Saturday, May 27, 2006

X-Men 3

"To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit." 1 Cor. 12:7

Twice in this movie (in the very first scene and in his most climactic scene), Dr. Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) gives a great piece of advice that sums up the spiritual popcorn of this film: "Either control your power, or your power will control you."

In both cases, Xavier is speaking with Jean Grey (as a young child, played by Haley Ramm, and as a resurrected version, reprised by Framke Janssen), whose inner unchecked mutant power is an uncontrollable telekinetic force able to destroy anything. To help her control it, it seems Xavier has taught her to only use it for good.

This is what we are all called to do.

In a sense, we are all 'mutants,' like the X-Men 3 characters. We each have gifts, abilities, and experiences that make us all unique. Perhaps we cannot walk through walls or bend metal with our minds, but every one of us has the ability and the gifts to do things that others cannot. In the Scriptures, St. Paul says, "To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit." (1 Cor. 12:7)

In the third film of the X-Men franchise, the American government has found a 'cure' for mutants intended to make them normal humans again, to rid them of their mutant gene once and for all. The two sides of the mutant world, one led by Xavier and the other by Magneto (wonderfully played by Ian McKellen), oppose this measure. Xavier fights for peace and reconciliation between mutants and humans; Magneto, on the other hand, fights for seperation between them, and reminds his fellow mutants that their abilities make them superior.

Each of us, too, has been given a gift from God to transform our world. But often times, we are tempted to be "normal," to blend in and not make waves.

Xavier's wisdom calls us, too, to use our gifts - but to not let them control us, but to let ourselves control them to better the world around us. But like the mutants in X-Men 3, not all gifts are fun.

Some of us are unique because we are physically different than others - if we follow Xavier's advice, we will not let these differences define who we are. Whatever our gifts or differences may be, we must control them but, at the same time, find how we might use them to help others.

When I was younger, I was different from my classmates (for reasons I won't go into now), and consequently, I was rejected and made to feel like an outsider. I could have allowed this to overwhelm me, to take control over me. But instead, as I grew up, I used this experience to help others who shared in a similar discrimination. Instead of just trying to forget it, to "cure" myself of my gifts to blend in, I chose to use it to make a corner of this world a little better.

That's what we are all called to do. Accept that we have differences, that we are all mutants of one kind or another, but do not accept that we have to change.

God created each of us with our uniqueness for a reason. Instead of running from the differences, He challenges all of us to use what he has given us to build up His Kingdom on earth.


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