Like Flies on An Elephant
Those who have been the most vicious in their attacks on Mel Gibson and his Gospel depiction are the very same gnarly gnats who defended the elephant-dung covered image of the Blessed Virgin Mary a few years ago. Thankfully these flies will soon be forgotten, swatted away into oblivion; whereas the steady and sturdy mastidon of magnificence that Mel's movie portrays will be forever remembered as a masterpiece marvel spoken of in the ethereal echelons of a Carravaggio or Michelangelo.
"The lesson of the expression "Like Flies on an Elephant" is that history will long recall the elephant, but will likewise forget the insignificant flies which stand on that elephant. Many years from now, people will look back at Mel's creation as the greatest motion picture about Christ ever created. They will say that in Gibson's hands the modern form of art known as motion pictures came the closest it ever could to God."
I recall an old expression, which I was told, conveyed very wise advice about measuring the importance of obstacles and attacks one often faces in life.
The expression is simply, "Like Flies on An Elephant", and its message is as simple as it is profound. First of all, if one is to remain happy as well as appreciate the good and beautiful in life, one must see the occasional problems, obstacles, and criticisms, which come along as flies on an elephant. Seeing the negatives of life as flies does not ignore them, but only provides us with an attitude and life adjustment by helping us compare those negatives with the multitude of beautiful and positive things which God blesses us with everyday. No matter what life throws at us, be it misfortune, illness, sorrow, and attacks from others, we must always measure those negatives with the endless positives Our Heavenly Father sends us daily, such as life, love, health, purpose, etc.
This principle likewise applies in response to criticisms and attacks by those who want to be our enemies. Here I say, "want" because those people cannot be our enemies unless we fall to their level and play their silly game. No, trusting in God and His Divine Will can allow us to merely pray for our attackers and get around their arrows. A life filled with God is the elephant and all else becomes as flies, which means present in my life but not overwhelming my life. It is in this context that one should see the attacks on Mel Gibson and his masterpiece 'The Passion of The Christ.'
We Are in The Presence of Transcendent Art
History shows us that every once in a while an artistic creation is etched by an artist in a given field which transcends that field, that artist, and even the creation itself. In such instances the artistic creation becomes a vivid and pulsating expression of an idea, a message, an emotion, or an event such that the art takes on an identity and life of its own, quite beyond normal life and typical historical contexts.
Sometimes the art is ahead of its time, bridging the present and future in a special way. Other times it connects with an earlier time, bridging the past and the present in a unique way. Sometimes the art seems to transcend time, joining past, present, and future as one in expression and message.
The Pieta, The Sistine Chapel, The Mona Lisa, David, and other works of art may be examples of such connections between art and time.
History also shows us that the closer people are in time to those special artistic creations, the less they often appreciate both the power and the significance of that art.
It is only years later that people realize how special and unique that art truly is.
This can be said of Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of The Christ'. Despite the fact that I have yet to see this film, I have come to realize that it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that no person can ever prepare for. People such as Jack Valenti and Michael Medved, old observers of film, have been moved by this artistic creation, which the term "movie" does not seem to fully define. Although we may think we appreciate what we have before us, I venture to guess that we fall very short of a truly accurate and just measure of how unique and transcendent this work of art really is. Perhaps someday we will approach a decent realization of that artistic magnitude, but today we are too close to both the art and the trash which has been heaped upon that art by the serpent descendents of the one in Eden.
The Law of Inverse Magnitude
If there is anything universal about this society and world in which we now live, it is that it has increasingly lost the sense of morality, of good, of beauty, of purpose, of importance, of eternity, and of transcendence. It has lost all of these capacities for three reasons. First, this world has allowed itself to become disconnected with what really matters in the wake of what really does not matter. People are more concerned with the now over the always and the popular over the important. Secondly, this world has become bogged down in superficialities, fads, idiotic measures, and twisted standards.
People listen to obviously biased, ignorant messages because they have lost the ability to listen for themselves. Lastly, and most importantly, one cannot maintain the sense of what is moral, good, beautiful, purposeful, important, eternal, or transcendent if one has lost the sense of the Creator of those things, Who is obviously God Almighty.
When faced with the magnitude of Gibson's creation, which epitomizes all of those things, which this world has lost a sense of, this world is ill-equipped to respond in kind.
For every person who appreciates that creation, there will be 1000 fools who will attack it, usually on even more superficial, biased, ignorant, or foolish grounds. In fact, the greater the creation, the more idiotic the attempted attack of that creation. This is in fact the case with Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of The Christ'. As awesome as the art is, the attacks on that art are nearly as superficial, idiotic, and foolish.
History Ignores Flies
The lesson of the expression "Like Flies on an Elephant" is that history will long recall the elephant, but will likewise forget the insignificant flies which stand on that elephant. Many years from now, people will look back at Mel's creation as the greatest motion picture about Christ ever created. They will say that in Gibson's hands the modern form of art known as motion pictures came the closest it ever could to God.
What of the specks, the flies, the dots in the radar of history who spill their dribble against this masterpiece? Will history ever remember these pompous, biased, ignorant, idiotic fools? Perhaps, but they will not be remembered as individuals. These trivial characters will be lumped together as representing the ignorance, the arrogance, the immorality, and the evil of an age graced by The Hand of God through the hand of a man of God. That an age its fools cannot see The Hand of God when it comes before them has often been seen in history, most notably in Palestine 2,000 years ago!
Editor's Note: We are pleased to announce Gabriel Garnica will be contributing many articles in 2004. Heaven is once again under attack by those who would seek to ignore and overthrow God's majesty and authority. Gabriel Garnica, educator and attorney, will submit regular insights and commentaries to remind and help guide readers toward a deeper and more assertive faith. Touching on topics and issues ranging from personal faith, doctrine, education, scripture, the media, family life, morality, and values, Gabriel's notes will be music to traditional ears but unpleasant tones to those who have bought into the misguided notions so prevalent and spreading in today's Catholic world.