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.