If you have watched “The Triumph” movie, and you stayed to the end then you recognize this cheer from the blooper reel. This movie has shown throughout Canada and U.S. over the last few months with great success. After viewing the movie today, I can see why.
“The Triumph” is a documentary about the apparitions of Mother Mary in Medjugorje. I have never been to Medjugorje and while I was curious to watch the movie, I went today because I was invited to write a review. Having little knowledge of the apparitions in Medjugorje did not affect my ability to enjoy this film. I will try not to spoil the movie in this review because I truly believe everyone should see this film.
Before commenting on the actual film I like to clarify that I always attempt to align my writing with the teaching of the Catholic Church. First of all, these apparitions in Medjugorje have not been approved by the Vatican. Mainly because investigations usually begin when the apparitions have stopped and in this case the claim is that the apparitions still continue to this day. I know all things are possible with God. As indicated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church #67 “Throughout the ages, there have been so-called “private” revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.
Christian faith cannot accept “revelations” that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such “revelations”.
Through this I understand that a Catholic is not obliged to believe in these apparitions, and we are to reject any private revelations that go against the teachings of Christ and His Church. I don’t see any harm in staying informed on what is happening in Medjegorje, and having spoken to a few individuals who have travelled there, I think it is fair to say that this trip has not damaged their faith. We are called to tread with discernment and caution as we contemplate the possibility of these apparitions being authentic.
This documentary provided an opportunity for me to learn more about what is going on in Medjugorje through the eyes of a 28 year old man. In the first few minutes I realized some may have felt like it was a tourism ad “Come on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje.” However, that is not what struck me. For someone like me who does not have the means at this time in my life to travel to Medjugorje personally, it was like the makers of The Triumph movie brought Medjugorje to me.
In this documentary we follow a young man named Ben and his experience and trip to Medjugorje. Ben is a cradle Catholic, who fell away from his faith at some point, but still considers himself a believer. He is a Catholic with some issues, some questions and even some doubts.
“I believe in you Lord, help my unbelief.”
We can all relate to Ben who first arrives in Medjugorje as a skeptic. He makes some pointed statements that are worthy of some reflection. He expects to see a sign in order to believe there is truly something happening in Medjugorje. He recognizes this as a lack of faith. When we demand a sign, “what kind of faith is that?” He says.
The cinematography was excellent. Providing scenic views from the top of the hills, and the beautiful sunrises, I am partial to scenic views, so this kept my attention. When the pilgrims climb the mountains, the filming is done in a way to appear that we are climbing the hill with them. It was very engaging with the use of humour, adventure and even some heartfelt moments that had my eyes welling up with tears.
The allegories in the film were easy to identify. Cross Mountain is a mirror of our faith life. It is a three-hour trek, through rocky and muddy ground, that must be done on foot and many do this walk in bare feet. Ben is reluctant to make this trek. In life we desire union with God but we don’t want to climb the mountain.
Ben struggles with addiction. It is an addiction that is easily minimized or justified. He gives in to binge drinking, smoking cigarettes and marijuana. Even his issues are an allegory for sin which we all have to deal with. This film challenges us to look deep within ourselves and see what we are doing wrong. This is what Ben is challenged to do. He realizes that if we are not fighting for God, then we are not fighting.
We also hear from Mirjana who is one of the visionaries. Her humility and faithfulness shine through the camera. One of the greatest messages for me from Mirjana is the message that we cannot judge. Mother Mary asks us to live in peace. She is the Queen of Peace. Mother Mary asks us to respect the freedom of each man to believe or to sin. We cannot judge others for what they believe or for what they do. However, we are called to have a pure heart. An impure heart cannot do good and just things. Even a believer can have impure heart. God doesn’t allow war to happen, what God allows is for us to use our freedom. We choose war or we can choose to love.
This film can be enjoyed by all, those who share in the Catholic faith and even those who are not Catholic. Ben speaks with an Orthodox minister and Muslim Imam. In Bosnia the Catholics, Orthodox and Muslims live in peace providing an example for the world over.
There was nothing in this film that was contrary to our Catholic beliefs. In fact, the message encourages and elevates the elements of our faith, the Eucharist, the Priesthood as a bridge to Heaven, and the love of God for all of us, which can be found in the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Mary does nothing more than embrace us all as her children and bring us to her heart which is infused with God’s love.
What is The Triumph? It is the conversion of hearts to live this peace, respect and love for souls. When God triumphs in the hearts of men, then He will also triumph in the world over.
Over all “The Triumph” is a message of hope and reminder to pray and cultivate a relationship with God.
In Ben’s words, “What is the point of a life changing experience of God’s presence if we don’t take that change into our daily life?”
That’s enough reading, now check out the website and commit to watching the film if you haven’t already.