For a detailed description of Cinema Divina, please click here.
Lectio: Psalm 55: 12-14, 20-22 and Captain America: Civil War
Meditatio: As I watched the film this time around in conjunction with Psalm 55, I followed the character of the Captain himself and the conflicting emotions he must have had throughout the course of the film. Sure of himself as a leader of the Avengers, with the disaster in Lagos, he begins to wonder if the Avengers need to do a better job of accepting responsibility for the destruction they sometimes leave behind. When discussing the Sokovia Accords, he disagrees with Tony about the need for government oversight. Then his Achilles heel enters the picture, his childhood best friend, Bucky Barnes. With Bucky his objectivity flies out the window and his decisions become based, not on reason, but on emotion. He actions turn him into an outlaw. The Avengers vs. Avengers fight at the airport is tough enough but then the rift between Tony and the Cap becomes personal. Tony's discovery about the truth about Bucky and Tony's parents, when he was being mind-controlled by Hydra as Winter Soldier, sends Tony into a rage. Cap, of course, comes to Bucky's aid. Their fight is heartbreaking.
The words of the Psalm make palpable the emotion the psalmist feels at the betrayal of a friend. I imagine that Captain America felt similarly, especially since he was choosing to help one friend at the expense of another. Two good things were presented to him and he had to choose. The psalmist turned to God for help and inspiration in such a time of confusing and conflicting emotions. Our faith assures us that God always hears our prayers, even if the manner of answer may not be what we expect.
Although God is not part of the "Marvel Cinematic Universe," by seeing the film in the context of prayer, I think that God would be happy with the ending. Captain America has not given in to the Sokovia Accords but he remains dedicated to the work of the Avengers, as he tells Tony in his letter. I like to believe that reconciliation happened between Tony and the Captain. After all, they risked their lives together for the sake of others on numerous occasions. If they were people of faith, they would take the psalmist's advice to heart: "Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you."
Oratio: Lord Jesus, there are times in my life when I feel torn by conflicting emotions and I don't know what to do. Help me take to heart the words of Psalm 55 and cast my cares upon you always. Lord, you know my inmost thoughts and I trust that you will help me when I feel torn between two good things. Inspire me to always listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and may all my actions be pleasing to you.
Contemplatio: I sit quietly relishing this moment and praising the Lord's goodness for speaking through his Word and the movie.
Actio: As a result of praying with this movie and Psalm 55, I want to pray with the Psalms more often and really notice the feelings of the author. They are such human feelings and I know that I can identify. Then, when I feel the same, I want to be able to turn to the Lord and ask for his guidance, just like the psalmist does.
About the Author
Sister Hosea Rupprecht is a member of the Daughters of St. Paul, a religious community dedicated to evangelization with the media. She holds a Master of Theological Studies degree from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto and an MA in Media Literacy from Webster University in St. Louis.
Sr. Hosea is director of the East Coast office of the Pauline Center for Media Studies, based in Staten Island, NY, and speaks on media literacy and faith to catechists, parents, youth, and young adults. Together with Father Chip Hines, she is the co-host of Searchlight, a Catholic movie review show on Catholic TV. Sr. Hosea is the author of How to Watch Movies with Kids: A Values-Based Strategy, released by Pauline Books & Media.
For the past 15 years, she has facilitated various film dialogues for both children and adults, as well as given presentations on integrating culture, faith and media.