You can probably already tell that here at Eternity Project we are big fans of film and television (see Esther’s blog on Bridgerton as an example if you haven’t already). It’s important to think carefully about what we are filling our minds with, and what media we are consuming, but there is just something so compelling about good characters and a good story!
It’s probably something to do with the fact that every story is in some way an echo of the story, the story of love between God and His people. St John Paul II tells us that there is a distant echo in each of our hearts that reminds us of God’s original plan, the way things should have been, the way things were before the fall. Love is always louder, and this echo increases in volume when we happen to stumble across stories that speak to the deepest parts of us about the way things should (or shouldn’t) be.
On two different Theology of the Body retreats I’ve been on we have spent a session watching a film and then talking about it in light of what we’ve been learning. Once you start looking for these connections between human stories and God’s story it’s very hard to stop. When something clicks into place it just seems to make so much sense, and the visual reminder of the film or show helps cement the learning.
One of my latest watches has been Fate: The Winx Saga on Netflix, a young adult drama about a girl who finds out that she is a fairy and then attends a school for fairies. Bloom is a fire fairy, but only finds this out after setting fire to her house following an argument with her parents. She becomes afraid of her powers and needs to go to Alfea, the school for fairies, in order to learn how to control them rather than letting them control her.
In some ways Bloom is like every one of us trying to tame the burning flame of eros inside of us. Eros is not just about sensuality or physical sexuality, but is more about the inner power that draws man to all that is good, true and beautiful. Eros is about desire, passion, and attraction (words not often associated with Catholic sexual ethics), but if we are not careful it can consume us and draw us inward, rather than helping us to rise above and leading us to God as the giver of all life and love.
Bloom’s powers are linked with her emotions and she tends to lose control when she’s angry and upset. When she tries to deny or push her powers away through fear, she begins rejecting part of her identity and becomes even more confused. It is only in embracing her identity, and her power, that she is able to channel the fire and use it for good, transforming herself in the process.
If we indulge every impulse of our appetites, or if we repress, deny or push away our inner desires and passions through fear, we only end up rejecting and destroying ourselves. The journey of redemption is an invitation to embrace the flame of eros burning inside of us, to harness its power, and to allow it to transform us into the image and likeness of Christ, whose sacred heart is on fire with love for each and every one of us.