Thursday, May 28, 2009

God or the Girl: Young men choose between the priesthood and marriage

We recently watched a DVD that I found on the shelf at our local library. It's called God or the Girl.

It was filmed for the cable television network A&E, as a reality/documentary show about four young men who are trying to discern whether or not they have a call to the Roman Catholic priesthood. The title is a little misleading, as only one of the young men is actively dating a girl (and he quickly chooses the girl). Another young man has put off his relationship with his girlfriend so that he can have time to discern more wisely. Another has a hard time getting a girlfriend (which elicits some groans from my girls, who were quickly rooting for a particular girl to NOT date him), and another young man (perhaps the most handsome of them all) has given up his successful career and half-million dollar condo and girlfried he wanted to marry in order to be a FOCUS missionary and test his call to the priesthood.

We were thoroughly engrossed in the five episodes, despite the annoyance of having the segments recap the previous episodes since this was originally made for television. Even my husband stayed up late to watch the final episode where the three remaining young men "reveal" their decisions. So as not to spoil the show, I won't tell you how they choose, but you'll be able to figure it least for all but one of them, and his decision really isn't surprising either.

The series encouraged me to up my prayers for vocations and for those who are called to be priests because it is so obviously a supernatural vocation that can't be sustained by will of man alone (e.g. the Fr. CutiƩ scandal).

My two youngest, who were adopted from Guatemala around the age of 2 and who have no memories of their native land, were enchanted by the lovely, though realistic, images of the heartbreaking poverty in Guatemala, as seen through the eyes of the FOCUS missionary. I played that portion of the DVD especially for them to see the conditions in Guatemala and to inspire them to do something to help the people there when they grow up. The missionary priest from India shown in the series cares for a mission plus 60 remote villages. He is able to visit each village only once every 3 months...but that is more often than his predecessor, who was only able to visit them once a year. Nevertheless, the Guatemalan people are so joyful and so thankful for anyone who comes to visit them and they share what little they have with the priest and the young missionary that the missionary is deeply changed, and I believe those who watch this video will also be deeply changed.

I highly recommend God or the Girl for families, for young men, for youth groups and for anyone who is interested in priestly vocations.

P.S. I almost wish I hadn't watched the "special features" on the DVD. Apparently, a fifth young man was filmed but didn't make the cut for the final tv special, and with good reason. He comes across as a very confused and unconfident young man, despite also being a FOCUS missionary. He even goes so far as to see a "life coach" in Boulder, Colorado who makes him go sky diving in order to boost his self-esteem. He is akward on a date with a young lady, who looks miserable thorought the ordeal and he is a terrible public speaker.Even his fellow FOCUS missionaries groan and roll their eyes when they have to deal with him. Watch at your own peril.

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