An Actor’s Speech Worth Listening To

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Darn. How did I miss the Golden Globe Awards?

But then again, do you miss something when you never planned to watch them in the first place?

Hours of actors giving speeches.

Next to politicians, academics, and news media heavyweights, I can think of few groups that value themselves and their opinions more; with exceptions, obviously.

The self-importance oozes.

Genuine humility brings so much more credibility.

Genuine people have a way that dictates truth.

Jim Caviezel has a genuine way about him. And, gasp, he’s an actor (Count of Monte CristoThe Passion of the Christ).

With the Golden Globes on television Sunday night – but not on my TV – I cued up Caviezel on YouTube. Caviezel addressed the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) convention in Chicago last week. There were bishops, priests, and nuns giving talks.

And the actor.

“Set yourselves apart from this corrupt generation. Be saints. You weren’t made to fit in. You were born to stand out.”

There is no reason to be convinced of one’s faith because an actor says so. I pay no attention to the ad nauseam speeches from the Golden Globe mob. But Caviezel’s words stand out because they go against the industry that he works for.

Caviezel has a film coming out in two months (Paul, Apostle of Christ), but he has been talking about the difference that faith and values make in his life well before, even before he played the role of Jesus in The Passion. In an interview after the release of Count of Monte Cristo in 2002:

“I have a wife that I have to be responsible to, and there are always temptations out there. Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden and they gave up quite a bit to have a nice taste of an apple. Well, I’m in the Garden of Eden and I’m going to be held accountable for everything I do.

“Chasing the world, chasing riches or fame or fortune isn’t going to make me any happier. In fact, from everyone I’ve talked to, once you win an award or have a hit film, you want another, but it won’t fulfill you.”

After The Passion in 2004, Caviezel did not receive many starring roles. Caviezel also passed on Christian movies that were lame. “So, when people go out and make movies, they – excuse my grammar – they have a good guy becoming gooder and ending the goodest. Where’s the turn here? Were these guys sinners?” Caviezel said in a recent interview.

When talking to the students last week in Chicago, Caviezel warned of a silly faith.

“Some of us now – you know them – embrace a fake Christianity, where it’s all happy talk. I call it ‘Happy Jesus’ … Guys, there was a lot of pain and suffering before the resurrection. Our path will not be different so embrace your cross and race toward your goal.”

Caviezel’s appearance at the FOCUS convention was not scheduled. But he easily was one of the highlights (I might also suggest Sister Bethany Madonna). No wonder. College students would expect the bishops, priests, and nuns to pile on the holy talk. Caviezel’s life and witness makes the faith real to them, and all the more challenging.

“We are a culture in decline, a people in danger of succumbing to our excesses. Our whole world is entrenched in sin. And there, in the quiet of our hearts, God is calling out to each of us, to give ourselves entirely to Him. And how often we ignore Him; ignore that sweet call?”

Maybe Caviezel’s words stick with college students who are searching for something to hold onto in a society of relativism.

“For in our country now, we are only too happy to go with the flow. We have a shrine to freedom now, where all choices are equal, no matter what the consequences are. Do you honestly think this is true freedom?

“… Can society exclude moral truth and moral reasoning?

“Every generation of Americans needs to know that freedom exists not to do what you like, but having the right to do what you ought.”

There is a way we ought to live. We look for truth, as well as inspiration to do that. Jim Caviezel’s talk lasted 14 minutes (compared to the hours of Golden Globe speeches). Give it a listen.


Kevin Thomas is a writer and former teacher, living with his wife and children in Standish, Maine.