Reel Spirituality 2014

by Fr. Chris Hardman

Our overall Lenten educational theme this year is "Living as Easter People in a Lenten World." When I was thinking about that theme for our Reel Spirituality program, I immediately thought of the film genré of comedy. When I am feeling the darkness of winter-and believe me this has been a dark and cold one-I gravitate toward movie comedies to relieve some of those dark, depressing feelings. A good comedy can make it feel like Easter even in the midst of Lent. In addition, a good comedy can help us experience the Holy Spirit at work in our lives, bringing us into relationship with others and, indeed, grafting us into community where we find new life together.

So this year, we are going to look at the film genré of comedy and allow movies to teach us something about God's work in our lives. Laughter is healing. The Holy Spirit is healing. Thus, there has to be some sort of connection. We are going to try to discover what that link is!

On March 12th, we will look at the various categories of film comedy. Then we will look at the basic law of reality as articulated by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Christian mystic of the 20th century. Teilhard believed that all reality from inert elementary particles to the most sophisticated human social system work according to the basic process of attraction-connection-complexity-consciousness. Remarkably, this process reveals how we can identify the Holy Spirit working in our world and in our lives.

On March 19th, we will address the Holy Spirit's work of attraction and connection using Romantic Comedies like It Happened One Night, When Harry Met Sally, Pretty Woman, and Bull Durham.

On March 26th, we will look at how the Holy Spirit builds complexity in our lives through the challenges of diversity and contradiction. We will look at the work of some of the great comedy duos as well as some of the great comedy spoofs like Christmas Vacation, Caddyshack, The Producers, The Jerk, and Blazing Saddles. We hope to see how embracing contradiction is one of the keys to growing closer to God and the world God is making.

On April 2nd, we will look at how the Holy Spirit brings us to greater consciousness of Sin.. For the Apostle Paul, Sin is not a private reality it is a corporate one. When we look at some of the great comedy parodies and spoofs like Dr. Strangelove or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb, M.A.S.H, and Duck Soup we begin to understand the corporate nature of Sin that enslaves us all and how we might begin to move out of it and find life together.

On April 9th, Jane Wolfe, director of Bog Chapel, Inc. an educational not-for-profit organization focusing on spiritual health and fitness for individuals and groups, will be our guest speaker. She will teach us some spiritual practices that will help us get in touch with the Holy Spirit's movement in our lives and thus bring us to greater awareness of who we are and where God is leading us.

This should be a fun as well as stimulating Lenten Program. So come ready to laugh at some of the great film comedies of all time and to get in touch with the Holy Spirit already working in your life. We will gather at 6:00 pm for soup and salad followed by the program at 6:30 pm. As in the past we will end the program at 7:30 pm.

Please call or email Laurel O'Donnell at or call the office at (847)251-6120 and sign up each week so we will order enough food for everyone. See you there!