Disney’s Frozen has turned out to be one of my favorite movies. I saw it for the first time only a couple of weeks ago when the DVD version was released. We rented it from Netflix and still have the DVD sitting here, having viewed it at least a half-dozen times since it arrived in the mail. Like most fairy tales, it requires an act of true love to save the princess. Unlike the traditional fairy tales, the act of true love is not a kiss from Prince Charming, but a true act of sacrificial love: the laying down of one’s life for another. The Gospel message is played out through the entire movie and by most of the main characters.
Elsa believes that by hiding herself away and distancing herself from others that she is loving them. Her actions are falsely motivated by fear, however; and it will take a painful awakening before she realizes her mistake. In her attempt to avoid hurting the ones she loves the most, she actually inflicts pain upon them. Anna doesn’t understand why her sister suddenly avoids her after being so close and having been such good friends. We often think that the opposite of love is hate when in actuality the opposite of love is fear. In 1 John 4:18 we read, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.”
It takes most of us a lifetime to become perfect in love. In fact, the majority of us will probably need some extra time to weed out all of our vices and will only be made perfect by our suffering in purgatory before enjoying the Beatific Vision. Suffering and love go hand-in-hand, we only have to look to our Savior Jesus Christ as the perfect example. True love requires sacrifice and we often fear the sacrificial aspect of love. What will love ask of me? Will I be able to give that much? Our journey in life should be learning how to love like Christ, weeding out all fear and all vices that hold us back. Elsa recognized the lesson when Anna died for her and then came back to life (hmm, any Gospel similarities there?). We should recognize love in Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. We should recognize it at every Mass when we see Christ–body, blood, soul and divinity–in the Eucharist.
Anna demonstrates love throughout the movie. She doesn’t stop loving Elsa, even when she feels rejected by her. Anna doesn’t understand why Elsa keeps her distance, but she never stops seeking and loving her. She knows in her heart that she experienced love from Elsa. Despite the appearance that Elsa no longer wants to be around her, Anna trusts her heart and seeks the good of others without fearing for her own well being. Anna reminds me a lot of Ruth in the Old Testament. She has the same magnanimous love for Elsa that Ruth had for Naomi. In addition to her heroic love, Anna is humble and doesn’t even recognize her actions as noble. Her ability to love so freely leaves her vulnerable however and Prince Hans seizes the opportunity to prey upon her.
The trolls are called love experts. They take in the orphaned Kristoff and his pet reindeer, Sven. They are willing to raise him as their own, to make him a part of their family despite their different customs, appearances and traditions. Kristoff is grateful for their love and returns love in kind by acting with virtue and integrity, especially when it comes to helping Anna. But, it is loveable Olaf that grabs our hearts from the very beginning. Olaf only knows love. “Hi, I’m Olaf and I like warm hugs.” He does not have the quickest wit, nor is he physically strong or resilient; but, he is not afraid to love others. He exemplifies the true innocence and tender love that is often found in people that we label “disabled.” I dare you to spend some time with a “disabled” person and not walk away changed for the better. These are the souls that remain close to God and His angels. And we call them disabled. Ha. They are closer to achieving the goal of love perfected than we could ever hope to achieve on our earthly journeys. Yet, in our strange and twisted world, these are the very people that we abort at the rate of 90% (see termination rates of Down Syndrome diagnosis) or argue for euthanasia. Fear is indeed the opposite of love. How are we (you and I) allowing fear to keep us from perfect love?