdom of Christ can save us, but he demands warriors willing to risk his reputation, his name, even his own life to defend the truth.
Be different from this corrupt generation. Be holy. You have not been created to fit in, you were born to stand out! Because now in our country it makes it very easy to go with the current... We have elevated an altar to freedom where all options are the same no matter what the consequences. Do you honestly think this is true freedom? Pope John Paul-Magno said that democracy cannot be sustained without a shared commitment to certain moral truths about the human person and the human community. The basic question posed by a democratic society is: how should we live together? Looking for an answer to this: can society exclude moral truth and moral reason? Every generation of Americans has to know that freedom exists not to do what you want, but to have the right to do what you owe. This is the freedom I desire for you: free from sin, free from your weaknesses, free from this bondage of sin that subjugates us all. This is the freedom worth dying for".
After remembering the harangue in the film "Brave Heart," Jim Caviezel concluded by saying: "They can take our lives, but they will never take away our freedom. All men die, but not all of them truly live. By god we must live, and with the Holy Spirit as a shield and Christ as a sword, they can join St. Michael and all angels and send Lucifer and his henchmen to hell where they belong!"
In this same spirit of courage and spiritual battle, I share with you a phrase of the great St. John of Avila that refers to the constant struggle that life is and that, personally, gives me the perspective of the inconsistencies of life: «If our Lord returned to heaven wounded and stricken, we will go the servants dressed and bathed? '
Jim Caviezel's call from to live the faith, to fight for the truth, and to conquer holiness come true in our lives, for our good and that of all who surround us. May we ask our Lord to give us this grace.