Fr. Stu Unstuck and Washed From Sin

Fr. Stu Unstuck and Washed From Sin April 15, 2022

“He [God] doesn’t promise our stories will make sense, but He does promise they’ll find their greater purpose if we’re patient.”- Father Stu

As I was kneeling down on the kneeler during Holy Thursday Mass right before communion, my wife who is next to me kneeling says, “I’m Stuck.”

Somehow she had managed to get her knee stuck between her kneeler and mine in the pew we were in.

“How are you stuck”? I replied.

“Behold! The Lamb of God Who Takes Away the Sin of the World.” the priest said as she was literally stuck in the space between the kneelers and I was stuck as how to actually help her. This is because I didn’t understand how she was stuck. This was a first for me. She has fallen several times over the years but this was an original. Well ever since I’ve known her she has always been Nealon.

Sometimes we are stuck in life and bad choices or bad puns like the one above and we don’t know how to get out of our predicament. Sometimes we loved ones of those who are stuck don’t know how to help them because we don’t know exactly how they are stuck. It is hidden from our knowledge even though it seems to be in plain sight. But Jesus knows in every intricate detail how we are stuck. Because he knows how we are stuck he can help us get unstuck. This is what Good Friday is all about. Jesus getting us unstuck from sin.

He suffered died and rose again to accomplish this. And the normative way he distributes this grace of love is through the sacraments. Fr. Wilson (no relation) preached in his Maundy Thursday homily the importance of going to confession. He talked about how Jesus washes us from sin in the confessional.  He emphasised Jesus washing the mud and grime off the apostles feet and the muddy sin that is stuck on our soul. Only servants in those days washed people’s feet. Jesus came not to be served but to serve (Mark 10:45) . I think people forget that sometimes. When we are clean from sin Fr. Wilson explained we can then properly receive Jesus in the Eucharist. We can then be filled with the love of Christ and then go out and fill the world with the love of Christ.

I couldn’t help but think of Father Stu as Fr. Wilson was talking about being washed from sin and the importance of confession, and the priesthood, and my wife being stuck in the kneelers. It is the phenomenal new film starring Mark Wahlberg (Daddy’s Home), Mel Gibson (Daddy’s Home 2) Jacki Weaver (Penguin Bloom)  and Malcolm McDowell (St. Patrick: The Irish Legend). It is about the life of the irreligious hard drinking foul mouthed boxer who eventually became a priest. A priest who consecrated the Eucharist and forgave people’s sins in the confessional. Kristin and I saw it right before going to Mass and the overall tone and emotional impact of the film stuck in my mind as I prayed and participated in the mass. The film brought laughter and tears to both of us as it told a very human and spiritual story.

It’s not a perfect film. It starts out sort of meh and then picks up speed as Stuart Long’s life picks up speed. Some of the dialogue is rough with bad language and sometimes the dialogue was hard to understand as well. Mumbles could be heard at time as opposed to actual understandable movie lines. The actors talked too low and fast during certain scenes. That problem will be solved at home when you can flick on the subtitles. The film also has a dark look to it so it was hard to see at times. Was that the film though or the theater not adjusting the picture properly? And too many close-ups. Medium shots are so much more cinematically appealing to the eye. Some of the minor characters and relationships could have been fleshed out more as well.

Ok. Criticism aside it is a very good story telling of how God washed the spiritual mud off  a person stuck in his bad choices The overall message I came away with is that God can take anyone from anywhere in life and turn them into a vessel of grace. He knows who He can use and when. The film is permeated with the mystical mystery of divine providence and how the choices we make, good, bad and indifferent can be woven into the overall grand story of salvation. There is a even a cameo by the Blessed Mother and Jesus? The film chronicles Stu’s ups and downs. It highlights the very real struggles and sufferings of his life. Fr. Stu’s life mirrors Christs as you see him suffer his bitter passion and agnony in his path to the priesthood. Christ raises him from sin and despair.

“My suffering is a gift from God. In this life, no matter how long it lasts, it’s a momentary affliction preparing us for eternal glory. We shouldn’t pray for an easy life, but the strength to endure a difficult one.”-Father Stu

It also shines a spotlight on the relationships with his estranged father, his loving mother, his dead brother, Jesus, the blessed mother and several others including a love interest.

Teresa Ruiz on Playing a Good Catholic Girl in "Father Stu" | POPSUGAR Latina

One last thing I want to dwell upon. Stuart Long went to hollywood to make it big. Got a job at a deli counter selling meat. He saw a pretty girl named Carmen played by Teresa Ruiz during one of his shifts and decided to pursue her romantically. At first Stu is hoping to get her into bed at one point. But she explains to him. “I’m Catholic. No Sex until marriage”. Stu says she’s worth waiting for. This pursuit of this Mexican Beauty brought him to a Catholic church and he thus eventually joined RCIA, got baptized and eventually became a priest. Sometimes God has plans for us that we couldn’t imagine or dream up. But the great overall moral of this story is that Pretty Girls can lead you to the priesthood, so be careful men.

And watch out when your kneeling down during Mass. You never know when you will miss the kneeler and get stuck.

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