The Theology of Christopher Nolan

The following post is written by Julie Jessmon, a student at the Avila Institute’s School of Spiritual Formation. Julie has taken 6 courses in the School of Spiritual Formation including the upcoming course, “Batman and the Theology of Christopher Nolan.” Read on to find out what she learned in this course that impacted her life. You can apply to take the course today.

Healing Interior Wounds at the Avila Institute

“Whether the professors were aware or not, the Avila Institute was part of saving my life, along with raising my Faith to a whole new level. I have been taken on a journey. Before I could even enter my own Interior Castle to explore the inner dwellings of my wounded soul with the Holy Spirit as my protector and my guide, I had to fight my way through the warring arena of normal secular life. I was desperately holding off both my inner and outer demons, which were like maniacal lions working at all cost to blind my eyes to the gate that said, ‘Run to Me to leave this behind’. The professors here were some of the many field medics and guides that helped to lift the gate so I could slide my brutalized body under it. They assisted in dressing my wounds while giving me the ‘Interior Medicine’ that I needed to begin healing the spiritual bleeding that has been corroding my Interior Hallways.

“One of the six courses I have taken at the Avila Institute was Batman and the Theology of Christopher Nolan. This course helped unwrap my bandaged eyes so that they could see the sacred beauty all around me, even in modern art media. Incorporating Saint John Paul II’s ‘Call to Artists’, this course helped clean out my old wounds from the notion that Christ does not spiritually preside in this world. The course allowed for the arrow of His love to pierce my sufferings and release the antiseptic that revitalized my soul and transformed my interior life.

Batman and The Theology of Christopher Nolan

Offered this Summer at the Avila Institute

“Even when they explore the darkest depths of the soul … artists give voice in a way to the universal desire for redemption” – Saint John Paul II

“Saint Pope John Paul II’s words reflect the very essence of how Nolan reveals the Crucifixion of Christ through his Batman movies. By doing so, he translates the Gospel message into a language that is comprehensive to the countless wounded individuals that reside in our current society. It pushes both Christians and non-Christians alike to walk alongside characters that are fighting for the lives of others so that they too can begin their journey of redemption. This class challenges the modern Christian to see how different artistic platforms can be used to evangelize and hopefully redefine the sacred beauty that is given through God’s Love. It encourages us to step out of what we deem as ‘safe’, both artistically and evangelically, and to reach out further into the depths of society so they too can experience the Love that Christ poured out for us with His blood. We must embrace these unconventional artists as a Christian community and watch the fruits unfold as people stare at these modern symbolisms of Batman when he is pinned down by a large beam across his chest or is scourged repeatedly by his enemy as Catwoman weeps. It pushes the Crucifixion into the modern age. The question is whether we are ready to be open to it. Once I realized this, I knew there was no turning back to how I viewed the beauty that resides in our very own Liturgy. It made me see my interior life in a whole new light.”

“Batman and the Theology of Christopher Nolan” taught by John Johnson, begins Friday, July 14th at 8:30 Eastern time. If this post has peaked your curiosity, consider applying to take the course at the School of Spiritual Formation. The Avila Institute provides a variety of courses designed to help the faithful in the interior life. Other upcoming summer courses include “The History of Catholic Spirituality” and “Discernment of Spirits with Dan Burke”. It is free to apply, and each course costs $150. The Avila Institute makes an effort to provide scholarships on a need-basis. To see a full list of upcoming courses, visit our webpage.


Photographs of Julie Jessmon, John Johnson, used with permission.

Profile photo of Dylan Jedlovec

About Dylan Jedlovec

Dylan Jedlovec is an Operations Administrative Assistant at the Avila Foundation, parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and Divine Intimacy Radio. Finishing up an undergraduate degree in Marketing and Economics from Samford University, Dylan is first and foremost a disciple of Christ and a son of the Church. Dylan has a heart for evangelization on college campuses, and has worked closely with FOCUS as a student missionary and served as President of the Catholic Student Association at Samford. As a member of the University Fellows Program at Samford, Dylan developed a love for the writings of the Saints, particularly the Doctors of the Church, through his studies of the core texts of the Western Intellectual Tradition. This love for the rich intellectual tradition of the faith brought him to the Avila Foundation, where he seeks to further the kingdom through feeding Christ’s sheep. In his free time, Dylan enjoys watching baseball, reading, hiking, running, and lifting weights (although you can’t really tell).

This article is reprinted with permission from our friends at Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction.

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