I’ve had a very nice email from a hermit in Maine who tells me he likes reading my blog because I’m happy and not always grousing about the terrible state of the Church.
He’s right. I am happy to be a Catholic, and I think the chuch is going to be just fine. So we have abuses and corruption and incompetence and poor liturgy and awful catechesis and immorality and we’re broke because we’re paying off lawsuits, and the big fine churches in the Northeast are empty while all the Hispanics in the South don’t have churches and are being lured away by the Evangelicals etc.etc.etc.
What good does moaning and complaining do? Nothing. I think we should just get on and do what we can do. Thomas a Kempis wrote, ‘Why do you want to change the world when you cannot change yourself?’ About right. Why do you want to make the church perfect when you can’t make yourself perfect?’ If all of us simply prayed more, loved more and lived life to the full with joyful abandon, think of all the people who would be converted!
Now the really strange thing about this happy hermit noticing that I basically a happy and opimistic fellow is that I have a reputation for being just the opposite. My family tell me that with my bald head and beard and my intense mannger that I’m, well, kind of scary. Because I don’t do lots of chit chat and small talk people have always perceived me as ‘difficult’ and ‘aloof’. Furthermore, because I call a spade a spade and don’t mind having a hearty criticism from time to time I’m perceived as grumpy.
Perhaps what matters most is our underlying philosophy. I think lots of outwardly chatty and ‘happy’ people are just phonies. They paste it on like their dress for success clothes and their happy face make up. On the other hand, some of the most fun people to be around are those who are curmudgeonly. They see life clearly, see the vanity, the absurdity and then poke fun at it.
Those who have faith, however, should always bounce back. If they see the foolishness of life they should also see that each of the fools is also a divine masterpiece. That’s the joke. We’re dumb asses, but we’ve been chosen (as on Palm Sunday) to bear the King of Kings into Zion.