Joe Six-Pack, here. I just wanted to let you know that as a Catholic, I’m fully aware that my vocation is to be numbered among the saints. As it turns out, that’s your destiny too. I’m not going to romanticize it, though.
Don’t believe me? Love it? Leave it? Cry about it?
Please. Just come to terms with it, umkay?
So I’m back home from a long day at work, see? A long day of working with folks who I’ve know for years. Sometimes, everything’s peachy keen. And other times, well, let’s just not discuss the other times.
Thankfully, there’s beer.
Same thing with the lives of saints, though they didn’t always enjoy a pint to maintain their sanity.
You don’t believe me? You buy into the glowing dreaminess of hagiographic biographies? You assume that because someone is holy, embarked on doing the corporal works of mercy, etc., that being around that person all day, every day, would be like a taste of Heaven?
Pass me the salt, please.
Better than that, pass me this article written by Jim Forest entitled, Dorothy Day – Saint and Troublemaker. First published close to 20 years ago in Canticle Magazine, it’s now available in the Catholic Education Resource Center’s (CERC) list of fantastic articles.
Here’s a snippet to whet your appetite.
Dorothy was never too polite to speak about God. Nothing we achieved was ever our doing, it was only God’s mercy passing through us. Our own love wasn’t our love. If we experienced love for another person, whether wife or child or friend or enemy, it was God’s love. “If I have accomplished anything in my life,” she said late in her life, “it is because I wasn’t embarrassed to talk about God.”
People sometimes tell me how lucky I am to have been part of the same community that Dorothy Day belonged to. They picture a group of more or less saintly people having a wonderful time doing good works. In reality, Catholic Worker community life in Manhattan in the early sixties, had much in common with purgatory. The staff was made up of people with very different backgrounds, interests, temperaments, and convictions. We ranged from the gregarious to the permanently furious.
Not everyone was all thorns, but agreement within the staff was as rare as visits by the President of the United States.
That often? Heh! And you thought only Sts. Paul and Barnabus had it rough?
If I had to pinpoint what we are sorely lacking these days, you know, as we trudge along this seriously hard road leading to sainthood, it would be that we’ve forgotten how to live in community with one another.
In other words, the cult of the individual has gotten a little too strong these days.
The second thing I’d note is that we also make too big a deal out of trying to be a saint in the first place.
I have to keep reminding myself of this whenever I mess up in my rarely successful attempts at following the Golden Rule. I fall down a lot. But I get up again.
Servant of God Dorothy Day, pray for me!
This title reminds me of a tune. Earworm!