I saw the movie Jackie on Netflix last night. I’ve been wanting to see it since it was in the theatres, but the timing never worked out.

The film focuses on Jacqueline Kennedy in the days following the President’s assassination. Mainly, I wanted to see it for the fashion. And because the Kennedy family is an endless source of fascination. I had no idea the film was also about faith.

At many points in the film, Jackie feels despondent: her strong Catholic faith challenged by the deaths of two children in infancy and her husband. At several points in the film, she meets with her priest who continually provides her with wise council.

She is forced to wrestle with the question so many of us ask at some point: why does God allow suffering? If He loves us and is all-powerful and all knowing, how do we explain our pain?

The priest offers her a parable, taken from John 9:

Jesus once passed a blind beggar on the road, and his disciples asked, Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind? And Jesus said, Neither this man nor his parents sinned. He was made blind so that the works of God could be revealed in him. And with that, he placed mud on his eyes and told him to wash in the Pool of Siloam. And the man did, and he came back seeing. 

Right now you are blind. Not because you’ve sinned, but because you’ve been chosen. So that the works of God can be revealed in you.

Isn’t that a sound way of viewing things? Certainly, I’d like it to be true. If suffering can be viewed as a vessel for revealing God’s love to others, then perhaps it’s not so grim.

The movie is excellent and Natalie Portman is terrific as Jackie. It has a few brief scenes of violence that are quite disturbing, but if you are looking for a great rainy day film about an extraordinary woman, it’s a must-see.

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