Movies/My Culture May the 4th be With You… and With Your Spirit by Dillon Duke Do you like fast-paced combat and intergalactic warfare set to an incredible soundtrack? Are you a fan of beautiful, imaginary galaxies with rich civilizations? Do you enjoy watching a story told by several generations of heroes and villains? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you might want to dive into a galaxy far, far away. I have seen all of the movies released in this legendary franchise more times than I want to admit and although they aren’t all masterpieces (looking at you, Attack of the Clones), there are lessons to be learned from its contents. The fascinating characters that live throughout the galaxy teach us several lessons about life, morale, and fear, most of which parallel Catholic teaching. So, in honor of Star Wars day, here are some of my favorite quotes: SPOILER ALERT: In order for the quotes to make sense, I include the events leading up to each, so if you haven’t seen the movie,, there will be spoilers. “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda, The Phantom Menace Context: A young Anakin Skywalker, while being assessed by the Jedi Council, admits he is afraid of what his mother has been forced to do since he left her to be a Jedi. Anakin asks why it matters that fear is on his heart, which leads to this response from Master Yoda. Meaning: Anakin Skywalker continually acts against the Jedi Code in an effort to protect the ones he loves. He fails to step back and examine his choices and instead, reacts emotionally to situations, which usually causes mass destruction for himself and those around him. We cannot let our emotions control us but rather, we must asses our problems and situations calmly and rationally through prayer. While this requires a great deal of patience, (a virtue shared by both Jedi and Catholic saints), when we respond courageously, peacefully, and lovingly, we are less likely to make mistakes. Catholic Equivalent: “Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Spirit, and raises man to Heaven.” – St. Ephraem of Syria “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back Context: In an effort to master the force, Luke Skywalker travels to the planet of former Jedi Master Yoda for training. Luke, doubting that he can use the force to lift his X-Wing out of the water, says he will try, which elicits this response from Master Yoda. Meaning: We should not desire to live in a grey area of commitment. Regardless of what we want to do in life, we should pursue our goals with confidence, giving 100% of our effort. In the same way that Yoda desires Luke to give everything he has to the task in front of him, God desires us to give everything we have to Him. But oftentimes, we only give God what we are comfortable giving. While God is happy to receive what we give, He wants our every hope, fear, doubt, and desire so He can accomplish great deeds through us. Catholic Equivalent: “Christ does not force our will. He only takes what we give him. But he does not give himself entirely until he sees that we yield ourselves entirely to him.” – St. Teresa of Avila “The belonging you seek is not behind you, but ahead. I am no Jedi, but I know the Force. It moves through and surrounds every living thing. Close your eyes… feel it… the light… it’s always been there… it will guide you.” – Maz Kanata, The Force Awakens Context: After an incredible sequence of events that bring her away from her home planet, Rey touches the lightsaber of Luke Skywalker, which causes her to enter into a hallucinatory state. When she enters back into reality, Maz comforts her with the above quote. Meaning: Rey searching for her place in the galaxy but she keeps trying to find it in the past. Maz points out that her true place is somewhere she is yet to discover, and she must let the Force (AKA the Holy Spirit in the Star Wars universe) guide her on her journey. As Catholics, we cannot root our identity in our past sins. If we are to live out our lives fully and freely, we must let go of our past and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us on God’s path for our lives. Catholic Equivalent: “As the soul is the life of the body, so the Holy Spirit is the life of our souls.” – St. Peter Damian “Hope.” -Leia Organa, Rogue One Context: A group of rebels, titled Rogue One, sacrificed their own lives on a mission to retrieve the structural plans of the Death Star, the planet-evaporating weapon of the Empire. A general for the rebellion, not knowing what the plans are, gives them to Princess Leia Organa. The general then asks what the plans are, prompting this response from Leia. Meaning: The Star Wars series follows characters clinging to nothing more than faint hope. The “good guys” seem to always be outnumbered in size and power by the opposition (whether it be a droid army, the Empire, or the First Order). What makes these protagonists more than just heroic characters though is the fact that they have a relentless hope that inspires them to continue to fight, even when failure is imminent. Like the Jedi, who remain faithful to the Force in times of extreme doubt, we must put our faith in God, even when all else seems to tell us to do otherwise. Even our largest obstacles can be conquered if we simply put our hope in God, because He’s already overcome them all. Catholic Equivalent: “We can never have too much hope in God. He gives in the measure we ask.” – St. Therese of Lisieux “That’s how we’re gonna win. Not fighting what we hate, saving what we love.” – Rose, The Last Jedi Context: Finn, a pilot for the Resistance, is about to sacrifice himself by flying his ship into a cannon manned by the First Order. Rose, another fighter for the Resistance, flies her ship into Finn’s, saving him moments before death. Finn asks Rose why she would do that, leading to this response. Meaning: Although Finn and Rose are not Jedi or Catholic, this is an important idea to keep in mind when talking about spiritual warfare. Spiritual warfare is a very serious matter but we become so obsessed with the warfare and forget why we’re fighting, we get lost in the battle. Saint Michael the Archangel, a leader of the army of angels and one of the most Jedi-like saints, slays demons in an effort to protect us so we can be free to protect what we love — our relationship with God. While attacking what we hate might seem like the cooler option, protecting what we love helps us stay true to our cause. Catholic Equivalent: “‘Shun evil and do good’ (Ps. 34:14), that is to say, fight the enemy in order to diminish the passions, and then be vigilant lest they increase once more. Again, fight to acquire the virtues and then be vigilant in order to keep them. This is the meaning of ‘cultivating’ and ‘keeping’ (Gen. 2:15).” – St. Maximos the Confessor Whether you can quote the cheesy dialogue from the prequels or know nothing about the series, I wish you a happy Star Wars day. May the Holy Spirit, (and the Force), be with you.