Family values. What is that, exactly? In a world in which we are bombarded by words and images from so many different sources, we lose track, sometimes, of what’s really important in life. This past Sunday was a reminder of what it means to be a faithful servant to God. Living a life of service to others is the great goal that we, as individuals, should strive for. The canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II should be an inspiration to us all. In our busy lives, how often do we stop to contemplate the many blessings that we have been given, let alone take the time to really give ourselves to others? It doesn’t have to be dramatic. A hug, a kind word, things that we sometimes take for granted can mean so much to others. I am especially guilty of such lapses.
The title for this post is also the name of my favorite show on television. You can be forgiven to think that this fantastic fantasy show is all about fairy tales. It is that and so much more. There are dwarves, ogres, heroes and villains galore. Earlier in the season, they had Peter Pan. Now they have the Wicked Witch of the West. And yet, for all the trappings of magic and fantasy, this is a show, that in its heart, is a manifesto of tenderness, forgiveness, longing, sacrifice and yes, love. If you’ve never seen this show, watch if from the first season. If you must watch only one episode, watch the episode “Skin Deep.”
In the early 90’s, Disney came out with the fantastic animated film, “Beauty and the Beast.” To me, that movie was one of the greatest love stories ever told. Imagine the story retold, with even more poignancy and depth. The great Robert Carlyle, one of the most versatile and accomplished actors in the planet, and the beautiful Emily de Ravin make this forty five minutes or so of escapism a reflection of what it means to be human. Vanity and despair, through sacrifice and understanding, give way, slowly, to something that changes the lives of two people, profoundly. Fear gives way to hope. Understanding gives way to forgiveness. And through forgiveness, love is born. The moral of a fairy tale. The words preached and lives lived by two remarkable men.