Catholic Comeback: Mercy film wins, Divine Plan extends the Journey
100,000 Americans just watched a film about the Polish saint who introduced Divine Mercy. This Wednesday, “The Divine Plan” expands that story into our modern world.
“Love and Mercy: Faustina,’’ a new Catholic film, scored box office gold October 28:
- Grossing $1.4 million (just behind the $1.7 million collected the same day by No.1 blockbuster “Joker”).
- The low budget, limited release “Faustina,” filmed in Poland, was shown in 797 U.S. theaters, a fraction of the 3,936 screens showing “Joker.”
- The bottom line: $1,777 per screen for “Faustina” vs. $449 for “Joker” sales on the same date.
Timely need for Mercy: the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service Battleground Civility Poll just concluded two-thirds of Americans believe the U.S. is on the edge of civil war.
The Divine Mercy movement, born at the dawn of World War II and expanded globally by St. John Paul the Great to win the Cold War, is literally about combining suffering with love to produce a transformative Divine Mercy.
Hollywood is about numbers. Smaller films get the chance to prove a market exists via national “one night only’’ Fathom Events. By scoring so well, “Faustina” returns to theaters December 2.
John Paul’s Polish-born miracle story debuts Wednesday, November 6, showing how Faustina’s successor built on her work, carrying mercy to the whole world itself, winning the Cold War and freeing a billion slaves.
JPII connects both films
Divine Mercy is about trusting Jesus. The president and the pope featured in “The Divine Plan’’ clearly did. John Paul is a focal point in both the Faustina and Divine Plan films.
John Paul continued and expanded Faustina’s Divine Mercy mission. He made the Polish nun the first saint of the millennium while partnering with Ronald Reagan: both rose, fell (via assassination attempts six weeks apart) and were resurrected and partnered to overwhelm atheistic Soviet communism.
The Divine Mercy Chaplet and Image given to St. Faustina, feature red blood and white water (seen as rays coming from Christ in the original Divine Mercy Image). They have been compared to the red and white of the Polish flag as well as the justice and mercy as well as the crosses and resurrections we balance in our lifetimes.
God’s Divine Plan and Divine Mercy itself can be summed up by the three words Jesus wanted on the image: “Jezu Ufam Tobie,” which translates as “Jesus, I Trust in You.” God’s Divine Plan is literally that simple, as simple as you want it to be — or as complicated and complex as you need it to be.
Simplistic? Ronald Reagan, a Protestant who worked closely with key Catholic advisors, and other Christians were condemned for offering “simplistic” answers.
It’s sticking to that one thing, a core mission including the first three commandants of always putting God first, that is so hard.
John Paul: Apostle of Divine Mercy and “the Spark’’
John Paul (1920–2005) is considered an apostle of The Divine Mercy, someone who learned the story of Faustina (1905–1938) while he was a student. They both lived in Krakow, Poland. He investigated her cause of sainthood as a Bishop in the 1960s and made her the first saint of the 21st century in 2000. He is depicted in “Love and Mercy,” showing his key role.
The Spark from Poland. John Paul sparked the fall of communism starting with his June 1979 return to Poland as pope when he inspired Poles to demand a return of God to their lives. News coverage of that trip inspired Reagan, who leapt up from his California living room saying, “That’s it. The pope is the key.”
In the 1930s, St. Faustina filled hundreds of pages of her famous diary with the words she was hearing from Jesus including these:
“I bear a special love for Poland, and if she will be obedient to My will, I will exalt her in might and holiness. From her will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for My final coming” (Diary of St. Faustina, section 1732).Theologians consider John Paul to be the “Spark’’ Faustina revealed in her diary.
Someone who prayed often and had total trust in God having a Divine Plan for everyone, Reagan immediately sensed the pieces of the plan coming into place as he saw what the pope was saying in Poland in June 1979.
He could feel it. He just knew.
Reagan told an aide that day in 1979 his plan for destroying communism: “We win and they lose.”