Excerpt from Jim Caviezel’s Testimony to Mary
“Then, inexplicably, I get a call from Mel Gibson. Now my agent didn’t call, my manager didn’t call, I didn’t know Mel, and I wasn’t politicking for the role, because no one knew it was happening. Gibson wants me to play Jesus Christ. He wants the guy with the initials of JC, who happens to be 33 years of age, to play Jesus Christ. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Shortly before this, I was introduced to the apparitions and message of Medjugorie by my wife. This would play a major role in deepening my love and service to the Mother of All Peoples. It was at Medjugorje that I consecrated my life and my acting career to the Blessed Mother, using the traditional consecration form of St. Louis Marie de Montfort. From that moment on, all that I did in my life and in my career was in her service, to do with me as She pleased. I also believe Medjugorje prepared my heart to give my “fiat” to play Jesus in The Passion of the Christ.
Filming The Passion of the Christ brought me even closer to Our Lady. The more you experience the Passion of Jesus, the more you understand the compassion of Mary—the connection between Mary and her Son. What Mother does not suffer when her child suffers?
Playing Jesus in The Passion also reminds me of the call of St. John Paul II that we all must become “co-redeemers” with Jesus and Mary.
On the very first day of shooting, the crowd rushed in around me, the guards hit me with whips—which hit my flesh. My arm was wedged under the heavy beam, when someone yanked the top of the cross in the other direction. My muscles wrenched and the shoulder separated. I fell to my knees, dropped the cross and buried my head in the sand (this “take” remains in the movie). Every day I picked up that thing, it was like a penance: it ripped into my shoulder, turning my flesh an angry red, with each passing hour, it got heavier.
Then I had to hang on that cross. It was November in Matera, Italy—bone chilling cold—and I’m up there on a cliff in only latex and a loin cloth. On a cross, it’s not the blood loss that kills you, it the oxygen loss. You asphyxiate. So, I’m gasping for air, and my legs were going numb. And then guess what: hypothermia! To bring my core temperature up, they brought these gas heaters in. When they brought them closer, my toes started frying and the latex began melting. And that was before I was struck by lightning… and soon to follow …. open heart surgery . But I offered up all of the suffering, in union with Jesus and Mary, for the success of the film, that it might lead souls to Christ. And it did.
The Passion reveals the obvious biblical truth that Mary, like no other, shared in that suffering of Jesus Christ, as “Co-redemptrix.” As St. Teresa of Calcutta exclaimed, “Of course, Mary is the Co-redemptrix. She gave Jesus his body, and the offering of his body is what saved us.”
The scenes of The Passion profoundly depict Our Lady’s role as Co-redemptrix with Jesus. In fact, a well -known Italian journalist stated that The Passion of the Christ could also have been justifiably called, “The Story of Mary Co-redemptrix.”