Part of what’s great about being Catholic is that it makes things deeper. For instance, I was giving blood at my high-school the other day, and, happily watching it drip from my veins into a bag, I remembered that I had gone to mass that morning. Then that blew my mind, because I drank the blood of God at mass, which was assumedly running through the same veins that now had needles sticking out of them, giving blood. The sacrifice he made for me was, in a very real way, giving me the grace and charity to take part in that same sacrifice, to love others because I had been loved by that man on the cross. All charity and all sacrifice should imitate that of our savior’s; selfless and in love.

But what was funny was my Nietzschean, Nordic/satanic-metal loving friend, in his black jacket, getting hooked up to give blood. We’ve been having an ongoing discussion about morality – namely whether it exists – so I decided it would be great to ask him why he was practicing such a charitable act. Did his Dark Lord Thor command it? For surely Nietzsche would have something negative and German to say about the whole “helping the weak” business. I was fully prepared to snarkily reveal to him the error in any answers that sounded even remotely like “it’s the right thing to do.” But his answer was absolutely fantastic and fit perfectly with his previously expressed world view, for which I give him credit. He said, “because I like to look at my own blood.”

I was proud of him in that moment, simply because he wasn’t being lukewarm. Then I finished giving blood, stood up and fainted, then tried again, moving over to where my infernal friend was still being bled. He couldn’t move much, so I took the opportunity to share with him my thoughts on how Christ-like he was being, and how proud Our Lady was of him, and how great it was that he was imitating the sacrifice of Our Lord by giving his blood for humanity. He seemed at least mildly amused, indicating that he had not fully sold his soul to the powers of hell, telling he would kill me when he got unhooked.

An idle threat – apparently – because when he did get up he merely asked me, “Now what was that you were saying?” and I reminded him that all I had said was that “Thor loves you, and died for your sins” so we were O.K after that. But then he ruined the whole moment by becoming human. On leaving he turned around and muttered, somewhat confusedly beneath his mass of hair, “well, it’s a good cause, isn’t it?” I kindly reminded him that outside of a moral frame there are no good causes, to which he shrugged. Somehow, no matter how dark our world gets, we can’t escape being human. We can’t escape the desire to love, which for some irrational reason is so much more powerful, so much aggressive and so much more wild than the desire to hate. Even when we deny the existence of right and wrong, extol our race over others and conclude that life is pointless, we still give blood. Like most things, that is cause for hope.

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