Saintly Movie Stars

Saintly Movie Stars

On a Thanksgiving tour a Mexican lad stated how amazed he was there was a saint for every human need and asked what the modern equivalent was.

“Movie stars.” I answered and here’s why….

If you’ve visited ancient sites where man built up cities anywhere in the world you’ll notice some common denominators.  Namely ancient man like jewelry, watching or playing sports that involved a ball and worshipping deities.  I think these three things remain in our DNA.  You may not be religious, per say, but everyone worships something even if it simply money, sex, a sports team or themselves.

Fast forward through the centuries and you’ll stumble upon a pantheon of gods the Mayans, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and countless others worshipped.  Notice how they often looked human, and certainly had problems with family, love and other human conundrums.

Much like royalty did throughout history.  If royalty, who had all the money and power in your country, but still couldn’t get along with their in-laws what hope did the average Joe have?  This notion still holds true as the popularity of The Crown attests.

Along the way came the notion of a single god and it simply wasn’t possible to pour every human desire and emotion into one Jewish lad that lived with his mother until he turned 30.

The Catholic Church was nothing if not a public relations juggernaut always taking what folks already believed, tweaking it some and making the result Catholic.  I’ve spent countless tours, lectures, videos and books explaining just that in our lovely hamlet of San Miguel de Allende.  So along came the saints that were fine-tuned in every aspect of human endeavor.

Saints are folks known to be Heaven and to get the title, Saint, means they are officially recognized by the Church.  Based on their experiences on this plane, each has specialties that can intercede on your behalf to improve your health, fertility, marriage, crops, gambling luck and so on.  Judging by all the milagros (miracles) placed on nearly every saint statue in town in acts of appreciation, their schedules are booked solid.

To me, the transfer of allegiance from gods and goddesses, royalty and then saints was an easy one.  All are larger than life and frequently featured in art, but during their lifetimes had our same issues and concerns.  Who does that logic apply to since a century ago?

Movie stars, of course.  They seem human but are magnified tenfold on big screens with problems, both off and on screen, similar to our own.  There are entire industries built around telling us their problems.  Since they can’t be movie stars forever, you get to pick your favorites and hope they’ll last knowing they can’t.  Being on a pedestal just makes one easier to push off, eventually.

As Carrie Fisher famously quipped, “Fame is obscurity simply biding its time.”

So that’s my timeline on the popularity of saints, or anyone that is larger than life but with similar issues be they gods, royalty or celebrities.  To be a movie star is an obsession for those that crave it.   For me, I’ll stick with saints as St. Anthony, patron of lost things, has helped me find my phone and keys more than Angelina Jolie has ever even tried to!