Holy Zeal

Yesterday was the feast of Pentecost and I didn’t have the chance to post because I’m still running around doing the house husband thing and cooking and cleaning and getting the fantastic four to clean the house so that when Mrs Longenecker returns from the damp lands tomorrow she’ll think the whole place was spic n span the entire two weeks. Appearance is everything don’t you know?

Well, it occurred to me during Pentecost that one of the most wonderful gifts of the Holy Spirit is a kind of energy that the saints exhibit. Have you ever noticed this? Consider St Maximillian Kolbe. The man lost a lung to tuberculosis when he was young, so he’s sort of firing on only four cylinders, yet he founds a new religious order, starts a newspapers that takes his country by storm, plan to start a radio and TV station–and this is in the 1930s, then scoots out to Japan to learn Japanese, endure unbelievable persecution and only returns to Poland under obedience for the sake of his health. They were living on turnip broth or something equally austere. Then he heads back and takes on the Nazis, ends up in Auschwitz and offers himself instead of another prisoner, and even then, lying naked in the starvation cell he ends up singing and encouraging other prisoners and they have to resort to an injection of carbolic acid to finish him off.

Its the same with all the saints. It’s like they are living on the fire of the Holy Spirit. Yikes! This is powerful stuff and its something I want. Who was the person who said, I don’t want to rust out I want to burn out? This is powerful stuff, and it only comes when a person is totally sold out to Our Lord and is not just filled with the Holy Spirit, but the fire of the Holy Spirit enters them. St Therese, that little fireball, said that it was like the cold, hard, black iron that the blacksmith puts into the forge. Eventually the fire enters the iron and it glows red hot. The fire has not just warmed it, but entered into it and made it something different. Most importantly, now the iron is malleable and able to be made into something useful.

So the other day I’m going along and I see one of these ads advising me to plan for my retirement. Forgive me if I criticize the American Dream, but how stupid is retirement? How many people have scrimped and saved and contributed to their company pension plan only to find that some crook has invested the lot in some shady deal and there’s nothing left? Then they have to end up at the age of seventy two working at Home Depot and sending their wife out to work at Burger King. Sad.

Retire? Not me. I want to keep going like those other old priests and keep on trucking to the end. Even if I’m drooling in a nursing home I want them to give me an altar, a stole, a chalice and paten, a sacramentary and some bread and wine. Retire? Fugeddaboudit.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01718011747484428178 Whimsy

    While a part of me admires the zeal with which some retirees tend their lawns, I hope to spend my old age in service and prayer.I've only heard one other person beside you say that.But I'd certainly want to nurture a flower garden for the grandkids and neighbor kids to have fun with.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10503510474554718305 Just another mad Catholic

    AMEN Father !!! reminds me of a wonderful elderly priest I met in Fatima, he's been completely blind for 30yrs but does that stop him writing articles for Homiletic and Pastoral review?, hearing confessions and offering Mass, meeting people and touching their lives NO!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06962374096401238994 shadowlands

    One of the priests at my local parish is ninety five and still says Mass and visits the sick, he has a chauffeur (well it's a member of the parish who volunteers). He was taught by Tolkien and Lewis and is the most interesting Priest I have ever met. he became a priest at forty seven, he used to teach at my old school, before I was born though. His sermons alway mention about Jesus speaking to us one day, Judgment Day, but not in a scary fire and brimstone way, he says that Jesus will be talking about how we have loved ourselves and each other. I kind of love this priest, in the same way I love Our Lady and Jesus. He's also an exorcist. Powerful stuff! Praise the Lord.

  • http://krishan.info/id/ Clare

    Me? I like to think of the Burning Bush Not Consumed on Pentecost, as the Holy Father encouraged us to do in Fatima last week: "Neither Mary nor we have a light of our own: We receive it from Jesus. His presence within us renews the mystery and the call of the burning bush which once drew Moses on Mount Sinai and still fascinates those aware of the light within us which burns without consuming us," he said. "We are merely a bush, but one upon which the glory of God has now come down."http://www.zenit.org/rssenglish-29238A different artist, Dali, painted a Vision of Fatima in oils that resembles more a roasting bonfire of the vanities than a burning bush. And yet trusting in hope, we can perhaps understand the chasm separating the two aspects as a purifying flame, one and the same Spirit giving the Law on Sinai, while chastening our consciences with the pain of contrition during this life, or God willing, the refining fire of zeal in the next via Purgatory? God Bless Clare Krishan