The Catholic Novice: Review of “The Shack”

Over the weekend, I took my mother to go see the movie, “The Shack”.  I had read the book by William P. Young, several years ago when a priest friend of mine suggested it.  I then gave the book to my mother to read.  We went into the movie theater thinking that there is NO WAY that any producer could make this book come to life in a way that it had already done so in our minds.  I am happy to report that I was VERY wrong.

Without giving out too much information on the story line, I will say that the movie is about a man who suffers through the most heart wrenching tragedy that any parent could imagine.  This event would shake even the strongest person to their very core and make them question, “why God?”.  The movie wonderfully displays both his grief and his freedom.  It portrays the trinity as three separate characters in the film.  Sometimes these characters change depending on the needs of the main actor.  The producers and cast do such a remarkable job at making this plot come to life that there wasn’t a dry eye in the theater.  I truly believe that anyone who has seen the movie will have a lot to think about for the days and weeks to follow.

As I stated earlier, I read this book at the suggestion of a priest friend of mine.  I would like to add the disclaimer that he told me to take the book with a grain of salt as this is not a representation of the Catholic Church’s teaching on the Blessed Trinity.  It is, however, an invitation to look at how the Trinity is at work in your own life.  Everyone’s faith journey is unique and this is a beautiful thing.  God is at work in each and every single person in the world and he shows himself to all of us at different times and in different ways.  He calls us to know him but he meets us where we are in life so we can do our best to welcome him in.

I left the theater on Sunday wondering if God takes on the role of different people in our lives.  It’s a possibility.  I think it is also a strong possibility that the Holy Spirit is more at work in this world that we know.  Have you ever done something special for a friend for no apparent reason and had your friend’s response sound something like this, “this is just what I needed today”?  To me, that is the Holy Spirit working in us, to let us all know that we are loved and important.  After all, we cannot do anything without God.  Lucky for you and me, God sent his only Son to die for us and Jesus left us with the Holy Spirit to guide us as we try to hear his voice in our daily lives.  We are NEVER alone and we will NEVER have to know what it feels like to be unloved.  We just have to believe and be open.  The mystery of the Trinity is a beautiful thing.  I invite you all to spend a little time today praying to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Below I’ve written an example of a daily prayer that I recently made; calling on the Trinity for guidance.

“God the Father, I pray to you today to watch over me and protect me.  Help me to feel your presence today and every day of my life.  I thank you for the gift of your Son and your unconditional love.  God the Son, your humanity is what draws so many of us to you.  Thank you for suffering on that cross so that we may have life eternal.  Walk with me today as I journey to get closer to you and allow me to be forever open to your role in my life.  God the Holy Spirit, your voice is gentle and loving.  Help me to spend time today listening for your quiet promptings.  Give me the courage and strength to surrender myself to your will, today and always.  I pray all of these things in your glorious name, Amen.”

*I have found that it is easier for me to grasp the concept of the Holy Trinity if I address each of its three parts individually (typically I also spend time addressing Mary).

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit present themselves in our lives in 3 very different ways, we just have to pay attention and be open.

What are your tips for praying to the Trinity?  What distinct roles do you feel are at play in your life?

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