FILM SERIES 2012
Over the years this film series has introduced its readers and viewers to the basics of Ignatian spirituality found in The Spiritual Exercises, and also to the dynamics of discernment contained in those Exercises. This year’s approach is to use those insights to look at the book of Genesis. The book opens with the creation of the cosmos and concludes with the migration of the Israelite people to Egypt under the protection of Joseph to escape the famine which swept the land. In all of this we encounter a God who refuses to be limited by human failings and who constantly surprises humans by calling them beyond themselves into more fuller manifestations of life and relationships.
In the stories contained in the book of Genesis we discover variations of all the human stories found in this world. There is love, both human and divine; betrayal and alienation; forgiveness and conversion; commitment and its costs; life as a pilgrimage. All explore what it means to be human, and to live in situations where one encounters what is best and worst in humankind. Bill T. Arnold in The New Cambridge Bible Commentary on Genesis (2009) writes: The book of Genesis addresses the most profound questions of life. Who are we? Why are we here? And, more to the focus of Genesis, who is God, how does God relate to the universe, and what are the origins of God’s chosen people.
That exploration is always done within the context of God’s abiding and mysterious presence which both refuses to be trapped and compromised by the presence of evil or be morally disgusted by the human frailty which is often conscripted by that evil. We are presented with a God who surprises us by a creativity which constantly enters a damaged human condition and works through the limitations found there to offer new life.
What we discover in Genesis are the plots and themes of our present life, and so looking at Genesis allows us to contemplate our own spiritual journeys as a pilgrim people. To be human is to journey and on every journey there are oases where one gathers at night to be with others, rest, wash, share stories, and food for the journey.
Hopefully you will see this year’s series as an oasis with eight moments, and in each of these you can see yourself as a companion of the mystery that invites us all to encounter and celebrate a life which calls us beyond ourselves.
To register for the entire series, please click here. To register for one or more films, please click on the individual titles below. If you encounter difficuties registering, please contact inquiries@RegisCollege.ca or call 416-922-5474 x221. All the evenings are presented free of charge.
When we contemplate the stories in Genesis we find ways of making sense of our own experiences by looking at our experiences through the perspectives of those stories. For instance the story of the Flood and Noah’s Ark offers us a way of living our integrity in spite of the corruption around us, and of trusting in divine providence when our world is destroyed. Without the story we can easily fall into despair at the world we find ourselves in, and can even find ourselves adrift in the chaos of contemporary life. What the story does is put our experience in a context which gives it meaning and direction.
The book of Genesis with its family stories of Adam and Eve, Cain, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, all deal with an expulsion from a familiar world and the abiding presence of a divine providence who cares for those who so journey to a new destiny which offers more than what was left behind. On this journey they discover both the call to be human and the failure to be so; they discover a God who cares for them and who creates new life out of chaos, destruction, barrenness, infidelity, corruption, duplicity, and abandonment. This God promises and commits Godself to us in ways beyond the limits of the human imagination, and this practical intimacy surprises us and opens us up to ways of celebrating life we did not think possible.
The films chosen in this year’s series are not Biblical transpositions. But they deal with issues and themes found in Genesis. They also deal with issues and themes found in our own lives. Like the characters in Genesis we find ourselves in and through a relationship with God. That God does not give us answers but experiences. It is sitting with our experiences in the context of God’s love and care for each of us personally that we find ourselves supported, and given a path which leads to a fuller life of deepening intimacy with God. The films solicit responses from us and in unpacking those responses we discover something about where and how we are with God. So think of watching the films as an act of prayerful contemplation. As we enter the world of the film and are moved by it we find certain attitudes or values we hold brought into explicit awareness. The emotions they evoke are stories which need to be unpacked. In unpacking those stories we discover where God is in our lives and, also, where we are in God’s life.
Journey well into and through those stories. You are not alone. As you sit with, reflect on, pray through, and share your stories you are not along. God travels with us in this caravan, along with all those others whose desire is the fullness of life found in relationships with others, with creation, and with the community of those God delights in.
Regis College is located at 100 Wellesley Street West, Toronto, near the corner of Queen's Park Crescent East. Regis College is on the 94 Wellesley TTC bus route and a short walk (south) from the Museum subway station. Public parking is available in the University of St. Michael's College parking lot on St. Joseph Street, one block north of Regis College. The venue is accessible.
Regis College is the Jesuit School of Theology at the University of Toronto and a Founding Member of the Toronto School of Theology.
Members of the public interested in theological education are invited to attend an open house in October and March each year.