Like it or not, in some movies things are not completely resolved by the end. Everything is not explained. The world of these films, like the world itself, is drenched in mystery, and some things are best left alone. The job of the artist, said Francis Bacon, is to always deepen the mystery. Be grateful for movies that deepen the mysteries of self, love, community, the natural world, and God. Detective and police tales sometimes fit this description. More often, you'll learn to love mystery while watching a love story or a biography.


Films provide myriad depictions of yearning. The characters in these movies are driven by their desires — in a good way. Their yearning for connection makes them reach out to others; often this involves giving in to their erotic feelings. Their yearning for fulfillment takes them into a new career or a fresh means of self-expression. As they seek their heart's desire, they become more fully human. They are more resilient, more balanced, and more passionate than they were before they honored the longings of their souls.


Life is a sacred adventure. We are partners with God, and though our role in the ongoing creation may be small, we are still encouraged to give it our best. At the movies, we see countless examples of individuals trying to sing their own songs with gusto. Some are off-key; others can't even make a sound. But all of them, like us, are trying to rise to the moment. Good examples of movies about the spiritual practice of you are coming-of-age stories in which young people stake out their own course in the world, and films about people reassessing their vocation or recognizing their destiny. They are discovering their mission, should they choose to accept it.


The spiritual practice of zeal means to be passionately aroused by life. We can take part of its measure in films where we see heroic individuals struggling to be free, to love others, to cherish every moment, to honor their commitments, and to square off against death. These are people who act with heart, mind, and soul in concert. They are your spiritual mentors, and you can find them at the movies.

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