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WHAT TO SEE: I Can Only Imagine

Starring J. Michael Finley, Dennis Quaid, Trace Adkins, Priscilla Shirer
Run time: 110 min
Rated PG

Bart Millard, lead singer of the popular Christian band Mercy Me, took just minutes to write the hit song “I Can Only Imagine,” but its inspiration was years in the making. This film of the same name provides a back story based largely on events from Millard’s formative years.

Growing up in Texas, Bart (J. Michael Finley) regularly suffers physical and emotional abuse from his father (Dennis Quaid). His mother leaves home, and in time so does Bart, who has discovered a talent for music and begins touring with an upstart Christian group. Returning home, he finds his father has changed: he’s cleaned up his act, found faith, and wants to make amends. Bart, however, is reluctant to forgive – until he learns his dad has terminal cancer.

Their reconciliation and his father’s death later inspires Bart’s breakthrough song, which prayerfully imagines what heaven will be like.

The script takes significant liberties with the actual timeline: The real-life Bart was “best friends” with his dad for the five years he battled cancer and only began his music career after his dad died when Bart was a freshman in college – but the key themes of redemption and mercy are served well in this retelling.

Bart’s portrayal is strikingly honest in depicting how he, although a professed Christian, harbors resentment toward his father and resists forgiving him. There is also a lesson on evangelization when Mercy Me’s manager, Scott Brickell (Trace Adkins), offers advice on songwriting and performing: We reach people more effectively when we share our own stories and pain, speaking from the heart.

That’s something Millard accomplishes with the title song, which wonders: “Will I stand in your presence / Or to my knees will I fall / Will I sing Hallelujah / Will I be able to speak at all?”

GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.


The importance of spiritual reading

Our mission as Legates is to study, live and spread the faith… I want to touch on the importance of studying our faith. As we all know, our purpose in life is to become saints, but how do we practically go about doing this? Of course, the Church teaches us to pray, frequent the sacraments, and to help others, but it also exhorts us to engage in spiritual reading as the normal way to nourish our faith.

Tom Monaghan

I have always been an avid reader, particularly of non-fiction; whether it be biographies, books on business, or any other topic I wanted to learn about. So, when I started getting more serious about my faith, the idea of spiritual reading made perfect sense to me. I was blessed to know Fr. John Hardon, S.J., who lived in the Detroit area and I remember in the ‘80s reading his classic book, The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan. This was my first attempt at systematic spiritual reading.

In our daily lives, we are bombarded with stimulation, so it is very easy for our thoughts to be consumed by hosts of topics, some no doubt important, but none as important as growing in our faith. We all know the importance of eating healthy food in order to be physically fit; in the same way, we need food for our mind in order to nourish our spirit. If we want to be like Christ and His saints, we need to know what they said and did.

Fr. Hardon talked about how many hours a week we spend reading or taking in information through other means, and thus the importance of setting aside time daily for spiritual reading. He also broke down spiritual reading into five categories, which he listed in order of importance. They are: (1) the Scriptures (2) the teachings of the Church (including the Catechism of the Catholic Church) (3) writings on the History of the Church (4) biographical writings of a saint or saintly person (5) any kind of reflection on the preceding categories or more generally spiritual writings.

Let me leave you with a quote I recently came across by Fr. C. John McCloskey, whom many of you know. He wrote, “Good spiritual reading, seriously entered into, will lead to more and better prayer, greater self-denial, and an increased desire to evangelize family, friends and the culture.”

PS – If you want some practical direction on where to start, let me offer the following. Do an internet search by: A Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan by Fr. C. John McCloskey. There is a recent book, How to Read Your Way to Heaven by Vicki Burbach, which has received great reviews.

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman and CEO.

Wichita IHM sisters – A fresh new nun story

When the Second Vatican Council called for the renewal of religious life, three Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters in Los Angeles never expected it would lead them from “the vineyards of California to the wheat fields of Kansas.” But that, as Sister Mary Joanne Brummel put it, was how “the Eucharistic sacrifice played out” for her and Sisters Eileen MacDonald and Mary Giovanni Oliveri, who moved to the Diocese of Wichita in Kansas in 1976 after their religious community split over differences in interpreting Vatican II’s directives.

Thriving and growing, in convent and classroom

More than four decades after starting over, the Wichita community is alive and thriving with 26 professed sisters and 3 novices, all committed to carrying on the charism that first drew their founding members to the IHM Sisters of Los Angeles. In addition to teaching in schools in the Wichita Diocese, the sisters wear traditional habits, live in community, and devote four to five hours a day to prayer.

Theirs is a way of life that once was emblematic of sisters who taught in Catholic schools before the 1960s, and it also reflects the Wichita sisters’ understanding of Perfectae Caritatis, the 1965 Vatican II decree on the adaptation and renewal of religious life.

Legate Bronwen Lewis, who serves as communications manager for the Wichita community, believes strongly in the IHM Sisters’ mission and has been working to tell people about it, emphasizing the importance of religious sisters teaching in Catholic schools. With the decline in religious communities following Vatican II, teaching sisters virtually disappeared from Catholic schools so that for the last five decades, Lewis said, most Catholic children have never encountered a religious sister in the classroom.

In Los Angeles, 600 IHM Sisters once taught in 68 elementary schools, 11 high schools, and their own college. “Those 600 sisters were some of the best teachers in the country,” said Mother Mary Magdalene, the Wichita IHM community’s current religious superior.

Lewis said the fruits of the sisters’ presence in schools cannot be underestimated as is evident from the number of religious vocations – 23 priests, 5 religious brothers and 7 religious sisters (6 of them IHM Sisters) – that have emerged from the Wichita IHM Sisters’ students since the community arrived in the diocese.

Had they not left Los Angeles, however, the Wichita Sisters believe much of their original charism and teaching apostolate would have been lost. Most members of the LA community ultimately left religious life altogether or joined a new, ecumenical group that continues as the Immaculate Heart Community, but with a vastly different look and mission focused on such concerns as the environment and justice for immigrants and women. Another 60 sisters, including the 3 who left for Wichita on the advice of the Vatican, had wanted to remain faithful to the IHM charism, but could not agree on how to live it out. The sisters who stayed in Los Angeles and did not join the new ecumenical community eventually dwindled to the point that only a few members remain today.

Begun anew to survive

Mother Mary Magdalene said it took great courage for the three who relocated to begin again in Kansas, especially considering their ages at the time of 62, 63, and 73. “They were brokenhearted . . . but had they not done this, the IHM charism might not exist.”

Indeed, numerous women’s religious communities lost their identity and declined dramatically after undergoing reforms that dismantled such traditional aspects of religious life as living and praying in community, wearing a habit, and having a corporate apostolate, according to Ann Carey, author of Sisters in Crisis: The Tragic Unraveling of Women’s Religious Communities (Our Sunday Visitor).

As a result, she said, “Many, including some of the most influential orders of the 20th century, will soon cease to exist, or exist only in an unrecognizable form led by lay associates.” Carey, who delved into the archival records of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and other prominent groups of sisters for her research, said she thinks the Vatican II directives were either misinterpreted or used by progressive leaders as an excuse to implement changes that were influenced by the culture of the 1960s.

For sisters who disagreed with those changes to break away from an existing community required the willingness to find a receptive bishop and begin the long process of canonical recognition, Carey said. Nonetheless, some did so with varying results. “That said, I do think the success of the IHMs of Wichita is rather unusual.”

Besides their apostolate of teaching and prayer, the sisters in Wichita see the advancement of religious life as a key part of their mission. “At this point, we’re really focusing on vocations,” Mother Mary Magdalene said. The community opened a novitiate house of formation in 2015, choosing to build it before a motherhouse because of the emphasis on vocations. “Young women were coming, but asking, ‘If we come, where will you put us?’”

New novitiate house for burgeoning vocations

Until the novitiate house was built, the Wichita sisters had lived in various diocesan-owned buildings. “We outgrew every convent we’ve been in, and in 2012 decided we had to build,” Mother Mary Magdalene said. “ . . . We approached the bishop and said we were being thwarted in our vocation work and that young women who want to come don’t feel we have a place for them. So we really emphasized the importance of purchasing property and building.”

In 2012, the sisters bought 80 acres near Colwich, Kansas, and contacted Lewis for advice. She agreed to help, having met the sisters years earlier when she was director of development and planned giving for the Diocese of Wichita and having promised thenBishop Thomas Olmsted that she would be available to them. Since then, Mother Mary Magdalene said, “Bronwen has never left. It’s a beautiful arrangement we have. She loves it. We can’t do this without her.”

Since beginning the building project, Mother Mary Magdalene said, the community has been steadily attracting vocations. In addition to the three novices, two of the sisters recently professed vows. “They’re persevering, beautiful, strong, dedicated young women whom we’ve been praying for. So we’re growing.”

According to Carey, it is not unusual that a community like the Wichita IHMs would be growing. “Multiple studies have shown that young people are more inclined to join an order that has retained the distinctive characteristics of religious life than the more diverse orders that continue to decline,” she said. “So, I believe that religious orders of the future will look a lot like the IHMs of Wichita: faithful, relevant, joyful, and very much appreciated and respected by the Church and by those whose lives they touch.”

Eventually, the Wichita sisters do hope to add a motherhouse, but for now, the house of formation, which has a chapel and community room, is serving that purpose by housing the general superior and several teaching sisters in addition to the novices and postulants and those guiding their formation. Other members of the community still live in several local convents.

…and guest house and shrine

Also on the property are a guest house for the sisters’ visiting family members and a shrine to Our Lady of Fatima. Both were built to establish the community’s presence on the site until the sisters could live there. Since its completion in 2013, the shrine has drawn hundreds of people for processions held on May 13 and Oct. 13, the dates of the first and last Fatima apparitions.

“This past year, we had over 700 people come,” Mother Mary Magdalene said, “and it’s just been a great way to promote Our Lady of Fatima and the Rosary and Marian devotion in general.”

During the processions, the sisters have presented Mary with cards representing more than three million Memorares. They have solicited the prayers as part of their “Millions of Memorares for Mary” campaign, asking people to pray what is known as “Mother Teresa’s quick novena” – nine Memorares in petition and one in thanksgiving – for the conversion of sinners, an intention mentioned by Mary at Fatima and also part of the sisters’ apostolate.

Mother Mary Magdalene said the sisters always have had an affinity for Our Lady of Fatima because her message is in keeping with their charism. Their Marian devotion also includes praying and promoting the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows of Mary, which they wear on their habits. They currently are making and distributing the rosaries, and encouraging people to pray them for their own families and for religious vocations. “Strong families are the seedbed for religious vocations,” Mother Mary Magdalene said, “so this is something we’re doing and spending a lot of energy on.”

IHM Sisters’ journey from Spain to America

The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Wichita trace their origins to Olot, Spain, where Father Joaquin Masmitja, known as their father founder, gathered seven young women to serve as teachers in 1848. At the time, the Spanish government did not allow the formation of new religious institutes, but Father Masmitja managed to form the young women in the spiritual life, calling them the Daughters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Some 23 years later, California Bishop Tadeo Amat, having heard about the work the women were doing in Spain, asked for volunteers to come to his mission diocese of Monterey and Los Angeles. Ten left for California on Aug. 2, 1871, to establish schools. By 1924, the professed IHM sisters in California numbered 100 and their community was declared a pontifical institute separate from the motherhouse in Spain.

The sisters went on to serve along California’s coast in elementary and secondary schools and in their own Immaculate Heart College, later expanding into Texas and Arizona and adding health care and retreat work to their apostolate.

In the 1960s, however, a split occurred when many in the community sought to alter their way of life and apostolate in response to the Second Vatican Council’s call for the renewal of religious life. Three sisters moved to Wichita with the intent of preserving their community’s original charism and in hopes of becoming a province of the California community.

When it appeared that would not be possible, the Wichita sisters received dispensation from their vows and became autonomous in 1979. They continued their work of teaching and prayer and, after a lengthy process, the Wichita community was declared a religious institute of diocesan right in 2007.

JUDY ROBERTS is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

Morality of behavior hinges on three elements

I was pleasantly surprised a few years ago when visiting our parish CCD class. A young boy simply said: “You have to be good in order to be happy.” I told him that St. Thomas Aquinas would be pleased to hear him say this. But how do we make good choices in life? The simple answer is that we need to learn how God wants us to live, and then do that – “Thy will be done.” Our Divine Savior revealed God’s will to mankind by word and example. Jesus commanded His apostles to teach this revelation to all nations. The Church over the ages has set forth clear teachings to instruct the faithful in the way of Christ’s truth.

Fr. Gerald Murray

On the question of the morality of our actions, the Church has given very specific guidance in the Catechism of the Catholic Church on how to judge what we should do, and not do. In paragraphs 1750-1754 we learn the constitutive elements of the moral evaluation of human acts: “The morality of human acts depends on: the object chosen; the end in view or the intention; the circumstances of the action.” Object, intention and circumstances: These three elements determine the moral evaluation of any human act.

Regarding the object the Catechism states: “The object chosen is a good toward which the will deliberately directs itself. It is the matter of a human act. The object chosen morally specifies the act of the will, insofar as reason recognizes and judges it to be or not to be in conformity with the true good. Objective norms of morality express the rational order of good and evil, attested to by conscience.” By a choice of our will we seek some good in our life. The question is: is it a true good, something pleasing to God? God gave us our reasoning so that we might discover what is pleasing to him in the variety of possible choices we make in life. Once discovered, we should act in conformity with that good, seeking the help of God’s grace.

Regarding one’s intention, the Catechism states: “In contrast to the object, the intention resides in the acting subject. Because it lies at the voluntary source of an action and determines it by its end, intention is an element essential to the moral evaluation of an action. The end is the first goal of the intention and indicates the purpose pursued in the action. The intention is a movement of the will toward the end: It is concerned with the goal of the activity. It aims at the good anticipated from the action undertaken.” We seek what we think will produce good in our life, but that alone does not make our choice good in itself. It is a good choice if we seek what is objectively good.

Our intention cannot change an evil act into a good act simply by claiming that we have the best of intentions when doing something that is evil by its very nature. The Catechism states: “A good intention (for example, that of helping one’s neighbor) does not make behavior that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and calumny, good or just. The end does not justify the means.”

Regarding circumstances the Catechism states: “The circumstances, including the consequences, are secondary elements of a moral act. They contribute to increasing or diminishing the moral goodness or evil of human acts (for example, the amount of a theft). They can also diminish or increase the agent’s responsibility (such as acting out of a fear of death). Circumstances of themselves cannot change the moral quality of acts themselves; they can make neither good nor right an action that is in itself evil.”

The task at hand for each of us is, with the help of God’s grace, to conform our lives to God’s law and to the example His Son Jesus Christ set for us.

FATHER GERALD MURRAY is pastor of Holy Family Church, New York, NY. He holds a doctorate in canon law from Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and appears as commentator on religious topics on TV and radio, including EWTN, Fox News, Fox Business, MSNBC, NY1, Radio Maria, Relevant Radio, Fox News Radio and the Voice of America. He writes a monthly column for “The Catholic Thing” website. He served in U.S. Navy Reserve Chaplain Corps from 1994 to 2005.

On battling Arianism: then and now

The Church has confronted a dazzling and depressing number of heresies in her long history – Gnosticism, Pelagianism, Jansenism, to name just a few – and one that for a time seemed on the verge of establishing its dark ascendancy over Christianity was Arianism.

Dr. Matthew E. Bunson

At its heart, Arianism proposed that the Son of God was not eternal but was created by the Father from nothing. Christ was thus a changeable creature, his dignity bestowed upon him as Son of God.

The heresy was condemned at the Council of Nicaea in 325 thanks in large measure to the heroic stand by St. Athanasius of Alexandria. But by the cunning of its supporters, it was rehabilitated and forced upon the common faithful by heretical Roman emperors and their ecclesiastical minions. As St. Jerome wrote during the crisis, the world “awoke with a groan to find itself Arian.”

Arianism was finally defeated in 381 at the Council of Constantinople through the unflagging labors of several Fathers and Doctors of the Church, including St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, and St. Gregory of Nyssa.

It would be a mistake, however, to think that heresy – especially the Arian heresy – is a relic of the past that cannot happen again. In fact, we are seeing a resurgence of it today. The great historian and Catholic apologist Hilaire Belloc once observed, “As all heresies necessarily breathe the air of the time in which they arise, and are necessarily a reflection of the philosophy of whatever non-Catholic ideas are prevalent at that moment they arise, Arianism spoke in the terms of its day.”

And our times are a most fertile environment for a kind of NeoArianism. Original Arianism taught that Jesus was a mere creature, while today’s version exists in a therapeutic, materialistic, and secularizing culture that also rejects a Jesus Who is the Son of God and the Second Person of the Trinity. Instead, He is a revolutionary who called for Marxist liberation against existing power structures, or He is a kind of guru or teacher who encourages us toward a journey of spiritual exploration that demands neither repentance nor even an awareness of sin. If He was divine at all it is because He was able to “self-actualize his divine potential,” and He most certainly never intended to establish a Church, because after all, since we are more spiritual than religious we don’t need a Church to limit our freedom with rules and judgement.

Neo-Arians are found in great numbers today even in the Church. As Fr. Dwight Longenecker wrote several years ago in the National Catholic Register, “The difference between Arius and the modern heretics is that Arius was actually explicit in his teaching. The modern heretics are not. They inhabit our seminaries, our monasteries, our rectories and presbyteries. They are the modernist clergy who dominate the mainstream Protestant denominations and who are too many in number within the Catholic Church as well.”

What is the antidote?

It is the same as it was in the 4th century. We begin by deepening our own knowledge of the Faith, by proclaiming Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Second Person of the Trinity. It is also vital to be willing to speak with clarity but with charity with our families, friends, and those we meet about what the Church actually teaches and asks us to believe. In a society where even the words “truth,” “Christ,” “judgment,” “sin,” and “authority” can trigger hostile responses, we should also be prepared to face criticism, ostracism, mockery, and one day soon perhaps persecution for identifying them. Athanasius faced the same challenges and endured five exiles from his beloved Alexandria for speaking out. He was willing to stand against the whole world, and though in the end the true faith triumphed, it came at a high price for him and many others. We are asked to speak and to live the truth. Are we also willing to pay the price?

DR. MATTHEW E. BUNSON serves as EWTN senior contributor and a senior editor for the National Catholic Register. He writes from Washington, D.C.

Meet the Chaplain: Fr. Fred Klotter – Louisville Chapter

Longtime Louisville native endorses Legatus’ spiritual strength

Father Fred Klotter is the first chaplain to serve Legatus’ Louisville Chapter, which just chartered on February 7. Father Klotter, 56, a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville for 21 years, is also the current pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in Louisville, Kentucky. He recently spoke with Legatus magazine staff writer Brian Fraga.

Fr. Fred Klotter

How did you become acquainted with Legatus?

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz asked me at the end of last summer if I’d be interested in doing this if he got a chapter started, and I said yes. We had our first meeting in October, and we got our requisite number of members to start, so I’m kind of excited about it.

Had you heard much about Legatus beforehand?

I had heard of it, but I really had no idea what it was. I didn’t have any background on it, but since then I’ve discovered that two of my priest friends in other cities are chaplains of the chapters in their towns, so there is some camaraderie there.

What are your impressions of Legatus so far?

I think it’s a spiritually strong and worthwhile thing to do. Somebody asked me recently what’s the purpose of the organization or what kind of projects are they going to take on. I said, “Well, really they’re just there for their own spiritual development.” I think it’s great to take time out in our busy lives to work on spiritual development.

How did you discern your vocation to the priesthood?

In my first life as I say, I was an accountant at a bank. I had a calling experience in my late 20s, so I pursued what I felt I was called to do.

Did your later calling catch you by surprise or did you see it coming?

I had felt it for some time, but it was never really clear to me, at least until it crystallized in my late 20s.

Does your accounting background come in handy in your priesthood?

It helps me immensely in running the parish.

How do you balance your responsibilities as a pastor?

This is something that’s always in flux. It’s sort of being judicious in deciding what you’re going to focus on and what you are not, because you can’t focus on everything.

What other priestly assignments have you had?

I was the pastor of another parish here in Louisville. Before that, I did two years of graduate school in Rome, getting my license in canon law. Before that, I was doing some ministry in rural Kentucky where I was a sacramental moderator for three small rural parishes.

Where did you grow up?

I’m a Louisville native. In fact, my parish is probably only about three or four miles from the house I grew up in.

What are your hobbies?

I sing in a choral group here in town called the Louisville Master Chorale. I enjoy that a lot. I work out and I like to eat, so those two things hopefully balance themselves out. Not always,
but sometimes.

Nancy Haskell – Legatus Vice President

From start as chapter coordinator, diverse experience brings versatile skill

Nancy Haskell, 41, a Michigan native who has worked for Legatus since 1999, became Legatus’ vice president in September 2017. Formerly the Great Lakes regional director, Haskell now oversees a variety of the organization’s day-to-day activities. While attending the Legatus 2018 Summit in January, she spoke with Legatus magazine staff writer Brian Fraga.

Nancy Haskell

What does your role as vice president entail?

As vice president, I am responsible for Legatus’ magazine, marketing, website, and training department, as well as Legatus’ forums and ambassador Atlarge programs. To enhance and expand Legatus, I also assist with overall strategic planning and new chapter development.

How did your previous positions in Legatus prepare you for this new role?

I feel very prepared. Having started as a chapter coordinator and serving in a variety of roles to this point, I have a good knowledge of the organization. I understand the Legatus membership and the field staff positions that serve them. I’m looking forward to using this knowledge to enhance all of the departments that are involved in my new role.

What does the future hold for Legatus?

Right now, the focus is on enhancing the Legatus experience and introducing the Legatus mission to as many Catholic executives as possible. As the Legatus team works to expand throughout the entire United States, we’re striving to grow the Legatus Endowment Fund to raise the necessary funds to expand internationally.

What drew you to Legatus early on?

I have always been passionate about firing up Catholics for their faith. Before joining Legatus, I shared my personal testimony at youth events, served on Net Ministries, and organized retreats at my local parish. I felt that if Catholics knew more about their faith, as a result, they would be on fire about it and the Faith would become contagious to others. When I received an invitation to work for Legatus, I knew the Legatus mission to study, live, and spread the Faith would be a perfect fit for this passion.

What value do you see Legatus having for its members and for the Church?

Legatus is truly a ministry where Catholic business leaders are offered the opportunity to deepen their faith through monthly events that offer the sacraments, fellowship, and education through top-notch presenters. The membership includes extremely talented people who know how to get a job done. It’s wonderful to watch them partner with other Legatus members and to be inspired by their peers. The value of having a business executive living out the Faith is not limited to a business leader’s soul, but has the infinite potential to dramatically change the Church through spoken and unspoken evangelization with family, community, peers, and employees.

What was your life like growing up?

I grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. My entire family is Catholic and passionate about the Faith. My dad is a Legatus member, retired attorney, and actively running a nonprofit. I couldn’t speak more highly of my parents and entire family of origin which includes four siblings, spouses, and 16 nieces and nephews. I have four children. My daughter, Mariah, is at Ave Maria University, and I have three sons – Josh is in high school, Caleb is in middle school, and Elijah is attending grade school.

Do you have any hobbies or interests?

I love to ski and do event planning for my family and friends.

How would you describe your experience at the Legatus Summit?

I enjoy seeing Legatus members connect with other members from across the country. A typical Legatus experience is at the chapter level where members get to see the impact locally. However, when members attend the Summit, they get to see firsthand the impact that Legatus is having on the world.

Catholicism and Intelligence

Fr. James V. Schall, S.J.
Emmaus Road Publishing, 165 pages

“Catholicism and intelligence belong together,” writes Fr. James Schall, professor emeritus of Georgetown University and a prolific writer, in his introduction to this philosophical journey affirming the necessity of both reason and revelation in the search for truth. History shows how one can reason exquisitely and still not find truth if one seeks it apart from revelation: simply put, revelation perfects reason, and reason articulates and deepens our understanding of revelation. Authentic Catholicism, Fr. Schall argues masterfully in this collection of essays, is what truthseekers need today in order to find ultimate meaning amid today’s troubled and confused world.

Order: Emmaus Road Publishing, Amazon


Starring Jackson Rathbone, Billy Zane, Taylor James, Caitlin Leahy
Run time: 109 min
Rated PG-13

Some men complain if a barbershop trim sets them back more than $10. Others don’t mind plunking down $25 if it includes a shampoo and scalp massage. The biblical Samson paid even
more: his first and last haircut ultimately cost him his life.

The just-released film “Samson” takes some liberties with the scriptural story from Judges 13-16 and places it within a smooth and engaging narrative. Amid cardboard Philistine villains like the sinister and sadistic Rallah (Jackson Rathbone), heir to the throne of his arrogant father King Balek (Billy Zane), more complex and nuanced roles are left to the reluctant hero Samson (Taylor James) and his duplicitous lover Delilah (Caitlin Leahy).

Samson, consecrated a Nazirite at birth, sports rugged good looks and a generous heart but is filled with self-doubt, a sense of failure, and an unwillingness to fulfill the task to which God calls him. It takes a pep talk from his brother and a run-in with a ferocious lion to turn his focus toward his true destiny. Samson is also a ladies’ man, with a particular weakness for Philistine women, which winds up being his downfall as he is easily seduced by beauty. For her part, Delilah, the aspiring beautician, freely participates in Samson’s undoing despite harboring real feelings for him.

It’s a presentation of PureFlix, which also produced recent squeaky-clean Christian-themed films like “God’s Not Dead” and “Woodlawn,” so the lack of risqué sexual elements is not a surprise. Still, there is a fair amount of violence and some bloodshed in the course of hand-to hand combat and executions. There’s bound to be a bit of that when a strong man slays thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. “Samson” deserves its PG-13 rating for that reason, so perhaps it’s not ideal viewing for younger children.

GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

Opt for root sustenance of body and soul

Chef John D. Folse

“Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are,” penned the world-renowned chef, Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, in his 1826 volume The Physiology of Taste. German philosopher and moralist, Ludwig Feuerbach, also believed that “man is what he eats.” If we truly believe that the foods that we eat comprise our bodily constitution, then it follows that what we feed our minds is also what constitutes our moral beliefs and daily spirituality. In other words, we are what we watch, read, listen to, and think. If you watch sexually explicit television or read vulgarity, you feed your soul a diet of pornography.

While many suppose that the “duties of religion” are the responsibilities of priests, nuns, and brother monks, it is actually the responsibility of the lay apostolate to be salt of the earth – to infiltrate the nooks and crannies of daily life where the religious rarely trod. As laity, our daily spiritual diet must consist of wholesome reading including Sacred Scripture, maintaining holy friendships, and meditating on the lives of the saints, Jesus Christ, and His Holy Mother, Mary. We must emblemize the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. We all enjoy the guilty pleasures of “junk food” for the body and the brain; however, it is up to each of us to evangelize the culture by being proponents of Christian values and morality.

“If they don’t stand for something, they will fall for anything,” wrote Dr. Gordon A. Eadie in the January 1945 issue of the journal Mental Hygiene. If we refuse to stand for truth and moral values, then moral relativism will continue to reign in movies, television, song lyrics, books, the Internet, rallies, medical facilities, politics, laws, and political correctness. We must understand that many evils are veiled in tolerance. As John LaBriola wrote in Onward Catholic Soldier, “Satan loves to spread the lie that tolerance is a virtue and intolerance is a sin. He wants to replace truth with tolerance. Tolerance is an affront to justice for justice permits only that which is God; tolerance permits everything except intolerance. Tolerance is one of Satan’s most effective lies.” At times, our missionary task of salvaging truth may seem overwhelming. We may feel “too small” to affect change in any measurable way. However, we must remember that like the Apostles who evangelized the world long before the digital revolution, we are fishermen for Christ.

While the nutritionist Victor Lindlahr strongly touted in the 1920s and ‘30s that food controls health, that same notion might well be first attributed to the Roman Catholic Church. Do we not nourish our bodies and souls on the body and blood of Christ at every Eucharistic Supper? Yes, we are what we eat; and, we are what we feed our soul.

CHEF JOHN D. FOLSE is an entrepreneur with interests ranging from restaurant development to food manufacturing, catering to culinary education. A cradle Catholic, Chef Folse supports many Catholic organizations including the Sister Dulce Ministry at Cypress Springs Mercedarian Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, LA.

Honey-Glazed Roasted Root Vegetables

Serves: 12
Prep Time: 1.5 hours

1 1/4 pounds parsnips, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 1/4 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 (1 1/4-pound) celery root, peeled, quartered and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 1/4 pounds golden beets, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup Steen’s cane syrup
6 thyme sprigs
salt and ground black pepper to taste
granulated garlic to taste
2 tbsps sherry vinegar

Preheat oven to 425°F. In a large bowl, toss root vegetables with oil, honey, cane syrup, and thyme then season with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic to taste. Divide between 2 large, rimmed baking sheets. Cover with aluminum foil and roast 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender, shifting pans once. Remove foil and roast 10 additional minutes. Return vegetables to bowl, stir in vinegar then adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.