Monday Ministerial Musings
By Rev. Mark William Ennis
2022 Blog #39
October 3, 2022
Reflections on the Movie “Father Stu”
I saw “Father Stu” on Netflix recently. I am happy that I watched this movie. It was well worth my time even though I found the beginning to be a bit draggy. It has a number of important themes that were raised and that are worth exploring.
The movie follows a man named Stu who is a bit of a rough character. His home life was no prize with the family mourning a long deceased little brother and a father who lives away from the family but still is an alcoholic with abusive tendencies. Stu is a boxer who must stop boxing as this sport has damaged his body.
He goes to Hollywood to become an actor and to attempt to reconnect with his distant father. A vehicular accident leaves him close to death but he has a vision of Jesus’ Mom, Mary, who tells him that he will live and that he must discover how to have a meaningful life for himself and one that honors God. He decides to become a priest.
Some folks are reluctant to let him into seminary because of his background which includes drunk driving offences. He reminds the seminary officials that many devout Christians had less than sterling backgrounds.
He doesn’t fit in well at seminary. He is a bit less well-mannered than his student colleagues. Yet, he is the one that excels at prison ministry. He can talk to inmates in ways that the more cerebral and polished students cannot. The prisoners can relate to him and listen to him.
Finally he develops a muscular degenerative disease that will someday take his life. Contracting this disease may or may not be related to his boxing injuries or from his near fatal accident. His next quest is how to use this illness and the pain and immobility that it brings him to honor God, instead of falling into depression or self-pity. He rises to the challenge and continues to be faithful to God despite his circumstances.
Finally, through his steadfast faith and witness, his parents begin to explore faith and are ultimately baptized. His father even begins to attend 12 step meetings and seeks sobriety. The witness of Father Stu effects many people.
This is a story of a man growing up in disfunction but overcoming it.
This is a story of a man who survived by a miracle.
This is a story about wanting to give his life to God because of this miracle.
This is a story of a church that looks at purity more than redemption and almost loses a great asset.
This is a story of one person who was redeemed and whose life helped change, for the good, many people around him.
What challenges do you face in life? Has someone told you that you were not pure enough or good enough to be close to God? I recommend that you watch this movie and become inspired to imitate Father Stu. I pray that we all learn the lessons that it seeks to teach us. I pray, that you, like Father Stu, rise to honor God despite your circumstances.
To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order copy of his book: https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/