By Fr. Alexander Ezechukwu, OCD
The “Jesus Movement” of the 60’s and 70’s Reflected in New Movie
Have you heard of the new movie, Jesus Revolution?
It’s relevant now as we move toward the days of entering into the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
This stimulating movie stars Kelsie Grammer as a pastor of a Protestant church in California which opens its services to disenchanted hippies in the 1960s.
Based on a true story, the movie tracks the drama of the real-life pastor, Chuck Smith, as he struggles with a calling from God to find a way to reach out to tuned-out young people of the Woodstock era who flocked to San Francisco and other cities in search of something beyond the jaded values of their secular lives.
The pastor teams up with Lonnie Frisbee, played by The Chosen star Jonathan Roumie, to find a way to speak to the young people of the day about the Gospel in language that they could understand.
If you have a soft spot in your heart for lost souls, and the love and mercy of Jesus Christ, you will find it hard to hold back your emotions and tears as this story develops. One of the plot lines in the movie is the story of Greg Laurie, who changes from a drug-using 60s rebel to a transformed Christian who becomes a pastor of his own church. Greg breaks up with his girlfriend only to discover that his vocation is to marry her and become a pastor, which he did in real life.
It’s heartening to see a wholesome movie nowadays that favorably portrays the Christian faith even while displaying the frailty of human nature among Christians.
The Jesus movement of the 1960s and 70s was a real one. It cannot be ignored as a movement of the Holy Spirit, even though these Christians do not enjoy the fulness of truth as available through our Catholic faith.
The historical characters in the movie, with God’s grace, sparked what is now more than 1,400 Calvary Chapels in the United Sates, as well as a new Christian music genre.
The movement, recognized even by Time magazine in 1971, had its influence in the Catholic Church as the charismatic movement. Many Catholics were brought to faith in that era.
Such awakenings occur every now and then, by God’s grace, and are even happening now. It could be said that such renewals occur even more so within our own Catholic Church compared to fifty years ago. Think of all the Protestant pastors since then who have become Catholic, of the tens of thousands of youth who come to Catholic youth conferences each year, and of the plethora of Catholic media, such as EWTN and the many good Catholic video channels out there today. Our own Décor Carmeli Media will soon be launched so stay tuned.
It's now prime time for a great growth in the Catholic Church. As a Carmelite priest I am excited to be part of it. As Carmelites, we seek to bring others to a more intimate union with Christ our Lord through prayer and service to others, bolstered by the unique spirituality of prayer and friendship according to the traditions laid out by St. Teresa, St. John of the Cross, and many other saints.
I am greatly encouraged today to see the young people in our Carmelite Encounters ministry with such great enthusiasm for the Gospel and deep interest in a prayer life. Through my training and experience as a Carmelite, I can point these young people, as well as older folks, toward a deeper walk with Christ.
16th Century Awakening and St. Teresa
St. Teresa inspired a similar awakening in the 16th century in Spain. You might know her as the founder of sixteen Carmelite convents and as many men’s monasteries. She knew in her heart that many of her own communities had fallen into worldly ways, giving only lip service to a devout life of contemplation.
But her zeal for reforming her Order did not come from nowhere. She spent twenty years of her own life leading what she admitted was a mediocre life as a Carmelite nun, finally striving to live a closer union with Christ, which led to her own inner conversion. She also wanted this for her fellow Carmelite nuns and the friars as well. It was her desire that all Carmelites return to their original inspiration of life centred on friendship with Christ. For this, she enlisted the help of St. John of the Cross.
Get on Board
If you are a young Catholic man seeking your vocation in life, I encourage you to consider looking into life as a Discalced Carmelite Friar. I cannot think of anything more relevant to the needs of today for becoming more fully human by becoming more like Christ. Become part of a movement of the Holy Spirit that will change the world!
With all the problems in the Church and in the world, we might not see our objective at the end of the road. But our goal is certainly there in the person of Jesus Christ, waiting to draw everyone closer to Him. If you choose the Carmelite life, you will look back at this time in history and see, like the Jesus movement of the 60s, that God was working in a mighty way in his Church in the twenty-first century. And you know the fun part? You didn’t miss out on it!
Contact me, Fr. Alex, Carmelite Encounter Director, at +44 (0)7477 673932, email@example.com
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