On The Way


Today, my wife Joan and I saw the new movie "The Way" starring Martin Sheen, directed and written by his son Emilio Estevez. Can a movie be both incredibly gorgeous and spiritual at the same time? Apparently it can. Director Estevez has proved it with this inspiring road movie.

El Camino de Santiago, the Way of St. James, is an ancient route from the Pyrenees in southern France, across northern Spain, through Galicia to the Atlantic Ocean. For over 1000 years, pilgrims have followed The Way, a route that passes through such places as Pamplona, Burgos, and Leon. The Way 'ends' at the tomb of the Apostle St. James the Greater located inside the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (Field of Stars).

Martin Sheen plays a Dad whose son dies in the mountains while starting The Way. As Sheen's character decides to make the pilgrimage his son had begun, he meets others along the way. Each is searching for an answer to a dilemma. One wants to quit smoking. One wants to lose weight. One has writer's block. As we learn more about each person, we find that there are much deeper wounds and needs at work.

In Estevez' script, one of the characters says he is not much interested in religion. Another says in reply, "Religion has nothing to do with this. Nothing at all."

That was the 'moment of truth' for me in this wonderful movie. The Way is not religion. It's about waking up and finding out who we are. It's about living our lives mindfully, joyfully, and in the community of others.

St Francis of Assisi once said, "It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching."

Perhaps this is the real message of this film about love. It's not transformation. It's transcendence. It's realizing that we mean so much more than we realize.

I love that The Way brings you to The Field of Stars. What a destination.

Talk about poetry in motion.

Posted by Terrence Seamon on Saturday November 26, 2011

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