What does it mean to be Christ to someone?
A few months ago, I came across a trailer for a new documentary called ‘Outcasts’. Those two and a half minutes affected me for the rest of the day, the rest of the week, and it’s a trailer that I go back to watch time and time again. Maybe it’s Charlie Chaplin’s powerful narration. Who knows?
‘Outcasts’ is a documentary that takes an in-depth look at the ministry of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. I’ve had the personal privilege of hanging out and doing ministry with a few of these guys at retreats and conferences, and they are a group of the nicest, funniest, and most cheerful guys you’ll ever meet. They are the types that make you question “where does this joy come from? And how can I get some?” After watching the trailer for the new documentary by Grassroots Films, the viewer gets to behold firsthand the source of their joy.
These men live out their threefold vow to chastity, poverty, and obedience by serving the poorest of the poor among us. Drug addicts, prostitutes, shut-ins, homeless, and disabled. These are the company that the friars keep, and it has joy written all over it, right?
“More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities life will be violent and all will be lost… In the seventeenths chapter of St. Luke it is written the kingdom of God is within man; not one man nor a group of men, but in all men!”
– Charlie Chaplin
How can someone who immerses themselves into so much brokenness have so much joy? Our faith shows us that love is what fulfills, and that love is not what we take for ourselves. Love is what we give of ourselves. As I go back, repeatedly, to watch this trailer, the image of human suffering is met with the image of Christ. Not just in the men in gray habits, but when you look upon those they’re helping the viewer can’t help but behold the Imago Dei, the Image of God. Scripture calls to mind that Christ is, indeed, found in the least among us. In the poor, diseased, addicted, depressed, and destitute. It is in what we do for these that we do for Christ. ‘Outcasts’ reminds us of that.
Here’s the trailer