Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dorothy Day Story

 Finding Christ’s Light in All
 By Daniela Delvescovo

Movie Review of
Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story

Director: Michael Ray Rhodes; Cast: Martin Sheen, Moria Kelly

"If you feed the poor, you're called a saint,
but if you ask why they're poor, you're called a Communist."
Dorothy Day

Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story is a beautifully directed movie (produced by Paulist Pictures) that tells the story of an amazing Catholic woman who devotes her life to housing, clothing, and feeding the poor.

I recommend this movie for the whole family; although it’s rated PG-13, it contains no real violence or vulgar language. I would only caution parents against the realistic images of the poor in 1930’s, brief shots of Dorothy (played by Moria Kelly) smoking, and a few sexually suggestive scenes.

The movie begins with Dorothy protesting for women’s rights. On the crowded streets of New York, we are introduced to her passionate personality and witness firsthand how she is living a less-than-Christian life.

Her boyfriend tricks her into having an abortion and then leaves town. She meets a new man named Forster (played by Lenny Don Dohlen) and begins to repeat previous mistakes.

One day on her way home from the market, she passes a Catholic church. She is drawn to the building and chances a look inside. This one visit sets in motion a string of events that lead to Dorothy falling head over heels in love: for God.

Dorothy Day is an example for each and every one of us. After making so many mistakes in her life, she blindly throws herself into the Catholic Church and becomes an advocate for Christ during the Great Depression. What really sets her apart though is this: She found God’s light in every one.

Dorothy Day took “the people no one else would take”: the drunks, the poor, the sick, the smelly, the insane, i.e., the hopeless cases.

The movie takes this aspect of her life and portrays it in a way that does the woman justice. It makes me want to be more like her – to put away my pride and look deeply into every person I come in contact with; it makes me want to find God’s light in every person I meet.

How can I find this light, though, if I don’t go out and actually make contact with the people who are suffering? Sometimes people feel that giving money to the poor is all they are called to do, and yes that money is changing lives, but sometimes what makes all the difference is actually going to the soup kitchen and handing out the food. Maybe even buying a meal for that homeless man you see every morning begging for money at a stop light. If you’re not sure about that, watch this movie (available at Paulist Productions, Amazon, Netflix, etc.) and ask the Holy Spirit what you’re called to do.

This might be a challenge. People are not always lovable and can be ugly in both appearance and spirit. It can be a scary thing to come out of our comfort zones and reach out to these people in such an intimate way. The thing is, God never said following Christ would be easy.

Do not forget to entertain strangers,  for by so doing
some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”
~ Hebrews 13:2

We are all God’s children, and because of this we have His Spirit in all of us. We must strive to find Him not only in ourselves, but more importantly in the people around us. God does not call us because we are worthy; he calls us because we are unworthy, like Dorothy Day. We must keep this in mind when we see a homeless man on the side of the road, because you never know, he may just be the angel God is waiting for you to entertain.

Questions for youth groups, families, and other small group discussions (please feel free to post comments below):
  1. Why can it sometimes be hard to love everyone?
  2. What are other ways to help the poor besides donating money?
  3. Have you ever entertained an angel? Explain.

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