Everyone's a hero in their own way, in their own not that heroic way.
- Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Jed Whedon.
In a conversation the other day on things in the Vocation Office and regarding the Fishers of Men video, it was mentioned that there are priests who absolutely cannot stand the video. 'It is too heroic,' they say; it doesn't match up to reality. (aside: the scene that usually elicits this response is the one where the teen is severely injured in the car wreck and the priest runs up to anoint and absolve him; which is based in a real life situation!)
I think, because so much of what we do as priests can be seen as 'humdrum,' that we sometimes forget that we are called to be living witnesses to the Gospel.
It happens in my own situation at times. I sit here at my desk, in my office, writing a blog post, going through paperwork, waiting for a phone call, answering emails, not to mention all the things that I should be doing and am not; how is this being 'a living witness of the Gospel'?
For those priests who are pastors of parishes (I hope to get there one day!), it is so easy to get caught up in the business aspects, the endless meetings, the balance sheet from the bank; that the idea of being 'a living icon of Christ the High Priest' is great in theory, not so good in practice.
Sure, when we are preaching on Sunday, celebrating the Sacraments, or preparing someone for the Sacraments; yeah, we can see it then. But, really, how much of our time is in that arena? As one pastor I know said: 'I'd like would like to think that way, but I have to pay off the debt!'
The difficulty is trying to identify that even and especially in those things that are not that heroic; that doing them well, doing them with honor, doing them with prayer is exactly heroic! Reading Fr. Walter Cszick's He Leadeth Me, he was struck with the same thought: when serving time in a Soviet Gulag prison camp, why work your hardest, why strive to do your best when it only serves an oppressive regime? Because it is my way of being heroic and giving praise and glory to God. For him, he was living out the Jesuit motto: All for the Greater Glory of God!
From listening to the tapes (well, CD's actually, who listens to tapes anymore, anyway?) of the Deep in History Conference on the English Reformation; what kept the faith alive during a very dark period in history? The willingness on the part of priests and laity alike to be martyrs; to be heroes; even though they would likely only say: I did what I was obliged to do.
Let us all strive to be heroes, in our own unheroic ways.