A new movie on Netflix has really made an impact on the public. It is entitled, "Bird Box" starring Sandra Bullock. Netflix says over 45 million subscribers watched this movie, classified as a horror film, when it debuted. That is the biggest debut of any movie they have ever had.
I was one of those 45 million. It did not scare me as much as help me understand a little more what it means to walk as a Christian in this world ruled by Evil itself, a/k/a the devil.
The movie has a fascinating premise. The world has been invaded by some sort of evil force which is never actually shown. All we see are the effects of this evil force, which is to cause mass suicide. People willingly slash their throats, shoot themselves in the head, walk in front of moving vehicles. One scene showed a woman calmly step into a burning car which exploded seconds later.
As we discover, people are infected by merely looking at the evil force. Each person sees something different based on his experiences in life. Once these people are captured by a vision, they cannot turn away. They become oblivious to everything else around them, and eventually they kill themselves in some fashion.
The evil force actually cannot harm anyone who does not look at it. The heroine of the movie, played by Sandra Bullock, discovers this fact along with several others who take refuge in a private house to escape from the evil. They cover all the windows to keep from looking at this malevolent force.
They soon realize that eventually they will have to go out for food. In trying to figure out a way to go outside without being infected, the owner of the house decides to look at the outside through his security cameras. He feels that since he is not actually looking at the evil force but only at pixels on a computer screen, he will be safe. However, he does send everyone else out of the room just in case he is wrong.
And he is wrong. The evil force infects him through the computer screen. Despite the fact that his hands were tied down to prevent him from harming himself, he somehow manages to commit suicide.
The group is still stuck trying to find a way to get food. One of the group is a manager at a food store, and he discloses that he has the keys to the store. They decide to go to the store to get food, and devise a plan of covering and spray painting all of the windows in a car and then drive using the GPS system. After a harrowing experience, they do make it to the store without looking at the evil force.
Once at the store, Sandra Bullock finds three lovebirds in a cage. She is touched by their innocence and beauty and takes them with her. She soon discovers that these birds can sense the evil force before she is aware of it, thus helping her to hide from the evil.
At several points in the movie, people appear who seem to be good people and want to help. But they are actually agents of the evil force and are intent on killing. One of the things that gives them away is that they don't wear blindfolds. Another warning is the reaction of the birds, who become very agitated anytime the evil force is near.
I won't go into any more detail on the movie here. My point is that I see many allegories from this movie to the Christian walk and the way to avoid evil in the world while living in the midst of it.
The evil force in the movie affects each person in a unique way, basically tailored to each individual personality. Once the people are infected, they are completely deceived and begin to believe that what they see is something good and desirable. They actually become willing victims, drawn to the false vision presented. Although people are drawn to the evil force in unique ways, the end result is always the same - death.
Just as agents of the evil force in the movie often did not appear evil, the devil does not appear to us as a roaring lion. He appears as something good and desirable, even appearing as an angel of light to draw us in. II Cor. 11:14.
None of us are anywhere near as strong as Jesus Christ was when He walked the earth. Our Lord never for a moment took His eyes off of the Father. As soon as Satan tried to tempt Him away, Jesus immediately turned to His Father and rebuffed the evil one.
But we are weak, filled with sin, victim of our own passions and desires. If Satan can get us to look at him and his temptations, he knows he has us. He will enable our self deception, making us believe that even as he, evil incarnate, stands in front of us luring us away from God, we are actually looking at an angel of light. We actually become his willing victims.
One of the reasons the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind is because that is what will protect you from Satan and his traps. If you give yourself completely to Jesus Christ, holding nothing back, Satan cannot touch you because you will not even be looking in his direction.
Pride never doubts itself. Pride never listens to anyone who thinks differently.
As a result of this self delusion and myopia, Pride is susceptible to anything that inflates the self, causing it to unerringly go down the wrong path. In its self inflicted blindness, Pride refuses to heed the warning signs, discounting everything that does not fit into what it wants to believe.
Pride exalts the self as the paragon of truth and virtue and thus, Pride believes it is one with God. Ergo, since Pride believes it is always right, anyone who disagrees is its enemy and the enemy of God. Therefore Pride believes that to destroy its enemies is also to destroy God's enemies, and thus Pride believes it is doing God's work when all the time it is really serving Satan.
Pride is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Taking of that tree drove our first parents from Eden, and it drives an impenetrable wedge between us and our Creator. And if we don't belong to God, the only other alternative is Satan.
Pride defines Satan and pride defines everyone who belongs to Satan.
Pride is the god of death.
Another beautiful allegory of the movie was walking not by sight but, in a sense, by faith. People were forced to wear blindfolds when outside to protect themselves from the evil force. This was their only defense If people took off their blindfolds and trusted their sense of sight, they were doomed.
I felt the most effective display of not trusting their sight was shown in the scene where they are driving with the car windows covered and using only their GPS to navigate.
The Holy Spirit is the Christian's GPS. We cannot allow ourselves to be swayed in any way by the world around us. We must keep our eyes focused on Jesus Christ. We must, in effect, wear Jesus Christ like a blindfold, blocking out everything but him. If we avert our eyes even for a second away from Him, Satan will be right there, ready to pounce.
In the movie, to walk by sight meant certain death. Walking by faith. in a sense, was the only way to survive.
And that is the key to living a Christian life and surviving in a world filled with an evil force intent on destroying us. We must literally walk by faith, not by sight.
The people in this movie were driven out of their world which had been captured by an evil force. They still had to navigate in it at times, and did so by detaching themselves as much as possible from their environment. They had to constantly be aware and heed the warning signs of the evil force inhabiting their world. They had to learn not to trust in themselves, because to do so could have deadly consequences.
The real world, the world in which we live, is actually a much more dangerous place than that portrayed in the movie. The evil force that inhabits our world cannot only take away our physical life, but much more importantly, he can take away our eternal life.
By ourselves, we are completely powerless against our great adversary. If we trust ourselves and our own senses, he will win.
In the movie, Sandra Bullock and others found refuge in a home. We, as Catholic Christians, have been given refuge in Holy Mother Church. That is where our safety lies. That is where we will find life. We must stay close to Jesus, never taking our eyes from Him. And when we are out in the world, we must keep our spiritual blindfold on, looking only at Jesus and never at the things of this world.
We must walk in the world, but not be part of it.
Sandra Bullock found a couple of birds that acted as warning signals when the evil force was near. We have been given so much more. We have the written Word of God, the teachings of the Church, 2000 years of writings by the saints, Our Blessed Mother, our guardian angels. We have the Sacraments. We have prayer. Above all, we have the Holy Eucharist.
We have also been given the promise that the physical leader of our Church - the Holy Father - can never mislead us. He is the one person in the entire world that we can actually trust. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is an agent of the devil. Such a person is trying to take your eyes off of God. Such a person, whether he realizes it or not, is trying to lead you to trust only in yourself. Once you do that, you are on the sure road to destruction. If you separate from the Vicar of Christ, you have separated from Christ.
Just as Sandra Bullock put on her blindfold so she could not see that evil force, we must put on Christ so we can see only Him and not the evil force infecting our world. That is the only way to life.
We must walk by faith, not by sight.