The Tragedy of Rogue One

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I’ll be the first one to say that I’m a casual Star Wars fan at best. I respect the films for the impact they made on culture and I like the overall story of the original trilogy and the themes of the prequel trilogy. The Force Awakens was also one that I really liked.  What makes Rogue One different from all the other Star Wars movies I saw was that it made the biggest emotional impact on me.

What I Liked About Rogue One

Why do I love Rogue One so much? It’s honestly the characters.

Jyn Erso (played by Felicity Jones) starts out the movie with a lot of understandable cynicism towards both sides of the war. Cassian Andor (played by Diego Luna) took a while to grow on me because he was an intelligence officer who will do whatever it takes to defeat the Empire, even if it means doing morally questionable actions.  The comic relief robotK-2SO (played by Alan Tudyk) proves to be a useful ally when the situation calls for it. Bodhi Rook is a former Imperial pilot who contributes his knowledge of protocols and technology to the mission.

Baze Malbus (played by Jiang Wen) and Chirtrut Imwe (played by Donnie Yen) are the characters who steal the show for me. I love their backstory of being former temple guardians. Baze is the weapons expert whose gun is just made of awesome. He also shows to have a big heart underneath his harsh exterior. Chirrut, on the other hand, is the devout, blind warrior monk who dodges Stormtrooper blasts with ease and provides some nice levity to this otherwise heavy movie. His mantra is also my favorite line from the movie: “I am one with the Force and the Force is with me.”

Orson Krennic (played by Ben Mendelsohn) is an intimidating villain and he almost wins in this movie if not for Jyn’s determination. And seeing Darth Vader again sent chills up my spine.

What really sticks in my mind, though, is the third act. Without going into spoilers, the way that the movie ended had me crying legit tears. It shows that wars are not won without sacrifices.

A Tangent on Faith/The Force

Although the religion of the Jedi/The Force is mostly inspired by the monomyth of Joseph Campbell’s Hero With A Thousand Faces and has aspects that aren’t compatible with Catholicism, I’m glad that the Force acts as more of a metaphor for faith in this movie and not as a deux ex machina that provides the characters with superpowers. Chirrut can’t levitate anything or control lightning. He relied on his heightened senses, his martial arts skills, his staff, and on Baze having his back. And yet his faith in The Force gives him courage to endure the battlefront.

 

Minor Nitpicks

The rest of the Rebel Alliance, though, is kind of disappointing. I understand that they are at a low point and have to rely on mercenaries and assassins to make up their task forces, but their lack of trust in Jyn is what leads to the Rogue Squad’s eventual downfall. I also didn’t like that Saw Gerrera was only around for the first act. I heard that he has a larger role in the animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels and I wanted to see him growing with Jyn.

Carrie Fisher

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention seeing a digitally remastered young Carrie Fisher at the end of the movie. Rogue One ends with a clear transition in which Princess Leia gets the information that the Rogue Squadron worked so hard to get. Even though I’m only a casual Star Wars fan, I felt numb when I heard the news of her passing. I knew she was a woman who struggled with a lot of things that contrasted with the character of Princess Leia. And yet, Fisher was able to eventually have a good life. I loved that she went back into the role of General Organa for The Force Awakens and wonder how the heck they will handle the character of Princess Leia in the sequels.

I will probably be like a lot of Star Wars fans and remember Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. Right now, though, the last lines from the movie will be the ones that will echo in my mind the most:

Captain Antilles: Your Highness — the transmission we received. What is it that they’ve sent us?
Leia Organa: …Hope.

May the Force be with you, Carrie.

 

Why We Still Need Mercy

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Why Do We Still Need Mercy?

The year of Mercy may be over, but as we enter into 2017, we are in need of mercy now more than ever.

Someone once said to me that they would rather go to Hell than forgive the people who hurt them. To my surprise, a friend of mine who converted from Protestantism said that it’s something a lot of so-called Christians say. It’s hard for me to believe that people who claim to love their neighbor can hold on to a grudge so badly that they are willing to go to Hell for it. Believe me when I say this: Hell is not worth it.

There is a reason why CS Lewis said “The doors to hell are locked from the inside.” Hell is not worth staying angry or being judgmental or believing the lies of opportunistic politicians and fake news. Mercy and forgiveness aren’t just part of being a Christian, they are a part of having a healthy life.

I’m not saying to “forgive and forget.” I’m not saying you should reconcile to the people who hurt you. I’m not saying you should act like nothing happened. I’m asking you to let go. Let go of your anger. Let go of the hatred you feel. This is the greatest act of mercy you can do for the ones you and for yourself. The healing can’t begin until you let it all go.

How does forgiveness tie into mercy?

Whenever some bad news about a shooting or certain political groups comes up, volatile reactions on Twitter often follow afterwards. People blame others or buy into false rhetoric. What nobody seems to realize is that mercy is the real answer. Mercy is given to those you don’t think deserve it because they’re the ones who need it most. Without mercy, we are no better than the people who commit those violent acts and the ones we see as arrogant and overly powerful.

Through mercy and forgiveness, we can find the hope and a renewal of trust we have been lacking this year. We may not be able to trust the ones who’ve hurt us, but we can hope for the best for them and trust that we can be smarter going forward. We can avoid the fate of those who lost someone to death without making amends.

I know that right now, practicing mercy and forgiveness can be an unimaginable thing. But nothing is impossible with God.

What can we do?

I know that right now, everyone’s saying that 2016 has been the worst year in history. Believe me when I say that history has seen worse years. It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. The year of Mercy may be over, but since we are in the last week of Advent, I think it would be a good time to start practicing mercy and forgiveness. It even says so in the Bible!

If you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

– Matthew 5:23-24

Give someone the gift of mercy and forgiveness this Advent.

Epic Rap Battles of (Catholic) History: Nicholas vs Arius

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Epic Rap Battles of History! Nicholas vs Arius! Begin!

Arius:
God is the Supreme, on that we can agree,
but that His son is His equal? I just cannot see!
The son of man was born,
so he was just a creation.
Not the king of all kings and the lord of all nations.

Nicholas:
Watch your mouth, you old heretic, and you’d best write this down
cuz this bishop from Myra is coming to town.
In the beginning there was the Word and the Word was with God,
but you kinda forgot the part where He also WAS God.

Arius:
He was tempted and tried,
he can’t be fully divine.
Tryin to read between the lines?
You’re ripping off of the myths!

Nicholas:
If you keep shooting off at the mouth like this,
you’re gonna find out what happens when this bishop gets pissed!

*PUNCH!*

Arius:
Dude, you shouldn’t have hit me!
Now you’re going to jail! They should brand you like an ox.
You broke the rules. Epic fail!

Nicholas:
Oh yeah, you snake? Cuz Jesus busted me out
so you’d better listen well and you’d better watch out.
I’m rewriting this creed cuz you’re causing a scandal
Our Lord’s begotten, not made, aka consubstantial
BT-Dubz, Our Lord gave me a warning for you
If you try to approach Him, you’ll be spelling your doom
He won’t let you get close, guilt will fill you with gloom
And you’ll die with all of your guts out in a public bathroom.

*End Battle*