If you really think about it, we Catholics live on the edge. We're a radical bunch — composed of individuals who believe the impossible, hope the impossible, and do the impossible. In fact, even if many people don't recognize it, we're the superheroes of the new millennium. Batman, the X-Men, and yes, even Spiderman have nothing on us.
Not that I want to put myself forward as an example — but in fact, I'm a man of steel. I can accomplish superhuman feats. I’m a heterosexual, monogamous, faithful man who has been married for over five years. And get this: I still want to be married! I'd rather spend time with my wife and children than time in bars with drunkards and strippers! This is the stuff that legends are made of!
OK, back to reality. There are plenty of reasons why no sane person would consider me a superhero, especially those who know me best. But in our modern culture, I've accomplished a goal that is seldom realized. When I celebrate my ten-year anniversary, I’ll indeed be beating the odds. And if, like my father, I can go through middle age without getting divorced, I'll truly be staring culture right in the face and spitting in its eye.
But we Catholics are radical men and women of derring-do. Pretty much everything about our lives flies in the face of conventional wisdom. As if our attitudes towards marriage and family do not make us odd enough, to the rest of the world we're essentially cannibals with weird, magical superstitions. We’re radical!
We try to do (and often succeed in doing) things that others claim are impossible. Like raising six or more children without subjecting any one of them to horrible neglect and the various other ills that must necessarily afflict anyone whose parents were simply not content to maintain replacement levels. If you can do this, then you have accomplished the impossible. You are a superhero.
With the recent removal of TV watching in my home, I've revealed a new super power. By simply relating to another person, "We no longer watch TV," I have the power to raise human eyebrows in a manner never seen before by mankind.
One of the great mysteries and blessings of my life is that God allows me to operate in a superhuman manner. Merely by doing ordinary things, by doing what I'm supposed to do, I get to be something special. I’m a superhero for Christ.
Now, I don't always feel this way. Often I'm tired by the daily grind. My spiritual life can seem stagnant. I get caught up in my failures, and then get frustrated with the self-incrimination and self-diagnosis. I get tired of trying to fix myself. What's wrong with me? Why can't I be holy now? (Life stinks!)
But sometimes I permit myself to romanticize the life of a Catholic, and for a few moments I feel exuberantly triumphant. I encourage all of you to try it. Suddenly, you are no longer the lowest Private in the foxhole of life. You're a daring agent in a hostile environment. You’re a secret commando in the business of saving souls, not to mention lives — connected to a secret network of others who are all operating in different parts of the world on the same mission.
In a world where faith can move mountains and the miraculous is always apparent to those who care to look for it, we're the heroes. Heroes only through God's grace, but heroes nonetheless.
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