Thursday, December 18, 2008

Quote for the Day

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.


Adoro said...

Well said! (And I loved that boook, too, although clearly read it from a different perspective.)

What you say reminds me of what I heard a few months ago at an event for youth ministers. It was the same thing: we spend all this time doing paperwork and menial things, and yet the events themselves are very small in comparison. But the priest pointed out to us that here Mary was told she would give birth to the messiah, and what did she do? She changed diapers. She washed diapers. She fed Him. God.

All menial everyday things.

Lillian Marie said...

The fact that men WANT to be Priests is heroic in and of itself! We can save lives - YOU save SOULS! I don't know how much more heroic you can get!

And it is often in those 'humdrum' moments of everyday life the is speaking to us - although, like me, I get caught up in the repetition that I forget about the fact that I'm still here - living the life God gave me. I find it becomes so mundane that God has to slap me upside the head with one of His 'Spiritual V-8 moments' so I can hear Him again. (or at least pay enough attention to be able to hear Him again)*sigh*


Anonymous said...

And monks and priests are credited with saving all of Western civilization after the fall of Rome by retreating to their monasteries and copying great works, including and most especially the Bible, BY HAND. How mundane is that?

Funny you mention cassette tapes. I pulled out some of my old Christmas tapes that I've had for about twenty years. Paul, my three-yr-old, really liked one rendition of "Sleigh Ride" and wanted to hear it again. As I was rewinding to get to the right spot he asked impatiently, "Is it loading?"!


Laura The Crazy Mama said...

I liked that book too. I do think that priests have the chance to be heroic. Especially parish priests. I don't always agree with mine but I gain a new appreciation for him every time he has to face one of the lame committees that are constantly being formed in our large parish. I wouldn't want to be him in a billion years (until those days when my kids are pulling me 6 different ways and it's too cold to send them outside...THEN, I dream of what it might be like to have some peace and quiet, alone in my cell somewhere!) and I DO consider him a hero, even in the simple things. I think he handles the parish with much grace despite the fact that I believe the stress is aging him much faster than if he'd chosen some other life.

It was a beautiful, terribly realistic video and I think it should be passed around again. Why not strive for the ideal in these times?

Kurt H said...

Unbelievable that some priests don't like the video because it sets too high a standard (OK, sadly, it is believable)! That's kind of like saying that St. Joseph sets too high a standard for fathers; therefore, we shouldn't mention him as an ideal.

I saw the video on EWTN and thought it was great.