Most of us like “Aha!” moments, when a teacher or writer or presenter combines facts in ways we hadn’t noticed before. “Aha!” allows us to see the familiar with new eyes or see something new in a way that resonates deeply in our hearts, minds and souls. Sometimes the “Aha!” comes with a mystery, a puzzle, or a conspiracy theory, when an investigator puts together the clues and we see what really happened.
There are a few teachers who’ve excelled at “Aha!” moments, as they’ve pulled the pieces together for us dolts. Scott Hahn, Peter Kreeft, Tim Gray, Jeff Cavins, Brandt Pitre are a handful of the many contemporary masters that come to mind. And I now have to add Fr Michael Gaitley and the new Divine Mercy In The Second Greatest Story Ever Told video series to the list.
I’m a latecomer to the work of Fr Gaitley, so working on that project as a scriptwriter was a fast introduction to his style and presentation. He’s amiable and conversational, which is engaging enough, but the surprise came with the many “Aha!” moments I had with his work. In case you don’t know, Divine Mercy is a remarkable interweaving of saints and sinners, with Biblical, historical and supernatural events. Dates and places that seem random and disconnected suddenly come together in what Hollywood might call a “story arc.” The lives and works of Therese of Liseiux, Alphonsus de Ligouri, Faustina Kowalska, Maximillian Kolbe and John Paul II converge. A battle in 1683, political maneuverings in 1920 and the collapse of a major world power in 1989 are part of a vital through-line. It has cliff-hangers and passion and the greatest romance ever. I experienced one “Aha!” after another as I saw the great tapestry of God’s work of Divine Mercy unfold.
“Aha!” connections mustn’t be underestimated. Think of the most memorable stories from the Bible. Most often they contain an “Aha!” that we’ll never forget. Perhaps if we created more “Aha!” moments in our parishes – showing the deep continuity between the Mass and the Bible, the beautiful symbols and colors of our churches and “real” life, the hidden meaning of the words we use and the artistry of the images we extol – then more Catholics would have more “Aha!” moments in their personal lives. The mundane and boring would take on a new fascination. The expected and familiar would be revitalized. False assumptions would be wrecked, misguided conclusions would be challenged and – who knows? – maybe lives and hearts would be changed.
That’s the power of “Aha!”