So, a little while back I had a very random movie line stuck in my head. It was a certain character saying an epic line in a very serious, evil voice. The line was “You can’t kill me. I’m already dead.” I knew it was a villain saying this quote, but the problem was, I had no idea what movie it was from or who said it. After doing a quick google search (I was kind of having an OCD “this is really bothering me” moment) I found out that it was from a movie I hadn’t seen since I was a small kid….a 007 movie called The World Is Not Enough. It was said by the villain in the film, named Renard, who had been shot in the head earlier in life. In the movie, the bullet had lodged in his skull in a way that made him unable to feel pain, and on top of that, it was known that this wound would eventually kill him. To my dismay, I also found out Renard said this line in a much more casual, less “epic” way than I had remembered!
Yet, that line still made enough of an impression on me to last all these years: “You can’t kill me. I’m already dead.”
Fast forward to the present time. Thinking of things spiritually, I realized that every serious follower of Christ should strive to be like Renard!
…Ok fine. We shouldn’t be like a 007 antagonist (he kind of abducts and kills people in the film). BUT we should strive to be like him by living out this line, albeit within a different context. St. Paul explains this in detail in his letter to the Galatians:
But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. - Galatians 6:14
Weird. And just before this, he says:
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. - Galatians 2: 19-20.
…Did you catch that? St. Paul said the world has been “crucified” to him, and that he “no longer lives.” This sounds depressing, but it’s actually quite the opposite. In fact, this is one of the most positive and joyful statements a person can say. St. Paul is talking about what happens when a person truly lets go of their sins, lets the grace of Christ in their heart, and starts letting God become the core of who they are. When a person does this, they begin to truly feel the love of Christ inside their soul, and nothing can compare to that kind of peace and joy.
When you start to experience God’s love day-in and day-out, the material things and distractions that used to captivate you just don’t seem as appealing as they did before. In fact, NOTHING in this world tastes as sweet as receiving Christ in the Eucharist, having Christ in your heart, and the hope of one day having Him fully in heaven.
This is what happened after my conversion experience. I was so moved by Christ’s love for me that the sins I was addicted to in the past just couldn't compete anymore, and I didn't need them. Now, I’m FAR from perfect and still very much struggle, but this is the reality the Saints lived. Like St. Paul, they felt Christ’s joy in tremendous ways, and therefore, they could genuinely say they didn’t want anything except Him and His will.
Just think about that for a second. If you’re at the point where you love God to such an extent that you (literally) don’t want anything except Him, then can you really ever be disappointed? Can you be hurt? Can anything really ever be taken away from you if all you “own” is God in your heart? The answer is no. Even death becomes sweet, since it is your gateway to meeting God face-to-face. And the Christian message is that this “mystical death” to your own desires is the only way to find lasting, deep joy.
Now, most of us are probably nowhere near “St. Paul status” in our quest to detach ourselves from everything except Christ….but honestly, who cares where we’re at? If we want to have true happiness—and we all want this—then why not start putting Christ first today? Gradually, through the Sacraments and a steady prayer life, we can let His love eclipse all of the lower attachments that can’t satisfy the soul, and we’ll experience the deep peace only He can give. Our own desires and attachments will die, and His radiance will live in us, which can never be taken away.
Then, with both bad-guy Renard and St. Paul, we’ll be able to happily say “You can’t kill me. I’m already dead.”