Several acclaimed films in theaters now are not afraid to speak of God's presence in the world. He raises the dead in The End of the Affair, heals the sick in The Green Mile, and sends a plague in Magnolia. Belief is hip again in Hollywood, infiltrating even the action genre (End of Days) and raunchy comedies (Dogma). But a quieter release, The Third Miracle, surpasses all of these in depth and quality. While the others use miracles to announce to their characters that God indeed exists, this overlooked drama uses miracles to push characters into relationships with each other. Instead of merely focusing on an individual's decision to place faith in God, The Third Miracle reveals how community is essential for developing and sustaining faith. It's one of few films that train our eyes on the daily living of Christian life.
At the story's beginning, Father Frank Shore (Ed Harris) has all but walked away from the priesthood, secluding himself in an anonymous lifestyle. But unlike Dogma, for instance, where the backslidden protagonist is brought back to God's service through an angelic messenger, this highly ordinary story sees Frank tracked down and asked by a fellow clergyman to return to service. Dogma's heroine has to suffer her crisis of faith alone, attending church but talking to no one, but Frank is returned to fellowship. He, too, struggles with belief, but is sustained through this dry period in his faith by fulfilling his role as a priest, by simple obedience to his superiors and fidelity to the flock. In Frank's serving and being served, God makes himself evident through common means.
Frank serves the church as a postulator, a priest who investigates candidates for sainthood and argues the case of those ...1
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