Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Monday, December 03, 2012

The "Secret" Behind the Passion of the Christ

In 2004, I was an evangelical Christian attending a conservative, bible-centered Methodist Church with good preaching, warm fellowship, pro-life and many ministries to serve the poor. What was not to like?
Our pastor paid for tickets for all of us to see the Passion of the Christ as he thought it would encourage faith and be a great tool of evangelism. And it was! In the middle of the movie, I made a promise to Jesus I would surrender everything to Him, and the very next second an inner voice said "and part of that surrender is you will become Catholic" which was the most distasteful thing I could think of. My conversion quickly ensued. I have now spent the following 8 years, blogging, writing, speaking, performing and attempting to show others the beauty of this Church. I discovered He is here for us now, in the Eucharist.  Today I read a story about Jim Cavaziel who played Jesus in the Passion and how he asked the priest on the set to expose the Blessed Sacrament in the most crucial scenes of the movie. I now know  the secret of why this movie was so powerful to inspire conversions and reversions. See Jim Cavaziel's comment below:

"How could I help other people to increase their faith in Jesus? I realized that this can only happen if Jesus is present in me through the Eucharist, and so people would see Jesus through my life. When we were shooting the scene of the Last Supper, I had an inner pocket made in my clothes where I placed some relics of saints and a relic of Christ’s Cross. I had a strong desire for Jesus to be really present, and so I asked the priest to expose the Blessed Sacrament. At first, he did not want to do that, but I was persistent in asking, because I was positive that people would recognize Christ more, if I myself was looking at Him. The priest was standing with the Blessed Sacrament in his hands next to a cameraman, and together with him, he approached me. When people watch the movie and see a shimmer in my eyes, they are not aware that they really see Jesus, a reflection of the consecrated Host, in my eyes. The same was in the scene of the Crucifixion. The priest was there; he held the Blessed Sacrament in his hands, and I prayed all the time."


Blogger Faith said...


December 03, 2012 3:12 PM  
Anonymous Renée Lin said...

I think this explains a lot! So pleased to hear that it was instrumental in your conversion, Russ!

December 03, 2012 6:12 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

Yeah it was bolt out of the blue for me. When I saw how much he had suffered for me (as Protestants we didn't have the rosary or other such tools to help us relive the passion so effectively) I knew I had to surrender. i just had no idea that the next thought in my head was that I would even surrender my hatred of the church and my longstanding opposition. Maybe the popcorn was spiked with holy water! LOL!

December 03, 2012 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Pauline said...

thank you for this TJ! i looked up jim cavaziel after reading his comments and wondered about whether he was catholic... he is! Praise God. I read an interview he did after making the film - WOW!!!! He was 33 when he made the film and his initials - JC :)
Pray that more seperated brothers and sister will watch the movie and lead them to the fullness of truth. Keep up your awesome blog.

December 03, 2012 8:06 PM  
Anonymous Pauline said...

haha sorry i read Cavaziels comment with my eyes closed.... his comment you posted was indeed that of a Catholic!!! awesome though i went and read more on him :) :)

December 03, 2012 8:08 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

This was awesome!

December 04, 2012 1:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After watching this movie I, a ardent atheist for decades, completely changed course and am now enrolled in an RCIA course. I now know the power of the Holy Spirit.

February 05, 2017 9:49 AM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

Dear anon!
Welcome Home!
I'd love to hear more of your story. Faith is such a gift and how He touched us is always a wonderful mystery

February 05, 2017 10:02 AM  

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