The following article is a guest post from Fr. Anthony Co, a priest of the Diocese of Peoria, Pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Rock Island, Illinois, and a good friend whose heart burns to see the Church renewed in apostolic and missionary zeal.
I often think about how I don’t know what I don’t know. And this concerns me. So I pray: “Jesus, I know you are filled with surprises…surprise me with more of you.” Recently, I had the opportunity to spend a little time with Darren Wilson, a man who urgently prays the same thing.
For those who don’t know Darren he is a writer, producer, and director of films, such as: Holy Ghost (2014), Father of Lights (2012), Furious Love (2010) and Finger of God (2007). His great desire is to help others see and experience the love of God.
One of Darren’s gifts is that he is a provocateur in the best Christian sense. He firmly believes that God is big and we can’t put him a box. Just when you think you have God pegged, he does something unexpected. Darren loves it when God blows our minds.
So recently I was asked to fly out to South Carolina to be interviewed for his recent projects, Adventures with God. It’s different than his last films in that it’s a series of episodes. After inquiring a little about what they expected of me and getting permission from my bishop, I accepted the offer.
One thing that made me nervous is that I absolutely love my Catholic faith but I’m not the best teacher in the world. All the teachers I know love detail. They are constantly growing in knowledge about different subjects. When they speak they err on the side of talking too much in an attempt to convey all the details they think pertinent. I’m the opposite of that. I went to a great seminary and learned a lot but, truth be told, I’m not as sharp on certain topics as I was when newly ordained. I think I’ve been asked twice in the last 11 years about biomedical ethics. Now my response to topics that rarely come up is usually: Ugh, Ugh.
I got the questions they would likely ask. I studied as best I could with the time I had. Then I was flown down to Greenville, SC. The format of the show would be a table discussion between me and a bunch of other guys I’ve never met before. It was time for filming, I strapped on my collar in the warm room, and we said a prayer.
The episode I was being filmed for was called: “The Catholic Question.” Apparently, many Christians do not think that Catholics are Christians. A good number think we worship statutes, do not know Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and we are mindless drones that love mechanistic rituals. But it was clear from our filming that nobody in that room thought that. They listened carefully to my responses to: “Are Catholics Christians? What’s the story about the veneration of the Saints? What’s the solution to the divide about different types of Christians?” Then they gave their thoughts about what I said.
It was amazing. Two of them shared their own faith experiences regarding the veneration and communion of the saints that didn’t have categories in their faith tradition. These were men thirsty for Jesus. They wanted more of him even if they couldn’t explain what he was doing, even if it was unexpected and new. I want to be more like them, to be a man who chooses to let Jesus constantly surprise him.
Adventures with God and more of Fr. Anthony’s conversation in “The Catholic Question” can be viewed through a number of outlets, including: