Beginning this month, I’ll be releasing several episodes that I recently recorded with a longtime friend of mine, Kale Zelden, as we engage in a close reading of a letter by Pope Benedict XVI on the theme of hope. This letter, entitled Spe Salvi or “The Hope that Saves,” has several points of convergence with the work of C.S. Lewis.
A tender soul,
making itself my captive,
as it walks into the cell,
locks the door behind it, eagerly,
and, reaching its arms through the iron bars,
throws the key far out of reach.
The little souls –
some are quite impulsive –
throw their keys with all their might.
They remind me of mother,
which isn’t surprising…
she taught me to throw when I was a child.
the great economist of the heart,
I learned that keys are made
to be thrown away.
Of course, she learned it from Father.
Father was the first to lock himself in,
to throw His key away…
with His back to the door
and a grin on His face,
He launched it over His shoulder.
He was so proud of mother
when she threw away her key.
“That’s my girl,” he said.
“That’s my girl.
Have you ever seen such an arm?” he asked me.
“Where did you get such a mother, anyway?”
This business of throwing keys away –
it wasn’t my idea, really,
though Father and Spirit like to say
that is all began with me.
It’s a conspiracy of praise on their part,
to which I willingly submit.
Father knew what He was doing
when He invented keys,
and when He sent me among men
to show them how to throw.
throwing away a key
is not such an obvious thing to do.
Having been a man,
I understand this.
Now there are many souls
throwing their keys with eager haste
and I throw with them.
Side by side
and throw away the keys.
From a collection of poems entitled Only Say The Word
I have two movies to recommend this month, both very appropriate for October, the month dedicated to the rosary. I have personal connections with the creators of both films, for full disclosure, from my years in Hollywood.
Today, I’ll post about a documentary on the life and work of Father Patrick Peyton, CSC, the Irish-born priest who initiated a worldwide movement of family prayer. The film Pray opens in theaters this weekend.
When I lived in Los Angeles, I worked for Father Peyton’s non-profit in Hollywood: Family Theater Productions. I helped to digitize a massive collection of vinyl recordings of his popular weekly radio program, Family Theater Presents, which began airing on the Mutual Broadcasting System at the end of World War II.
“Utilizing radio, films, outdoor advertising and later television, with the help of celebrities, artists and advertising practitioners, Peyton was one of the first pioneers of evangelism using mass media. He would also pioneer in conducting public rallies to bring families to pledge to pray the Rosary as a unit. These Rosary rallies attended by millions would become the most significant event where Peyton could be best remembered.” (source)
I had a chance to participate in an advance online screening this past summer, and can vouch that it’s a very inspirational look at a tireless contemporary apostle of family prayer. While it’s a timeless message, in the current social climate of radical individualism, identity politics, and the decimation of family life, it seems especially relevant as a healing balm for the culture and a sign of hope.
For theater locations and showtimes, visit https://www.praythefilm.com.
On Tuesday, I’ll post about the second movie I’m recommending for October.
On the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows (September 15):
A garden dark and darker hearts
bring agony this day;
From Sunday palms to Friday whips
the passions wave astray;
He bears the tree with broken heart
upon the stony way.
With body raised, He hangs in pain
And very few will stay
To watch the life escape Him now
Instead they run away.
But someone stands beneath the Cross
to keep despair at bay
And Christ can smile before He dies:
He hears His mother pray.
My friend and screenwriting mentor Barbara Nicolosi wrote the original script. There’s a nice article about the film on the website for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis:
Screenwriter Barbara Nicolosi says that redemptive suffering “was absolutely one of the themes” in her original script. She adds that, “the sacrifices of the children were actually as much a miracle and proof of the reality of Fatima as the Miracle of the Sun. After the July apparition [the seers] began to take on extraordinary penances and they would say, ‘For sinners.’ ” It was for this reason Nicolosi first titled the original draft of her script “For Sinners.”
For showtimes and to see which online platforms are making it available to stream, visit the website for the film.