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Pleasantville

Discussion in 'Books, movies, links, websites.' started by padraig, Dec 20, 2015.

  1. padraig

    padraig New Member

    It's wonderful how a secular movie can carry deep Spriitual meaning. one usch I watched enthralled the last couple of days was, 'Pleasantville'.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120789/

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    The story basically is that a couple of modern teenagers are drawn into a '50' black and white TV series, 'Pleasantville' , which is centered on a small town where everything is always..well pleasant.

    However the twosome are not there long before they find out the nicenss of the place comes at a very heavy price , there is for instance no sex, all the books in the town are blank, the town exists in a bubble there are no raods in or out it exists in a bubble, there is no artistic creativiy, no rock and roll music nothing to effect the constant black and white changelessness.

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  2. padraig

    padraig New Member

    The two modern teenagers change all this. The girl for instance is sexually very promiscuous and brings sex to the Garden of Eden. As sex hits home we see the characters slowly changing from a monotonous balck and whote to startling colour.

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  3. padraig

    padraig New Member

    But it is not only the town itself that has to confront change, the teenage couple remain in black and white while the town changes. For they too must confront their demons.

    There is one wonderful scene in Pleasantville where it rains for the first time. After the rain there is a shot of Pleasantville in black and white with the most beautiful many couloured rainbow hanging over it.
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  4. padraig

    padraig New Member

    Pleasantville reminded me of the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives and how it constantly kicks us on the ass , forcing us to change and I have seen this so often in my own Spiritual Life.

    For instance when I was young I was very pious. I read the lives of the saints, I constantly visited Churches for long periods. ,I went away to be a priest when I was just 15.

    Everything was Pleasant in Pleasantville.

    But then the winds of change came bring with it a long 30 years war. I saw my family and neighbours brutalised and my father imprisoned wihtout trial, houses and entire areas burnt in an orgy of anti Catholic hatred. I ended up hating myself and lossing my Faith, evntually being imprisoned myself.

    Then through Meeting Our Lady I found my Faith again. But it was no longer the Faith it was when I was young, it was no longer quite the Pleasantville Faith it once was , the serpent had come to the Garden of Eden, I had lost the niceness and innocense.

    But out of the inferno of the war and the death of Faith spiritual coulour had come to my life, it was no longer black and white. It had depth and colour, it had come alive.
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  5. padraig

    padraig New Member

    The same thing happened to me in the monastery years later. Everthing was perfect there , everything pleasant. I could pray in the chapel all day, I was shielded from the world. I was guaranteed that I would be a priest one day , everything nice everything perfect.

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    Then one day, quite suddenly God was gone. I hd entered the Dark Night of the soul which would last around a quarter of a century. I didn't understand it at the time, but God wasn't gone, He was there so intensely that I could no longer see Him. Like starring at the sun He had come so close He blinded me.

    So I lost Pleasntville again as I returned to the world.

    But you know if the war had not come , or if I had not been forced out of the monastic nest my Spiritual Life to some extent would have been in black in white, it would never have turned to colour.
     
  6. padraig

    padraig New Member

    The Flower
    The Flower

    By George Herbert 1593–1633

    How fresh, oh Lord, how sweet and clean
    Are thy returns! even as the flowers in spring;
    To which, besides their own demean,
    The late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring.
    Grief melts away
    Like snow in May,
    As if there were no such cold thing.
    Who would have thought my shriveled heart
    Could have recovered greenness? It was gone
    Quite underground; as flowers depart
    To see their mother-root, when they have blown,
    Where they together
    All the hard weather,
    Dead to the world, keep house unknown.
    These are thy wonders, Lord of power,
    Killing and quickening, bringing down to hell
    And up to heaven in an hour;
    Making a chiming of a passing-bell.
    We say amiss
    This or that is:
    Thy word is all, if we could spell.
    Oh that I once past changing were,
    Fast in thy Paradise, where no flower can wither!
    Many a spring I shoot up fair,
    Offering at heaven, growing and groaning thither;
    Nor doth my flower
    Want a spring shower,
    My sins and I joining together.
    But while I grow in a straight line,
    Still upwards bent, as if heaven were mine own,
    Thy anger comes, and I decline:
    What frost to that? what pole is not the zone
    Where all things burn,
    When thou dost turn,
    And the least frown of thine is shown?
    And now in age I bud again,
    After so many deaths I live and write;
    I once more smell the dew and rain,
    And relish versing. Oh, my only light,
    It cannot be
    That I am he
    On whom thy tempests fell all night.
    These are thy wonders, Lord of love,
    To make us see we are but flowers that glide;
    Which when we once can find and prove,
    Thou hast a garden for us where to bide;
    Who would be more,
    Swelling through store,
    Forfeit their Paradise by their pride.


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    Krizevac likes this.
  7. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I think we see a wonderful example of this kick in ass of the Holy Spirit, this loss of Pleasantville in the life of the Patron Saint of Tramps St Benedict Joseph Labre.

    From an early age all that St Joe wanted to do was to become a monk in a Cistercian monatery. But everytime he entered the moanstery it ended in failure. Monastery after monastery he entered and a great darkness fell on him, the Dark Night of the soul and St Joe was forced to leave his Pleasantville and back into the world as a wandering pilgrim.

    Finally it clicked on Jospeh his real calling was not the plesant monastery but the unpleasant life of a wandering pilgrim tramp, out of Pleasantville and into the colourful world.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02442a.htm

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  8. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I think in way we see this loss of Pleasantville is in the constant request for prayers for tehir children who have wandered from the Faith. In a way they have left the black and white world of the Faith of their Childhood. They leave Pleasantville , hopefully to refind it again in the full colour of a reborn adult Faith, tired by contact with the world.

    But there is of course a risk in all this. There does not have to be a Disney world ending. They may loose their Fiath but they do not necessarily have to refind it. Leaving Pleasantville involves risk, the risk of ebing lost forever.
     
  9. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I think too we have been experiencing this loss of Pleasantville in the Church and on the forum. The Holy Spirit is challening us to leave our collective Pleasantville and to go out again to face the colourville wrold. This is not an easy process, involving great pain , even anguish and huge risk too.

    But like St Jsopeh Labre we must pick up our pilgrim staff and walk from our won Pleasantvilles and out into the storms of the world.
     
    Krizevac likes this.
  10. Joe Crozier

    Joe Crozier Guest

    Thank you for this contemplation. I used to pray to St Joseph Labre every day but not for a while now. My old mum used to tell me I was the dirtiest child ever. Poor old Joseph suffered a few comments like that. Everything of which he is patron I have been. Other Josephs were also included in my routine. Joseph of Egypt, Joseph spouse of Mary, Joseph of Arimethea, Joseph of Cupertino, to name a few, all men who left their comfort zone, their Pleasantville, for the sake of the gospel. Your comment was far easier in its authenticity to read than the following but I felt the need to txt on my phone!
    Lately I have been reluctant to pray. I have visited the Blessed Sacrament less often and said few rosaries. Our Lady chided Conchita in Garabandal for her laziness in not visiting her Son more often in the Blessed Sacrament. I have felt chided myself recently. Tonight I made a start back with a visit. It's only across the road. I saw a pamphlet with the heading, " I have come to bring fire upon the earth and how I wish it were already kindled." Luke 12, 49
    In my missal the commentary on this is as follows:
    "Must we think of fire as referring to something precise such as love, the Gospel or the gift of the Holy Spirit would be? It is better to stay with the image of fire which purifies, burns all that is old, gives warmth and fosters life; fire of the judgement of God destroying all that is not submitted to its reforming action.
    Jesus does not come to solve everyone's problems individually but to remake the world and to bring the jewels which will remain for eternity out of the rubble. But those wishing to have a share in the glory of God The Father, as Jesus does, must take part in this work of salvation which includes the whole world with its tensions, violence, its wise and crazy achievments.
    "I must receive a baptism..." Jesus is both the leader and the first one who is going to face death as a means of obtaining resurrection. Thus step as 'agonizing' for Jesus as it is for us, is the baptism of fire which introduces us into a glorious and eternal life. This is prefigured in some way when we receive Christian baptism.
    "I came to bring division..." This is followed by words of Jesus which are so upsetting for those who wish to rest at His side. Jesus is a source of division among nations and social groups. Often people have tried to make religion into the cement of national unity or family peace. It is true that faith is a factor in peace and understanding: but it also separates those who are truly alive from those others, be they brothers or friends, who cannot have all that is now the most important to them. Many times, the wound and the scandal of this separation is so painful for them, that they turn into our persecutors.
    The Gospel does not put this world on the road to an earthly paradise, but challenges it to grow. The death of Jesus brings into full light what was hidden in hearts; likewise it reveals the lies and violence underlying our societies just as they did in the Jewish society of His time."
    All this felt relavent to your meditation and to my life as it is but I hope it does not distract people from taking time to consider what you have shared. Mine is just a quote from a book, yours is a quote from you. Thank you.
     
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  11. CrewDog

    CrewDog Guest

    All the "Whys" of this life will be revealed to us one day I'm sure. If all had been "Pleasantville" man would not have emerged from his Cave for better things ......... and how could we enjoy the Peace & Joy of Heaven without all the trails-n-tears that this life brings!???

    MERRY CHRISTMAS & GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!
     
    Joe Crozier likes this.
  12. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I think Joe the Holy Spirit is like a fountain constantly renewing itself. Constantly fresh and so in a sense constantly in your face.

    When I read what you wrote of Jesus it reminds me of this. I think sometimes we think of encountering Jesus or Our Lady we soemtimes tend to think of it as restful, as being peaceful, but I think it would be very,very challenging too. If we are open to it. For instance of Jesus or Our Lady were living in many of our Parishes or Dioceses today the first concern of the Ecclesial authorites would be to neutralise them. We see this in the lives of the saints.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2015
    Joe Crozier likes this.
  13. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I think Joe you will now this as a soldier Denis that the greatest danger to troops and armies is that they should enter Pleasantville and fall asleep. For instnace the soldier who stands guard faces the greatest danger in the temptation to day dream and to fall asleep. So the great aim of the soldier is an eternal vigilance.

    I think too the greateat aim of spiritual warfare is the same, Eternal Vigilance in our own war. We must not fall asleep, we must never fall behind. I think the Holy Spirit accomplishes this by always kicking our asses. It is up to us how we respond.

    I think what made Saints like St Joseph Labre move forward so swiftly in the spiritual life was that they were elite front line troops , the fact that St Joe lived life as a vagrant meant he had constantly to be awake, like it or not, conditions made it difficult for him to do otherwise.

    ...and so the very things we might humanly think of as a curse served to keep him bright eyed and bushy tailed. All the saints were given this gift, this great gift of being dropped right in the front line.

    For instance Mother Teresa being launched into the ghettos of Calcutta instead of staying far behind the front line in her Loreto Convent teaching the children of the well to do beheind high walls.

    We often see this front line stuff in the lives of people who are about to die. Some months before they die for instance they are told they have cancer. Suddenly they are right in the front line in pain and despair right in the forefront of the battle. This is their last chance perhaps to avoid hell or a very,very heavy Purgatory. The Holy Spirit giving them the biggest kick in the ass of their entire lives.

    So often what we see as the most terrible Cross is in fact, the greatest blessing.

    Of course even dropped in the front line it is their own choice if they stand and fight or if they run away.

    This is all our choice at times. Even the Holy Spirit can only force so much. In the end love, like Patriotism, comes down to choice.

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    Last edited: Dec 20, 2015
    Joe Crozier likes this.
  14. PotatoSack

    PotatoSack Powers

    Very nice thread Padraig. Thank you!
     
  15. Mario

    Mario Powers

    Padraig,

    Did not Jeremiah feel the same way, exclaiming that the Lord had duped him? So God moves in a way inconceivable and hard to understand at times. Why did God allow the Jesuits, after many trials, to secure fertile ground for winning souls in North America by converting the hearts of most Hurons , only to have the Iroquois decimate the Huron Nation shortly after? In my own experience, why did God raise up the Charismatic Renewal to touch the hearts of hundreds of thousands in the 1970s, only to have it enter the desert in the 1980s and lose it's dynamic thrust? I believe too that our understanding of how the Storm plays out and how the Two Hearts organize a rescue will have many unexpected twists and turns!:eek:The Holy Spirit blows as He wills; who can corral Him?

    Could this be what it means to walk by faith and not by sight? Am I willing to let the Holy Spirit give me a swift kick so that the smugness and confidence I possess might be demolished? From the human side, prayer is not so much just the experience of God, but a willingness to be a living, spirit-filled puppet under the direction of God's hand. It is a matter of trust in God's loving purposes, I think, even when we stumble in the darkness.:love::barefoot::love: The other side of this coin is the fruit of salvation for many!

    Isa 55: 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. 10 "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

    Safe on the Father's Lap!
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2015
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  16. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I was going through old Posts on the forum on the night shift last night and I came across an old one of yours Terry that was very long and very deep. I am sorry I missed these posts at the time they were writtne I must have been distracted or away somewhere. Thanks so much of rthe time you and everyone else puts into writing.

    Its ture God is full of surprises, especially the Holy Spirit who rmeinds me sometimes of Loki the Norwegian God of pranks. No more so in His giving of grace. But Ilike this quality, the fact we cannot nail Him down. I think it is when we think we can anil Him down most,we know Him least for He is a Wonid a running water , a Fire. How the Native American Indians must have loved Him when they heard Him described. Surely they must have already sensed Him , He seems so close to many of their wisest thoughts.

    On the contray in the Church we do sometimes nail down to much. For isntance the old Novice Msters and Mistresses who thought we could grow in holiness by a certain comportment.

    But God is not a pussy cat. We are about to relearn this all over again.
     
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  17. He is one of my special Joe's. What a hard and good life he had.
     
  18. I remember reading "Don't make God your eider down or prayer your pillow."
     
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