Movie: The Mission--Robert DeNiro's penance?

So while watching The Mission recently the thought occurred to me, after watching DeNiro’s character lug up that huge bundle of armor as his penance, that perhaps the Protestants have it right?

Was it really necessary for him to do that?

Don’t you think Jesus was saying, “Dear Son, your sins were forgiven when you received absolution from the priest at Confession. This penance you imposed upon yourself was completely unnecessary. I already did that for you.”

Now, I get that even after our sins are forgiven we must “make it up” by doing penance. (Like the little boy who breaks a window still has to pay for it, even if the owners have forgiven him.)

But, I can’t help feeling that God looked at DeNiro’s character’s horrible struggle to get the bundle up the mountain as unnecessary.

Comments? Thoughts?

Forgiveness and reparation are two distinct things. God had already forgiven him. DiNiro’s character was making reparation for his sin.

Maybe we could view it from the perspective of the transformation of the heart. It isn’t as if God will hold our sins against us until we do some rediculous penance, but rather that through prayer and asceticism and penance we learn to train our will to submit to the will of God. Through it virtue is opened up to us and we come into a deeper relationship with God.

[quote="jimmy, post:3, topic:199331"]
Maybe we could view it from the perspective of the transformation of the heart. It isn't as if God will hold our sins against us until we do some rediculous penance, but rather that through prayer and asceticism and penance we learn to train our will to submit to the will of God. Through it virtue is opened up to us and we come into a deeper relationship with God.

[/quote]

Yes Jimmy, Jesus knew exactly what he was doing when he gave us the Sacrament of Penance.
It is sad that more us do not take advantage of the Sacrament any more.Peace, Carlan.

I am not sure whether that is a criticism of what I said or support of it.

Was that the Pennance the Priest assigned in the Confessional?

[quote="jimmy, post:5, topic:199331"]
I am not sure whether that is a criticism of what I said or support of it.

[/quote]

It's a support of what you said, Jimmy!

[quote="nsper7, post:6, topic:199331"]
Was that the Pennance the Priest assigned in the Confessional?

[/quote]

His penance assigned in the Confessional was left unsaid. We don't know.

OK, I was wondering whether my words were being percieved as minimizing the sacrament. Now that I look at Carlan’s post it makes perfect sense. I don’t know where my mind was before that I couldn’t understand the meaning.

I’m probably not the best person to interpret the meaning of a movie, but here’s my take.

When I first saw the movie, I saw DiNiro’s dragging that armor around as a self-assigned means of purging himself of an ORIENTATION he had previously developed toward murderousness. It never occurred to me that he was not forgiven or even that dragging the armor was an assigned penance. To me, that armor was symbolic of the heavy weight of that awful tendency he had built in himself. I considered that his character had had an insight into the moral deadliness of a way of thinking he had built up in himself, and this was a way of reminding himself in a very literal way how “weighty” it was; how terrible it was to carry murderousness of mind around with him.

It was not necessary to the forgiveness of his sin, but he perceived it as useful to becoming another sort of man; one who would better resist that sin. In obtaining forgiveness of sin, we not only need to confess, we need to have a firm purpose of amendment. Did the movie character really require that awful task as a way of amending his life? I don’t know. But the character certainly thought so, and might have been right in thinking it.

[quote=Ridgerunner;6667197
]
:hmmm:
It is God’s forgiveness and grace in the sacrament of Penance which helps us in prayer ,asceticism and penance to grow in virtue, our reparation for sin, forgiven by God, not only helps us but helps all sinners in the world when we offer to God reparation for the worlds sin.
Jesus taught us the Doctrine of the Cross in Matt16,24. "If a man wishes to follow me he must deny himself, take up his cross and begin to follow in my footsteps… Peace, Carlan
[/quote]

Good comments on the theology of sin and forgiveness. Just some things to think about.

1. It is implied that this was the penance given, as one of the brothers asked Gabriel (Jeremy Irons), "hasn't he had enough?" To which the reply, "He doesn't think so." God forgiven DiNiro, DiNiro felt he had to complete his penance, perhaps he did not believe God could forgive him. He continued to carry up the net even after one of the brothers cut it off from him.
2. What was the sin? He killed his brother and was angry that people laughed at him. His anger that led to the duel was a result of him being laughed at as his brother reminded DiNiro who he is actually angry with.
3. What was in the net? The tools he used as a slavehunter. Armor, swords, etc. Who eventually cut it away? A child from the village he persecuted. A child who came to him, looked at him with, maybe, pity. Who then cut away the net and threw it into the river. Looked at DiNiro with kindness, as the villagers laughed. One DiNiro persecuted cut away the weight of his cross, and in that motion, forgave him. The villagers recognized him. They also laughed at him. Instead of getting angry, he cried. He cried because they were laughing at him. But after seeing the child, and being cut away from his burden, the crying turned to laughter, where he was received into the arms of his Brothers, and the villagers who forgave him.

Lots of symbolism in those scenes, but DiNiro at that moment, felt the love of God the Father, the love of those he persecuted, and forgiveness not only from God, but his brother as well.
Lot's to think about!!!! Awesome thread!

the whole point of that element of the story was that no, he did not need to do that in order for his sin to be forgiven, nor was he assigned that as a penance. It was self-imposed and necessary to him psychologically, but not morally.

It is actually unstated in the film if it is assigned or not… allowing for the viewer to interpret it as they will.

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