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The Myth Pilgrim

Author: Br Lawrence MGL

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A Catholic podcast exploring how fairytales and myths can nourish your spiritual journey. The ultimate vision of The Myth Pilgrim is personal conversion and a deeper love for Christ, his Word and his church. Br Lawrence MGL explores theology alongside Disney, scripture alongside The Lord of the Rings, Saints alongside Star Wars … and so much more! Allow the symbols of your favourite tales inspire, challenge and nurture your faith today.
83 Episodes
A healthy masculine journey progesses through the stages of Warrior, King and Sage ... or so our great myths tell us! Yet, all three expressions are in crisis in the West, and the consequences are far reaching. Join Daniel-san and Mr Miyagi, re-learning the key stages of masculine initiation.  Recommended reading on Masculine Spirituality Healing the Masculine Soul – Gordon DalbeyWild at Heart – John EldredgeAdam’s Return – Richard Rohr
More Aslan wisdom! Spiritual maturity is as much about remembering as it is about growing. Allow this famous passage from the Silver Chair, to shed light on the forgotten significance of remembrance throughout the bible.  Excerpt from episode: "Today I feel drawn to only hone in on one feature, remembering, and the importance of remembering in the spiritual life. By remembering here I do not merely refer to the recollection of information, but rather, to make present a promise of God, or an act of God. You’ll recall that Aslan tells Jill to remember the four signs he gives her, and gets her to repeat them over and over until they’ve become part of her, precisely because, when she is leaves her literal mountain top experience and goes down to Narnia, she will become clouded by the world. The precise words Aslan uses are “say the signs to yourself when you wake in the morning, and when you lie down at night and when you wake in the middle of the night”. Keen biblical readers will recall this is very much what God commanded the Israelites to do regarding the great Shema instructions... "
This most classic of fairytales is not only profoundly Christian in it's story and symbols, it offers us a reflection on jealousy, and a way out of it. Excerpt from episode: ... "Snow White represents a type of Eve, who is lowly and yet incredibly beautiful in the eyes of God – woman as depicted in Genesis is the pinnacle of God’s creation, and its crowning beauty. Amen! Like Eve, Snow White is the mother of all living things (which is what the name Eve means), and has a close connection with all the animals in her kingdom. Satan, however, is jealous of all this privilege, and so sets out to destroy Eve and her offspring once and for all. But he doesn’t really succeed. In the tale, this is like the queen, whose plans with the hunter and poison apple don’t really succeed in destroying Snow White. But the queen does drive her out of her original home, as Satan did with Eve where she and Adam were exiled and had to fend, toil and work off the land. This is where the symbols of the dwarves come in. These little men work in the mines, toiling and hacking away at the land through the sweat of their brow. Significantly dwarves are also small and humble and honest, living close to the earth, a detail we’ll touch on later ... "
A new 'Chinese philosophy and holiness' episode! Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon offers not only a expose of Confucian and Taoist philosophies, it also offers Christians reflection on the balance between order and chaos in our lives. Both are vital dimensions of a flourishing spirituality, but are they both welcome?  Excerpt from episode:"Dear friends, this is the fourth episode on the Myth Pilgrim that follows the theme of Chinese philosophy and holiness. Today, I present before you Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, a cultural icon not only in Asia, but also in the West. Winning the Oscar for best foreign language film in 2001, this great myth of Taiwanese cinema cannot easily be classified or categorised. The title Crouching Tiger, is a Chinese idiom that means there is much more than meets the eye. While heralded for bringing wuxia martial arts into western consciousness, the film is also a sweeping love story, socio-political commentary and an exploration of Chinese philosophy. Particularly this episode, I will explore the relationship between order and chaos, presenting in the second half of this episode why both order and chaos have their place in the Christian life. To do this with crouching Tiger, I will first be exploring the innate tension between Taoism and Confucianism, the two philosophies that have most shaped Chinese culture."
11 Oscar winner Titanic is both a mythical love story and a dire warning against hubris (arrogance towards the gods). Learn how divine love conquers hubris, and how Jack and Rose reveals Christ's love upon the cross! Excerpt: ..."substitute Rose and Jack with us and God, and you’ll realise that an experience of divine love is akin to flying, it expands our horizons, sets us free and gives us a future full of hope. Partnering with God it’s a bit like sailing into a sunset – there’s enough light to allure us, but mystery enough to seduce us. Notice that Jack as Rose’s saviour figure lifts her hands in a way that is quite literally cruciform, like Christ on the cross. Her open arms are at once the wings of a bird as they are a gesture of surrender and an act of trust. And Jack could lead Rose to do this because he himself had done it first, before she arrived… and as she closes her eyes with arms open, he places his hands in hers and joins her arms in cruciform fashion, literally backing her up in the act of total surrender. So you get where this is going? Now you have lover and beloved, united upon the cross, where they exchange their first kiss. Isn’t this a profound way to look at the cross? Not as an instrument of condemnation, but the place of consummation …between Christ and his beloved, and the place where we the beloved most profoundly encounter the love of Christ himself. We too are inspired to offer up our lives, because Jesus himself had done so on the cross. I’m not sure James Cameron had all this in mind consciously as he write this scene, but in some ways it doesn’t matter. We human beings absorb information on multiple levels, consciously and subconsciously, and perhaps during this scene, something of the Christ archetype was always speaking to us … perhaps with a language only the soul knows..."
The 1959 Ben Hur is epic not only in scale, but also in spiritual depth. Follow the exile and redemption of Judah Ben Hur, and feel the tension between faithfulness and idolatry, vengeance and forgiveness.
Braveheart has always captured the hearts of men, but how does it capture the heart of Christ? Br James Price explores how William Wallace's passionate heart reveals Jesus' heart for his bride. Rediscover Christ as the archetype of manhood!
Comedic crudeness aside, why do the Shrek movies have such heart? Learn how the Scottish ogre can help us navigate an era of cancel culture, hyper-romanticism and decline in platonic friendships.  Excerpt from episode: ... "This is where Donkey’s character is so profound. If there was one word I could use to describe Donkey’s virtue it would be the word ‘inoffendable’ if that’s even a word. It means that he is able to withstand the barrage of Shrek’s ugliness and rudeness and have these insults roll off like water off a duck’s back, not taking it personally and remaining strong in his character. Donkey had the same heart that allowed Christ to see past the exteriors of the leper, the bleeding woman, the criminal outcast, traitorous apostles and even a violent demoniacs. As the famous Shrek analogy goes, we are like onions, we all have layers. This means that all of us are complex and mysterious … even to ourselves. The fact of our onion-ness flies in the face of cancel culture and the toxic character assassinations on social media, that loves to create ogres out of people and rally the masses to get out their pitchforks and rocks. This is so immature, and sad, for even the very worst of us are still layered like an onion, complex and mysterious. How can we not be? If we truly are made in the image and likeness of God, and God himself is part mystery, then each person too, will always be part mystery... "
For 37 years, the Legend of Zelda franchise has allowed millions to 'live out' a mythical story. Why is this series so universally popular? What desires is it tapping into? Learn the ways Link and Princess Zelda can unveil the call of the spiritual journey! For those of you who are interested, I have transcribed my academic paper on "A Pastoral Response to Video Game Addiction in Teenagers" here. 
Why did so many ancient civilisations offer sacrifice? How did Jesus' sacrifice overthrow the the Jewish Temple? Discover the parallels between Katniss Everdeen overthrowing the Hunger Games, and the mission of Christ!  Excerpt from episode: "... And so, for 73 years, countless young tributes were sacrificed for this false sense of order. Then, comes Katniss Everdeen, who through love of her sister and friends, breaks the whole system and exposes the inhumane sham of the sacrificial ritual. When Katniss refused to play by the game-makers rules, and threatened to leave the Hunger Games without a winner, the effect upon the Capitol was the equivalent to Jesus cleansing the temple… and the ripple effect of the scandal was about the same too. As you remember, the Capitol’s response was swift - Snow pretty much sentences his game maker to death, peacekeepers turn into stormtroopers, hospitals are firebombed and district 12 is obliterated. Why such a harsh reaction though? Why such a drastic, over the top response? We know today that the single event that most enraged the Jewish authorities to want to kill Jesus wasn’t his healing on the sabbath, his forgiveness of sins, or his eating with tax collectors. It was Jesus’ storming of the Temple that enraged the authorities most … for this was a direct defiance upon the sacrificial ritual of the Jews..."Soundtrack used this episode were taken from The Hunger Games OST (James Newton Howard) & Beautiful Israel & Music (John Farr) 
Despite popular opinion, Sleeping Beauty is NOT about a helpless female waiting for the strong man to rescue her. Rather, this classical tale reaches into the reality of the Fall and the subsequent redemption of Christ. Allow Sr Rosie Drum to baptise this tale into the heart of the Gospel! Excerpt from episode:  "... from that perspective, all of us are Snow White, or Briar Rose, or Sleeping Beauty. All of us are incapable of moving beyond sin and evil that has trapped us into a coma. And those of us that are awake to the human struggle ... we know how hard it is to shake off particular sinful habits we've gotten into, or what trauma has done to us. In all of this, we can experience a helplessness, or powerlessness to be able to save ourselves. Which is right at the very crux of what Christianity is about: humanity can't save ourselves, we cannot saves ourselves, we need a saviour, a human saviour... "  
This Holy Week, allow me to share an original fairytale I wrote, one inspired by Jesus' passion and resurrection. If you're drawn to adventure, romance, mystery and the hero's journey, this is the tale for you! Blurb: "A young apothecary who has a bright future in his kingdom. In a single moment however, his vocation is shattered and the apothecary sets out on a remarkable quest. Journey with him through failure and glory, death and life, heartbreak and love." The illustrated picture book is available now via Amazon!
The game of chess can teach us much about life, especially the spiritual life! Dive into the spiritual principals behind (1) controlling the centre of the board (2) knowing your enemy (3) valuing the smallest piece, and (4) strategizing with the final objective in mind.Excerpt from episode: "... It is pretty clear from looking at chess that it is a war game, with two sides lined up on opposing side of the board, with complete opposite colours. As such, we should approach the game of chess with the general’s hat on, rather than just going about things haphazardly and randomly. No military general rushes into battle without knowing both his own army and his enemy’s. But what about the spiritual life? Whether we recognise it or not, we are all of us caught up in spiritual warfare everyday, and the devil on the opposite side of the board is very intelligent, cunning and shrewd … much more than us. We may sincerely want to ignore him and just strategize on how to grow in virtue and holiness, on our own terms. This of course is important, but the moment we lose sight of what the enemy might be trying to do, you will soon find your own efforts thwarted, you may soon find yourself GG… checkmated by the devil and his minions..."Soundtrack credits for this episode: Scarborough Fair (London Pops Orchestra), Tetris theme (Harzy1HourMusic), Tension (Pink Zebra), The Imitation Game (Imitation Game, James Horner)
J.K. Rowling herself cited how Christianity shaped not only Harry Potter's finale, but the saga as a whole. Walk through Harry's passion, death and resurrection, and learn why Lily and James’ tombstone says “The last Enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Cor 15:26). Excerpt: "... Okay, so how is the ending so Christian? Today, we’ll hone in on three details. First, we’ll explore the significance of beheading the serpent Nagini, and specifically, the Mary-like role that Lily Potter plays in aiding her son’s defeat over evil! Secondly will be Harry’s passion and death in the Forbidden Forest, facing off to Voldermort. And thirdly of course will be his resurrection, and how like Christ, it was his wielding of mercy and love that ultimately defeats evil."Soundtrack credits: all tracks taken from the Harry Potter motion picture OST: A window to the past, Lily's theme, Harry's love, The Battle of Hogwarts
What does beauty do to the soul? Why are artists called to be champions of the new evangelisation? In this special episode, I interview Damien Walker, Catholic artist and art restorer, whose message for the church is prophetic! Check out Damien's Art Studio: The Studio of St Philomena Here is the image and details on Our Lady of New Zealand: Te Ara a Maria A link also to St John Paul II's Letter to Artists 
Angels, guardian angels & fallen angels (demons) are truths upheld by the Catholic faith. Strangely today, its our myths and fairytales that proclaim their reality more than most churches. This episode uses these stories to rediscover the friends and foes in the spiritual realm. Excerpt from episode: "See, our myths and fairytales remind us what the Celtic Christians used to say: the world is porous and thin, and permeable by the spiritual realm. Whether we personally feel at peace or in conflict, there is a spiritual battle taking place which draws in the whole of creation. This certain enchantedness of creation is not only accepted within Catholicism but celebrated… we who have the most developed teachings of angelology as well as demonology, drawing from the accounts found in the scriptures, but also developed from theologians and the experience of the saints. I’ll divide up today’s episode into two sections then – beginning fist with angels, then moving onto fallen angels, before finally offering some reflections on their significance on this pilgrimage here on earth"
How does virtue carry a man through hellish injustice? Not only is Gladiator a profound spiritual allegory, Maximus' hero's journey illuminates the path we all must take as Christians. Excerpt from episode: "What makes Gladiator mythical is that the Maximus returning from exile wasn’t the same Maximus as the one pre-fall but one infinitely greater, and that it was precisely through his suffering and death, that his true greatness was accomplished. Think about it: in the beginning when all was going well for Maximus, he served Rome well, was loved by his solders and helped extend Rome’s borders into Germania. But by the end of the movie, the returning Maximus doesn’t just serve Rome, he recreates Rome, by winning the hearts of the Romans and ensuring the end of its dictator, paving the way for the republic to be established. The dream of Marcus Arellius couldn’t be actualised when Maximus was simply being a mighty general, but when he was a lowly gladiator, it was accomplished." Soundtrack: tracks used this episode from the Gladiator OST (Hans Zimmer): Now we are Free, Elysium, The Barbarian Horde, Victory theme, Earth theme 
The story behind the writing of 'O Holy Night' is as inspiring as the carol itself. God always uses the most unlikely of sources and circumstances for his glory! This Advent, reflect upon how "modern man cannot find God because he won't look low enough."  Excerpt from episode: "However, when Cappeau officially walked away from the faith and became part of the French socialist movement, and church leaders discovered that Adam was a Jew, the Catholic church enforced a sudden ban upon the song. O Holy Night was officially blacklisted, for how could a hymn coming from such unholy origins be any good." Music credits:  'O Holy Night' vocal cover (Petronella and Paul Hoare) Night Garden Waltz (Rebecca E. Tripp) 'O Holy Night' (performed by National Philharmonic Orchestra)
Despite it's sci-fi trappings, Nolan's Interstellar is one of the greatest love stories ever told. Unpack how black holes, gravity and time travel illuminate the story of human salvation, and how the love of the Resurrection "transcends the dimensions of time and space.""Stripped to its bare bones, Interstellar is a story about human salvation. Or more accurately a story about the desperate rescue mission to save humanity from extinction. As such, if I could summarise the story of Interstellar in one sentence, it is this: “how the faithful love between a father and his daughter, could overcome any physical force in the universe, so much so that this love saves the whole of humanity.” It always impresses me how this sci fi giant reveals a deeply human story about a father to his daughter, whose love remains the same even across the stars. Nothing separates the love between Cooper and his daughter, and as such, the great paradox of this sci fi epic is that it is one of the most human stories told in recent years. For Christians of course, the salvific love between father and child lies at the heart of our salvation story, one that involves God the Father, and us his precious children. Just as Cooper once made a promise to Murph “I love you, I love you forever, you hear me? And I’m coming back,” God the Father made the same promise to us his children that his love was forever. Unlike human love, which is so prone to become distracted and distorted and weakened over time, God’s love remains faithful forever, because it is a covenant love... "
Who is the greatest warrior against Sauron? Guest Danny Davis explores how two forgotten characters—Tom Bombadil and Goldberry—teaches us about the weapons of innocence and humour.Danny's Book "Guests, Hosts and the Holy Ghost: Who Tolkien's Tom Bombadil and Goldberry are and why it really matters"Here is an Amazon link to the book, with a foreword from Joseph Pearce! 
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