Beauty and the Beast and the Bible

BeautyBeastPosterLike most typical American kids, I grew up with Disney movies in my DVD collection. Some films are great, some were great, and some are just trash.

Beauty and the Beast (B&B) is great. I’m sure you already know that if you’ve seen it. But here are some details you may not have noticed:

——1) The prologue is narrated in stained-windows… stained-windows… reminds you of what? What kind of buildings have stained-windows? For what building was stained-glass invented for? If you said castles or palaces, then you’re partially correct. The answer: Christian Castles/Palaces — aka: churches.

——2) The Rose is the main motif in the movie, especially a rose that seems to countdown. If that doesn’t hint at the ROSARY (which is a bouquet of prayers we offer to Our Lord’s Blessed Mother), then I don’t know what does!

the-assumption-of-the-virgin-1670——3) Speaking of the Blessed Mother, what colors do Belle wear? Did you know that light blue and white are Marian colors? Notice that the majority of traditionally colored Mary statues and icons show her to be wearing blue and white.

——4) Shortly after we meet Belle, she stops where and sings to what? She stops at a fountain, and she tells a story in song to a little lamb. A fountain is like a well, and in Sacred Scripture, it’s typically the place a man and woman have a significant meeting (recall Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel, Moses and Zipporah, Jesus and the Samaritan Woman). Well, in B&B, we see Belle singing to the lamb: “She doesn’t discover that it’s HIM till chaper 3…”

This is significant because Jesus had to be revealed to the Samaritan Woman, had to be discovered. And three is a convenient number that not only rhymes, but symbolizes the third day after Jesus’ death — when His Resurrection is discovered by Mary Magdalene. Also, Jesus is the prince in disguise!

BelleLambAnd what does a lamb symbolize in Christianity? “Agnus Dei…” which means “Lamb of God…” which means Jesus.

And Belle is Mary, and Mary is the God-bearer, and God is love… so Belle carries love.

Betcha never connected that “Mary had a little lamb… little lamb… little lamb. Mary had a little lamb whose wool was white as snow” is talking about the Blessed Mother who has a Son who is innocent and pure.

And in B&B, everyone thinks Belle is such a strange, funny girl, such an odd girl unaware of her own beauty. Well, Mary is odd too! She was immaculately conceived, and no one else was. She would obviously have been singled out as exceptional and strange and completely oblivious to how beautiful she is (because of her humility). Oh, oh, oh! You don’t know you’re beautiful! Oh, oh, oh! That’s what makes you beautiful!

BeautyBeast——5) What about what causes the prince in B&B to be cursed? Wouldn’t that be the sin of pride? Being spoiled, selfish, unkind… and pride causes us to be isolated to the point that we curse ourselves. Pride was the Original Sin, and it caused us to be disfigured, naked, ashamed, lonely and doomed to die. And so after the prince commits this sin, he becomes a beast: ugly, naked, ashamed, lonely, and doomed to die.

——6) Our sin never affects us in isolation. Sin is like contagion: it spreads. And so Adam and Eve’s sin caused all of us and the rest of Creation to crash and burn. In B&B, the curse spreads throughout the castle, infects the servants, the forest, the world around the property. Sin is never personal; it affects everyone eventually.

BeautyBeastBalcony——7) And only what can redeem Beast and his servants? Only if he truly loves and is truly loved in return, right? And doesn’t Belle bear that love? She’s the one to break the spell… she must give her love to him, must give her word to him. Notice later in the film that it’s only when Belle says she loves him is the curse busted. This is so symbolic of Mary’s fiat to the Archangel Gabriel, when she said “let it be…”

——8) At the ball, notice the colors of Belle’s gown: yellow and white. Those are the colors of Mother Church, the Bride of Christ, the redeemed. The colors of the Vatican flag hint at this.

PiercedSide——9) When Gaston (whatta jerk…) attacks Beast, where does he stab him? In the side! The right side! Take a look at any crucifix and you’ll see that’s exactly where Jesus was pierced (John 19:34).

——10) Then, when Beast dies in Belle’s arms… it looks a lot like the Pieta.

——11) And earlier when Beast released Belle after the ball, he in effect accepted sin (the curse) and death. Recall Beast’s response when his servants warn him of the mob’s approach: “It doesn’t  matter, just let them come.” This is a bit similar to when Jesus accepted our sin (though he was sinless) and accepted His impending death, even death on a cross.

——12) But true love breaks the spell (remember that God is love). After Mary gives her fiat, God is allowed to intervene (allowed to love) at the ground level of our humanity to redeem us through the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus. And in B&B, after Belle’s fiat, we see Beast rise from the dead in glorious light. His body shines forth as a glorified body. This is totally an allegory in the movie for the Resurrection of Christ!BelleLoves

——13) And Beast’s salvation also saves the whole castle (transforms all the gargoyle’s too!), all his servants and the world around him.

——Bonus) Beast can be seen as a Christ figure, in that Jesus is also known as the Lion of Judah, an idea that C.S. Lewis used when writing the character Aslan in his Chronicles of Narnia.

Aslan

So there you have it, 13 or so details I noticed one day while re-watching this classic.

——BONUS) Found out recently via a comment below that the Prince’s name is actually Adam (thanks Anh-Thu!)! This further adds to Biblical symbolism, since the New Adam (Jesus) and the New Eve (Mary) in a perfect way undo the sin of the first Adam and Eve. We see this played out in Beauty and the Beast because Adam (the Prince) becomes a new man at the end (a new Adam), undoing the past sin (most importantly with the love and help of Belle [who can be seen as a type of Mary, a new Eve.]).

——BONUS 2) Here, we see an even deeper connection with points 5 and 6 above. Now that we know the Beast symbolizes Adam, we also can see how similar their reaction to sin is. After the Original Adam sinned, he felt great shame, thought himself ugly and hid himself. So too does the Beast do this!

——BONUS 3) That’s right, it gets better! According to the film’s plot summary, the beggar visits the Prince on CHRISTMAS EVE. Now, this definitely makes me recall that on the First Christmas Eve, Mary and Joseph [and the unborn Jesus] were beggars trying to find a place to stay. The people they asked turned them away, not knowing the beauty of the Holy Family and that someone very powerful, special and beautiful was hidden within the Holy Couple: Jesus.

——See here for the review over the 2017 remake

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LML: Secrets of Intervention (CH:02)

[WARNING: what follows is an interview that reveals the details and depths of Little Miss Lucifer: The Legend of the Exorcess. SPOILER ALERT.]

02 Intervention

—You: The second chapter’s title Intervention reminds me of the phrase “divine intervention”. I’m guessing that’s what you were going for?

—Evan: You guess well – that’s exactly what I was going for. It’s a pretty common phrase, even found in pop songs like Mraz’s “I’m Yours”. It usually means that God (Divinity) cuts into the world to directly make a miracle happen. The Lord usually let’s be the laws of nature (that He designed), but sometimes He will make an exception, and not to go against nature or logic, but to go above nature: to cause supernatural phenomena.

—You: And in Intervention, we see a sort of Great Escape.

—Evan: You know what, I wasn’t even thinking this when I was writing the scene, but it reminds me of when Peter was imprisoned. An angel sears into the jail cell, wakes Peter and breaks him out! My goodness… this scene matches really well with Luke’s account in Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 12. There’s even the light shining on Peter, as there is a light shining on the protagonist in Intervention!

—You: I’m going to read Acts 12 and see for myself! But I sort of recognize the beginning of your second chapter: “In the sixth month since…” It just doesn’t sound like something anyone would write these days – the style.

—Evan: That’s because I’m alluding to the Gospel of Luke’s first chapter, verses 26 and 36 (I actually just realized it matches with 36 too!). In verse 26, the Angel Gabriel visits Mary in the sixth month, and in verse 36, the Angel Gabriel shares with Mary the news of her cousin Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy. So… there’s some recurring theme here…

—You: Haha, not to mention that the Angel is an agent of divine intervention. Very Biblical! I noticed terms like fishermen and mission too.

—Evan: Yep, I decided to stick to metaphor. There’s just so much weight and richness when using metaphor and analogy.

—You: I noticed. You supersaturate the pages with metaphor. In fact, I don’t think you even used the word cry or tears at all in this chapter. I’ll have to reread it to be sure, but all I remember are words like heavy rain, streams, rapids, waterfall, ocean, whirlpools, monsoons, typhoons, tsunamis and weeping mommies.

—Evan: And aren’t those words a bit more expressive? I’ve decided that in my writing, I want to describe and say things in ways no one has said them before, or at least in ways rarely used. In this story, I also tried to use an organic approach: I wanted to use living and natural things in my descriptions. I avoided techie and artificial objects. It makes the tone more… gritty and alive. Of course, it matches the type of story too.

—You: One thing I’d like clarified is the “sisters” we’ve been reading about. Are they all related, like biological siblings here? Or are we talking about Catholic nuns?

—Evan: I’ll have to let you think that out. But I will share this: All nuns are “sisters”, but not all “sisters” are nuns; and when I say nun and sister, I mean Catholic Christian women who have taken vows to live lives of poverty, chastity and obedience. Such women are called consecrated/religious sisters, and such men are called consecrated/religious brothers.

A nun is different from a religious sister in the same way a monk is different from a religious brother. Nuns and monks are cloistered, meaning they lock the world out so that they can focus on a simple life and pray the rest of their lives, praying for you and me, praying for those of us who have no one to pray for them. In fact, that’s kind of what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI decided to do when he retired from the papacy. He went into a monastery to pray (for the rest of his life) for Pope Francis, for the Church, and for the world. He didn’t retire to relax!

Religious sisters and brothers do not go into cloister. Instead, they work in the world, minister to the ill, the weak and the abandoned. They become teachers, nurses, engineers, and even multimedia specialists. Anything to help evangelize. There was even a religious group of sisters who went on Oprah!

—You: Ohhh, I see. So Mother Teresa is a religious sister, not a nun. And that’s pretty cool that Benedict XVI is doing that. I didn’t know!

—Evan: So these sisters you’ve been meeting in LML are not technically nuns, nor biologically siblings.

—You: They’re religious sisters, and spiritual siblings? I get it now, I get it. And those prayer knots, I think you called it a knotted thread? Is that what I think it is?

—Evan: If you’re thinking it’s a Rosary, then you’d be right. You can actually make one yourself! It’s not too difficult, and with enough time and practice, even middle schoolers can make them (I helped a bunch of them learn during a Lent retreat last year).

—You: Aren’t Rosaries made of beads though?

Cord Rosary—Evan: They can be beaded, but the simplest ones are just a series of barrel knots. I actually like these cord Rosaries best. They’re durable, resilient, light and quiet. I’ve seen people use big cords to make knots as big as fists, or they can be the usual pea size. All you need is enough thread/twine/string/etc. Anyway, I’ll share more details about it in the coming chapters. It makes a reappearance. And hang onto the setting of this scene, it’ll come in handy further along the story… when flashbacks happen *hint hint*.

—You: Hmm… all right, until next time!

—Evan: Happy Feast of the Epiphany And enjoy your snowday!