Ten years ago today, the Passion of the Christ was released to the theaters. Very shortly after I saw the film with my wife and sons. In the movie, I surrendered to God in a way that I never had before. When I saw how much Jesus suffered for me graphically displayed, I knew I had to surrender. Surrender what? I had been a fairly devout Christian, daily bible reading, prayer, church, small groups, music ministry, etc. What did I need to surrender? I had already given my heart to Jesus as a 14 year old kid on a hot spring night in a friend's crowded living room. I had "sealed the deal" then, and shortly after left the Catholic Church being brainwashed with anti-Catholic literature and teachings.
But 31 years later, in this dark movie theater with tears streaming down my face, the Holy Spirit was telling me I had to completely surrender in a way I never had before. An overpowering thought came to me: "You will surrender everything and become Catholic!" That was very strange, since the movie wasn't overtly proselytizing Catholicism. But for me, the one thing I had never surrendered was my pride. Would I be willing to reconsider the Catholic faith despite three decades of negative thoughts about the faith of my youth? I began to read about Catholicism and conversion stories. The most impressive was Steve Ray's Crossing the Tiber. When I discovered that the Catholic Church has always believed that Jesus is indeed in the Eucharist, and that the early Christians believed this, I knew I had to return. Jesus was right down my street, and I could worship Him and physically and spiritually receive Him! What a comfort and joy to know that He has always abided with us, not just spiritually but truly substantially present under the appearances of bread and wine.
About three months after that, I returned to the Church after being an evangelical Protestant for 31 years. I have never regretted the decision and am thankful to God that he used Mel Gibson's movie to strangely melt my cold heart towards the Church my Lord and Savior gave us. It was like I was born again again!