We come to the conclusion of the Encanto Series and can finally answer the most pressing question of the movie, “What is Mirabel’s gift?” Being that this is a Catholic blog and is the lens through which I try to view the world, my take on Mirabel’s gift comes from a Christocentric place.
There are a few names you could give to Mirabel’s gift once the film is finished. She helps to heal the wounded relationships between the family members, making her a Healer. She also is unafraid to speak truth to Abuela about the harmful pressure she has put on the family, making her a Truth Teller or in Biblical terms, a Prophet. It is Mirabel who places the doorknob on the rebuilt Casita, bringing it back to life, making her a Life Giver.
I would like to take all of these facets of Mirabel’s gift and bring them under one theme – Unity. I’ve been learning more about unity lately and it seems Mirabel was tapped into it in a special way. It is Mirabel who has a heightened sense of the disunity happening within the Casa Madrigal. She sees it first in the cracks forming on the walls and then within the family itself – there’s the Bruno ban, Luisa’s insecurity, Isabela’s sacrifice, Pepa’s anxiety, etc.
Our first indication that Mirabel has a heightened sensitivity to familial relationships comes in her conversations with Antonio before he receives his gift. You would expect a 5 year old to turn to his mom, dad, or perhaps an older sibling with his fears about receiving his gift. But he looks to Mirabel instead and she’s the one he needs by his side when he approaches the door. The movie does a good job showing how painful this moment is for Mirabel as it brings into sharp relief everything that went wrong for her. Instead of refusing to participate, she places Antonio before herself and is there to support him in a way no one else is.
Mirabel seems to have a unique relationship with Luisa as well. Again, Mirabel is the one confided in when Luisa feels her power fading. Luisa’s admission is something she would never have said aloud to anyone else. With Mirabel, she can be her true self.
When she finds Bruno, she draws him out of hiding and back into the family. He is reluctant at first but is encouraged by Mirabel’s strength and perseverance to set things right. After learning about Bruno’s vision, she sets out to find a way to embrace Isabela. I think it’s interesting to note than while Mirabel is able to see the cracks and problems in the Casita, she isn’t able to affect any changes until she first fixes her relationship with Isabela.
What does all of this have to do with unity? As I mentioned, I’ve been spending more time pondering what unity looks like. Specifically, I’ve been beginning to dig deeper into the Focolare Spirituality, of which the reality of unity is central.
Chiara Lubich, the founder of the movement, discovered the desire for unity in Jesus’ final prayer in John 17:21 – “May they all be one.” She was inspired by the Holy Spirit to make Jesus’ prayer a living reality. She strove to make herself one with everyone she encountered. How, you may ask? Chiara understood that if God is Love, and in God we find our true selves, then we need to strive to live every action in that Love. Chiara explains:
Christ is love and a Christian must be love. Live generates communion: communion as the basis of the Christian life and as its summit. In this communion a person no longer goes to goes alone, but travels in company. This is a fact of incomparable beauty that makes our soul repeat the words of Scripture, ‘How very good and pleasant it is when kindred lives together in unity!’ (Ps 133:1)”Chiara Lubich, No Thorn Without a Rose, pg. 33.
How beautiful! I find this really describes the reality Mirabel brings to life in her family. When we strive to love someone as God loves them, we seek what is best for them. We speaks truth to them, even when it is difficult to say or hear. We desire for them to be whole, to help repair what is broken, to encourage the full flourishing of their lives. There isn’t room for pressure to perform or for unrealistic expectations. When we love as God loves, when we allow ourselves to be transformed in love by Love, communion between people springs forth.
I do hope you’ve enjoyed this series on Encanto. It has brought about fruitful conversations in my own life and I hope in yours as well. Looking forward, I truly do feel myself being drawn more closely to the Focolare movement and am feeling inspired to continue sharing more about the journey with you here. I’m planning to do another series, perhaps starting in mid-to-end of June, which will go through what the Focolare call the Aspects of the movement, or more colloquially, the Colors. It is how the movement practically comes alive in an individual’s life. I’ll be sharing how I’m seeing these colors shimmer in my own daily ordinary.
I’d love to hear what you thought of the series and if you like this more scheduled approach to things. I’m curious! Peace my friend, May your summer be full of sunshine and peace.