Actor shares message of faith

Jim Caviezel wanted to play in the NBA and later become a fighter pilot. God had other plans, however, which is good news for the American movie industry and Caviezel’s three children.

The actor spoke recently about his life, his career and his faith at a fundraising gala for Catholic Charities Jackson, which focuses on adoption counseling, immigration integration and other services, according to its website.

At a time when so many people in Hollywood are reluctant to talk about God, it’s refreshing to hear from a celebrity who is eager to discuss the Creator’s impact on his life.

Caviezel, best known for his portrayal of Jesus in The Passion of the Christ, told the assembly at the gala that the “Plan A’s” for our lives don’t often work out, but if we embrace God’s plans, the results can be wonderful.

Caviezel’s life is a case-in-point.

Had the Washington-state native gone his own way, he might have been the next Michael Jordan. An admirable goal. But if he had achieved that goal, he might not have landed the title role in the 2002 movie The Count of Monte Cristo, and he might not have played Jesus in the Passion.

And he might not have adopted his three children.

According to Caviezel, two “clarifying moments” in his life revealed God’s plans for him.

The first was at a movie theater in Washington. After an injury sidelined his dreams of basketball and flight training, he realized that God wanted him to be an actor.

The second moment was a powerful feeling that God wanted him and his wife Kerri to adopt a five-year-old boy from China. A five-year-old boy with a brain tumor. The couple later adopted a daughter, also from China and also with a brain tumor. A third child, suffering sarcoma, soon followed.

“If we had three or four (of our own children), we wouldn’t be open to adopting,” he told listeners at the fundraiser.

Caviezel urged his audience to embrace the callings that God had for them, but he admitted that doing so can be tough.

For Caviezel, as a father, embracing God’s plan meant standing by his first child during numerous surgeries to remove the tumor. As an actor, it meant agreeing to take on a role that could have ended his Hollywood career.

Mel Gibson, who produced Passion, told Caviezel that taking the role might mean not working in Hollywood again. As it turned out the movie was one of the top-grossing films of the year, and Caviezel’s career has continued to thrive.

“Callings are stressful, but if you have the courage they can be wonderful,” Caviezel told the crowd. It’s a positive message and one that Christians should take to heart. Not all are called to be actors or to adopt children, but all can be open to God’s plans.

(Originally published Sept. 23, 2018, in the Northside Sun, Sunland Publishing Co., Jackson, Miss.)