The Shack – Christine Canino

The movie ‘The Shack’ is based on a book by the same name written in 2007. It is important to remember that it is not a true story. The author and screen writers take certain artistic liberties that may not be entirely theologically sound. Setting that caveat aside, ‘The Shack’ deals with topics that we all have in common, loss and grief. The movie also, encourages us to explore our relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.


The movie is about a man named Mac who receives a note from God to meet Him at ‘The Shack’. Once Mac receives the note, we are taken back in time to a camping trip with his three kids. We can see that Mac has overcome his childhood with an alcoholic father and is a good husband and father with happy children. Over a course of unfortunate events, his youngest daughter, Missy, is abducted and killed. The police find Missy’s dress in a remote mountain shack. Mac decides to answer the note and go back to the remote mountain shack. Once Mac arrives at the shack he meets Jesus, who takes Mac to meet Papa (Mac’s wife’s nickname for God the Father), and the Holy Spirit. God the Father is portrayed as a women because of Mac’s broken relationship with his own father. There are some though provoking conversations between each ‘person’ of God. Each person of God is portrayed with a lot of symbolism. God builds a relationship slowly with Mac and leads him to deal with his anger toward God for what happened to his daughter. The movie, through Mac, explores good, evil, and judgement.

During a poignant scene, Mac has to decide which one of his two remaining children will go to heaven and which one will go to hell. Mac refuses to send either of them to hell and when pressed offers himself in place of his children. The point that God the Father doesn’t want to send any of His children to hell either and sent Jesus instead, is abundantly clear.

After Mac is allowed to see Missy playing happily with other children and Jesus, Mac meets and speaks with his own father. Understanding, forgiveness and healing pass between them. The finial healing for Mac and most difficult thing he must do is forgive his daughter’s abductor. God the Father, who in this scene is a man, tells Mac that his forgiveness does not excuse what the killer did but places all his trust in God. Mac is finally able to let go of Missy and return to his family to help them heal.

There is some interesting food for meditation in this movie. I encourage you to take these questions to prayer.

Meditation questions

  1. What is my relationship with the each person of the Trinity? How is the relationships the same and how are they unique? How can I grow in relationship with each person of the Trinity?
  2. Am I holding on to any grief or loss in my life? Has this grief or loss caused me to get stuck spiritually?
  3. Is there any unforgiveness in my heart?
  4. Am I unjustly judging people?

Additionally, check out the ‘Catechism of the Catholic church’ CCC257-260. Those four paragraphs end with a beautiful prayer by Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity. To view an online version of the ‘Catechism of the Catholic Church’ click this link:

This thought provoking and chellenging movie is recommend for adults only.

What is your relationship with each person of the Trinity?

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