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Jim Caviezel: Shamelessly Catholic
Catholic Exchange ^ | 03.01.04 | Nadia Pozo

Posted on 03/01/2004 5:01:54 PM PST by el_chupacabra

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by Nadia Pozo


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Jim Caviezel: Shamelessly Catholic

03/01/04


"I have been scourged, crucified, and, oh yes, struck by lightning. I know from whence I speak. That's why I came here to show this remarkable film that speaks for itself," Caviezel told the 1,400 young adults in attendance at the Fellowship of Catholic University Students conference. "I want all of you to have the courage to go out into this pagan world and shamelessly express your Catholic faith in public!"


In This Article...
Unquenchable Fire
Driven into the Arms of God
J. C. Superstar

Unquenchable Fire

Caviezel's keynote address came after conference attendees had seen a private screening of The Passion of The Christ and spent a day hearing renowned Catholic speakers commissioning the young adults to take their place ushering in the new civilization of love.


Caviezel issued a similar challenge as he shared his experiences of making the film and the events that led up to accepting the role of Jesus Christ.

"What was it like to play this role? Unquenchable fire. There was no comfort. There was no peace," the actor said. He explained how he had been whipped twice while filming the scourging scene that took seven weeks to shoot. The lashes left him breathless, in severe, shocking pain, and with a 14-inch welt that would become the model the make-up artist used to create the additional wounds on his body.

"The second strike came with such velocity that I tore the flesh on my hands and wrists, yanking them out of the chains. I tasted two lashes of the whip. Some mystics think Jesus may have endured more than 5,000 blows. This was no mere man."

During the five weeks taken to shoot the crucifixion, he experienced hypothermia from the blood-chilling November winds of Matera, Italy. The actor explained how the winds came up the canyon like "knives" as he hung on the cross, with only a loincloth for protection against the cold. The cross, which stood on the edge of the canyon, swung back and forth with the real possibility of snapping and dropping him into a nine-foot ravine, he said.

To warm him, large heaters were used. Unfortunately, the heaters burned his toes and melted the latex makeup, but if they weren't close enough, the winds just blew the hot air away from him. Caviezel would oftentimes go home and try to sleep in the makeup that otherwise took eight hours to apply. His legs cramped, his limbs convulsed, and the makeup all over his body itched. He inhaled fumes from the heater, he had one eye shut and the other hyper-focused, while the crown of thorns caused him severe migraines, he said. "You know I'm just an actor pretending this is happening to me. It helps you appreciate what Jesus actually did continuously for every one of us."

Driven into the Arms of God

In addition to the pain and the exhaustion, he recalled how waiting on the cross between takes became tedious. To fight the boredom, he listened to music on headphones. One particular song called "Above All" by Michael W. Smith helped him through his most difficult moments.

"It arrived when I was confused and angry. I didn't think I could go on. The song described how Jesus was rejected and alone. That thought took me to a place — it opened an interior door that held me while on the cross," an emotional Caviezel explained. "The experience of feeling rejected and alone as all those around me laughed while drinking their hot coffees, oblivious to what was occurring. Jesus must have felt like this — forsaken, rejected, alone, and despised. It helped me pray in a very deep way — to pray without words, to pray from the heart. The discomfort, the loneliness, the split shoulder, the raw flesh all forced me into the arms of God because I had nowhere else to go for a performance I knew I was unable to create."

Caviezel emphasizes that anything good about his performance was born out of the fasting, the prayers, and the daily Masses.

"As I hung there I thought about all the twists of providence that brought me to that cross." The truth was that Caviezel had been chosen and he knew it had not been a coincidence.


He recounted for the captivated audience how Mary had been guiding him through all the key moments of his career — a career that would lead him to her Son. He gives credit to Mary for landing the most sought-after role in The Thin Red Line, by director Terrence Malick. He remembered arriving at Malick's home for an audition in a state of panic and self-doubt. It was a moment of truth, because he had decided that if he did not get the role, he would quit acting. He could not go on wondering if he would ever work consistently as an actor. "It's 6 p.m. and I'm still in the car," he said. "I need to go in. I believe in my heart the next 10 minutes changed my life forever. I'm an emotional mess and it's 6:05. I'm in the middle of the fourth glorious mystery."

He would go on to finish the rosary and, compelled by a familiar sensation, he took the rosary with him to the meeting. He had first experienced this sensation when, at 19, he felt called to be an actor. "I had a sensation right here in my chest that I was supposed to be an actor. That this was what God had crafted me for. This is what He wanted of me. Reluctantly I went forward." The woman who opened the door for him wore a Miraculous Medal. He assumed she was Catholic and the maid. She was neither. While they were talking, he got the sensation again, stronger then ever.

"I interrupt her and I say, 'This is for you Ma'am.' She is completely startled and she asks, 'Why did you do that?' Tears [are] welling up in her eyes. 'I prayed this morning that God would send me another [rosary] and in walks you.' This woman is now collapsing in tears. I'm holding the rosary between us and in walks the director [who] says, 'Honey, what's wrong?' I realize this isn't the maid! "From that day on, Terrence Malick and I began to have a close relationship that continues today. He would go on to cast me in the first major role of my career. It would be nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Something was going on, but it was still a mystery. Cut to the spring of 2000."

J. C. Superstar

Caviezel was on the set making the acclaimed Count of Monte Cristo.

The actor said it was a very difficult period for him. He wondered if his prayers were being heard. His sign came in the form of an image of the Immaculate Conception.

"While shooting a pivotal scene in the film, when the Count of Monte Cristo must decide if he [will] remain with the love of his life or leave her for his revenge, I'm looking up at the ceiling but in reality there's nothing there."

For inspiration, director Kevin Reynolds decided to have him look at a painting of the Immaculate Conception he found on the ceiling of one of the rooms. "I was in shock. It was a sign for me — a sign that the Lord and His Mother were with me. Through my trials they had been there the whole time leading me by the hand to my vocation. If you saw The Count of Monte Cristo, you know that shot did stay in the film and I'm proud to say that I shared screen time with the Mother of God."

The next thing Caviezel knows is that he is playing Jesus Christ in Gibson's newest movie, a film that no one knew he was making at the time.

Gibson wanted an actor with the initials J.C. who was 33 years of age.

Jim Caviezel fit the description.

"Was it a coincidence? I don't think so. When I was up there on that cross I learned that in His suffering was our redemption. Some of you may feel confused or uncertain about the future. This is not the time to give in. We each must carry our cross. It is time for our generation to accept that call. Young people, tear yourselves apart from this corrupt generation — be saints! Use the gifts given to you by God for good purposes. You can only reach the splendid heights He has reserved for you if you first submit to Him. Conform your will to Him."

Caviezel challenged everyone from university students to priests and bishops to resist the desire for comfort, popularity, and timidity. He challenged leaders to preach the unpopular gospel "in season and out of season." He called all Catholics to recommit to prayer, the rosary, fasting, frequenting confession and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. "Our whole world is entrenched in sin. There in the quiet of our hearts a woman is calling us, each one of us, back to her Son. Jesus is there for us in the Scriptures. How often do we ignore Him? We must shake off this indifference. Only the Faith and the wisdom of the Church can save us, but it requires men and women, warriors ready to risk their good names, even their very lives to stand up for the truth."

In a passionate rendition of Gibson's battle cry from the Oscar-winning "Braveheart," Caviezel challenged Catholics to fight for the freedom that is real — freedom from weakness and from the slavery of sin.

"You, my friends, by God, you must fight with Mary and with Christ as your sword. May you fight with St. Michael and all the angels in defending God, in sending Lucifer and his army straight back to hell where they belong!"


Nadia Pozo is a Staff Writer for the Catholic Standard & Times.

(This article originally appeared in the Catholic Standard & Times, Archdiocese of Philadelphia and is used by permission. Please visit their
Web site.)



TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Current Events; General Discusssion; Ministry/Outreach; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: catholic; catholiclist; caviezel; passion
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To: el_chupacabra; american colleen; sinkspur; Lady In Blue; Salvation; CAtholic Family Association; ...

"You, my friends, by God, you must fight with Mary and with Christ as your sword. May you fight with St. Michael and all the angels in defending God, in sending Lucifer and his army straight back to hell where they belong!"

Jim Caviezel will be Raymond Arroyo's guest, on this week's edition of The World Over Live. The program airs on the EWTN Channel at 8pm. You may submit a question for Caviezel, by scrolling down on the following link and clicking on the email link.

World Over Live

51 posted on 03/03/2004 8:16:48 AM PST by NYer (Ad Jesum per Mariam)
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To: bluebunny
I believe I got it from one of the NewsMax reports I know I heard!
52 posted on 03/03/2004 8:32:34 AM PST by restornu ( "Faith...is daring the soul to go beyond what the eyes refuse to see."J.R.R. Tolkien)
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To: bluebunny
I stand corrected but I did heard it said! Someone made the point that actor who played Jesus was Jewish! Heard it on WABC, FOX or one of the net news!


JIM CAVIEZEL

Biography

Since his breakthrough performance in 1999 as ‘Witt’ in Terrance Malick’s “The Thin Red Line,” Jim Caviezel (pronounced Kuh-vee-zuhl) has rapidly become one of the busiest actors in Hollywood.



Caviezel can currently be seen in the title role of Buena Vista film’s “The Count of Monte Cristo.” Directed by Kevin Reynolds, and also starring Guy Pearce, the story is based on Edmond Dantes (Caviezel), a sailor falsely imprisoned in an island jail for treason. He eventually escapes, becomes rich, and wreaks revenge upon the men who famed him.



To be released in April 2002, Jim will also be seen starring in 20th Century Fox’s “High Crimes” opposite Ashley Judd. The story centers around Claire Chapman (Judd), a San Francisco attorney who teams up with a former military attorney (Morgan Freeman) to defend her husband, Tom Chapman (Caviezel), in military court. The military has declared him a deserter, charging him with participating in a mass killing in El Salvador. Can she get him free? As the disturbing top secret details of the crime are revealed, will she want to?



Caviezel was most recently seen starring in Warner Bros.’ “Angel Eyes” opposite Jennifer Lopez. He also co-starred with Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment in the Warner Bros. film “Pay It Forward” as a homeless recovering heroin addict taken by a boy looking to start a program of good deeds. Last spring, he starred opposite Dennis Quaid and Andre Braugher in the New Line Cinema sci-fi feature “Frequency,” portraying a New York cop who discovers he can communicate with his late firefighter father who died in 1969.



Also in 1999, he appeared in “Ride with the Devil,” the Civil War epic directed by Ang Lee.



Growing up in rural Mount Vernon, Washington, acting was far from Jim’s mind. While still in his teens, however, he decided to test his abilities by auditioning in Seattle for a small part as an Italian ticket agent in Gus Van Sant’s “My Own Private Idaho.” He landed the role by fooling casting agents into believing he was a recent Italian immigrant.



Also upcoming for Jim is a starring role in the independent film, “Madison,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The film is the true story about the economically depressed community of Madison, Indiana, and its desire to win a Gold Cup hydroplane boat race to be held in their small town.



Personal Details


Birth name: James Patrick Caviezel

Date & location of birth: September 26, 1968 Mount Vernon, Washington

Height: 6’2”

Spouse: Kerri Caviezel (1996)

Parents: Jim and Maggie Caviezel

Siblings: 3 sisters (Ann, Amy, Erin), 1 brother (Tim)

Trivia: - Grew up in a tight-knit Catholic family.

- His surname is Romansch (Rhaeto-Romanic), from Switzerland.

- Met his wife on a blind date in 1993. She is a high school English teacher.

- He played basketball in college, but took up acting after injuring his foot.

53 posted on 03/03/2004 8:38:30 AM PST by restornu ( "Faith...is daring the soul to go beyond what the eyes refuse to see."J.R.R. Tolkien)
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To: restornu
Aha, his name is Romansch. Which is basically backwater Latin that survived up in the rural fastnesses of Switzerland.

If you can speak Latin, you can understand Romansch (helps if you have a little German too.)

54 posted on 03/03/2004 8:49:00 AM PST by AnAmericanMother (. . . sed, ut scis, quis homines huiusmodi intellegere potest?. . .)
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To: el_chupacabra

NJ Catholic priest was so appalled by Mel Gibson's "The Passion of The Christ'' that he described the film as "religious barbarism.'' "I saw it as religious barbarism ... in my opinion, God did not send his son to die,''


55 posted on 03/03/2004 8:49:47 AM PST by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, algae)
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To: NYer
Thanks for the ping. Very inspiring!
56 posted on 03/03/2004 8:56:31 AM PST by Jaded
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To: Northern Yankee
Just talked to my mom tonight, and she ordered 10 more copies of 100 Questions and Answers on The Passion of the Christ. Have you seen it? (Catholic Exchange website.)

Thank you for that piece of information. The Catholic Exchange online purchase program includes an option to purchase items for militarymen and women. Another nice feature, at checkout, is the ability to define a charity to which a portion of the proceeds will be sent.

57 posted on 03/03/2004 9:07:12 AM PST by NYer (Ad Jesum per Mariam)
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To: NYer
Darn. Wish I had EWTN.
58 posted on 03/03/2004 9:15:54 AM PST by bluebunny
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To: bluebunny
Wish I had EWTN.

You can watch the program live from their web site, using Windows Media Player or Real Audio. It's a win/win situation.

59 posted on 03/03/2004 9:25:14 AM PST by NYer (Ad Jesum per Mariam)
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To: NYer
Cool! Is it Friday at 8 pm est?
60 posted on 03/03/2004 9:34:30 AM PST by bluebunny
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To: el_chupacabra
Excellent article, thanks for posting it and God bless!
61 posted on 03/03/2004 3:09:02 PM PST by Romish_Papist (Lurker for three years, finally registered, love this place!)
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To: NYer
Catholic Exchange offers a discount to the military?

How marvelous!

They are located about an hour from where we live.

If I get over that way I will have to stop in and thank them for all they've done.

62 posted on 03/04/2004 3:56:20 AM PST by Northern Yankee ( Freedom needs a soldier...)
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To: restornu; kstewskis; Victoria Delsoul; GirlShortstop
I listened to the interview with Rush, but didn't hear him mention that he's Jewish?

Am I missing something?

I think he's Catholic... but then again we are all children of God!

Good Morning all!

63 posted on 03/04/2004 4:15:12 AM PST by Northern Yankee ( Freedom needs a soldier...)
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To: Northern Yankee; NYer
Good morning!

N.Y. and NYer, thank you for the ping, and the EWTN info, as always.  
"Our whole world is entrenched in sin. There in the quiet of our hearts a woman is calling us, each one of us, back to her Son. Jesus is there for us in the Scriptures. How often do we ignore Him? We must shake off this indifference. Only the Faith and the wisdom of the Church can save us, but it requires men and women, warriors ready to risk their good names, even their very lives to stand up for the truth."
Veritas.
64 posted on 03/04/2004 5:00:35 AM PST by GirlShortstop
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To: Northern Yankee
Am I missing something?

No it me for distrubing this site!

I never said I heard it on Rush, I heard it in the chatter over the pass year!

Please excuse me for sharing if I thought all of faulting finding was going to land on my head.

I thought I was being friendly, I am not Catholic I just thought you like to heard this.

Oh dear me!

65 posted on 03/04/2004 6:27:32 AM PST by restornu ( "Faith...is daring the soul to go beyond what the eyes refuse to see."J.R.R. Tolkien)
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To: restornu
Good evening...

I am not sure what you're talking about in regards to fault finding, and things falling on your head?

I hope that's not the case.

Just a puzzlement that I had.

You are friendly, from what I can tell.

So am I.

May God bless you, and let his face shine upon you.

Jay

66 posted on 03/04/2004 6:35:15 PM PST by Northern Yankee ( Freedom needs a soldier...)
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To: Northern Yankee
I just heard the chatter in the pass year and than corrected it when I found out he was not Jewish. I am so Glad that Mel made this movies I think none too soon.

I am looking toward all people who love good recognized how political the world has always been even to the point of underminding scripture in a subtle way.

And if one deviates from the universal script they will be osterzied!

Thank you for your lovely reply

Many Blessings

67 posted on 03/04/2004 7:26:50 PM PST by restornu ( "Faith...is daring the soul to go beyond what the eyes refuse to see."J.R.R. Tolkien)
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