Is anyone disposable? Is anyone inherently evil? These are key questions unexpectedly addressed in Despicable Me, a phenomenally clever and captivating computer-animated film starring Steve Carrell. Here is a link to the trailer:
I saw Despicable Me on the way to the March for Life, which was quite provident, given that it involves three orphans (i.e., unwanted children) who are nefariously used by Gru, an unrepentant super-villain bent on
one-upping his rival villain. Is Gru 100% depraved? Well, from a Catholic perspective, although Gru suffers the effects original sin (a severe wounding of the human soul via the rejection of God's goodness by our original parents), he also bears the "imago Dei," the image of God.
In their song "Economy of Mercy" the band Switchfoot says "we are bruised and broken masterpieces, but we did not paint ourselves." That's it! The question is whether even Gru--cunning and uncaring--is a "masterpiece"? The filmmakers do a fine job of showing the layers of Gru's soul in order to better understand him and what might be an avenue of redemption in his life.
And what about us? Are we fundamentally "despicable" due to our turning from God, or are we fundamentally glorious due to who we are as God's beloved sons and daughters, adopted in Christ Jesus? I'll paraphrase what I once heard a Jesuit priest say about the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession): people don't go to Confession because they are bad; they go to Confession because deep-down they are good. Moreover, I'd add they go to Confession because God is SO GOOD.
Despicable Me is an uncannily privileged encounter with Goodness. As Jesuits, we seek to "find God in all things." Grace turns up in unexpected places (even especially in the least among us, such as unwanted children), and that grace can be totally transformational if we will cooperate with it.
Welcome! My name is John Roselle, SJ, and I took lifelong ("perpetual") vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience as a Jesuit on August 13th, 2011 after a two-year novitiate. I am now a Jesuit Scholastic for the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus. I will study philosophy and theology for the next three years at Loyola University in Chicago. At the same time, I will do part-time ministry in some capacity with the poor. After that, I will likely teach for three years before finishing three more years of theology. Then, God willing, I will be ordained a Roman Catholic Jesuit priest! It's a long road, but a blessed, fun, and enriching one. This blog exists as a resource for friends, family, and others who are interested in my progress through the Jesuit process of formation. Every day is its own adventure, and I am happy to have you along with me to share in this. This blog contains my own personal thoughts and should not be taken to speak for the entire Society of Jesus. Feel free to contact me. God bless you!