Seton families! What are your favorite inspirational books, movies, television programs, videos, speeches, etc.? What are the stories, true or fictional, which make you want to become a better person?
If we can get a good number of responses, we will report the Top Ten list. Comment below!
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article which included a quote by the character Aragorn from the movie The Return of the King:
“Sons of Rohan, of Gondor, my brothers. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. A day of wolves and shattered shields, when the Age of Men comes crashing down. But it is not this day. This day we fight!”
I included this particular passage in the article because I find it very moving, in a way that’s difficult to fully articulate. I have never been in the military and have never stood in front of an advancing army. But there is something universal that is being communicated by this quote. All of us have struggles.
We all stand before symbolic advancing armies and feel we are not strong enough to hold out forever. But maybe we can hold out today. Tomorrow, we may falter. Tomorrow, we may quit the struggle. But, this day we fight!
Inspired to Greatness
When we look at virtues such as courage, and faithfulness, righteousness, fortitude, and honesty, we can consider them as mere ideas. We can see the inherent goodness of each of these virtues. But if we want to stop pondering virtue, and come to love these virtues so that we might practice them consistently in our own lives, we must see them in action.
And that is what Aragorn’s exhortation brings up in my own heart. I know that Aragorn is a fictional character. But that doesn’t matter, because he lives in my mind and heart, and the kind of courage he shows is the kind of courage I want to show as well.
There is a beautiful scene in the movie As Good as it Gets in which Helen Hunt’s character and Jack Nicholson’s character are having dinner. He is a curmudgeonly sort, and she asks him to stretch his limits by giving her a compliment. In reply he says to her, “You make me want to be a better man.” A look of wondering astonishment comes over her face, and she says to him, “That’s maybe the best compliment of my life.”
Live What You Love
Recently, I watched a video of Australian pop singer Megan Washington giving a talk before a very large audience. She spoke eloquently about her struggle with stuttering and how she has lived her life in “mortal dread of public speaking.”
As a stutterer myself, watching her courage in addressing that audience was especially inspiring to me. It made me think that if she could show that kind of courage, then maybe I could too. But even more than that, it made me want to show that kind of courage. She made me want to be a better man.
There is an old saying, “Your wish is my command.” But even better for the Christian life is to say to God, “Your command is my wish.” Because, if we love the things of God, then we will not follow His Laws merely because He commands, but because we deeply feel the goodness and rightness of what is commanded. If we love honesty and faithfulness and righteousness, then it will be no great struggle against our inclinations to practice those virtues. Love will impel us toward right action. This is what St. Augustine means by “Love, and do what you will.” (Homily on the First Epistle of John)
What Are Your Favorites?
If we want our children to love virtue, then we must show them examples of virtue. If we want them to be helpful and kind, then we must be helpful and kind first. If we want them to show sacrificial love, then we must show sacrificial love first.
But beyond merely showing virtues in our own lives, we need to put in front of them examples of virtues–certainly in lives of the saints, but also in movies, television programs, and books which portray virtue as a thing to be loved.
So, Seton families, what are your favorite inspirational books, movies, television programs, videos, speeches, etc.? What are the stories, true or fictional, which make you want to become a better person?
If we can get a good number of responses, we will report the Top Ten list.