Today is the Feast of St Francis, that wild, nutty Italian boy who drove his father nuts, danced around naked, talked to animals and tried desperately to rebuild The Church one brick/stone/rock at a time. We owe him much. He and Dominic gave us our Faith back at a time when those who stated they loved it were hardly living it. While both of them might be regarded today as a little 'over the top' the reality of their lives has stood the test of time.
Neither one of them let the discouragement of their day drive them from The Eucharist. I, as we know, was not that strong. I am today firmly rooted in my love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and often times I find myself moved to tears by those who have so cavalierly walked away from Him. I fear for them. I read their justification for saying, "No" and I worry about how that is going to sound when they stand before him at the end of their time.
Gee, I'm sorry...I didn't like our parish priest so I left.
Hey, look...I disagreed with Your Church regarding artificial birth control and a woman being allowed to kill her own offspring in the womb...so I left.
You know what? Those crazy people in Washington who stated they were members of Your Church? I hated them - they were so incredibly stupid with their 'slash the government/grow the government/take our guns/keep our guns' agendas. I left.
I think, honestly, about my reasons for walking away from the Church and it makes me even sadder. I can say, without hesitation, that I discovered I would be the center of attention and get to go to a lot of parties and have lots of sex and wear skimpy clothes and have tons of STUFF if I would simply put that pesky Catholicism aside. I mean, come on...who wants to be burdened with thoughts of God when you have a chance to go to Vegas with Tom Petty, or do drugs with movie stars or wake up on the beach unsure of how you got there but pretty sure that you did stuff no decent woman would ever do? Why pass up the chance to ruin your life by having to adhere to principles and go to Mass once a week?
I am blessed in that the people in my family seem to live for a long time (those Crocco women live forever, my cousin Bill once said). Because I have good genes, I have lost a lot of weight and I don't smoke or drink anymore there is a good chance (barring any unforeseen accidents or Zombie attacks) that I have another good 30 to 40 years left on this planet. I figure that is several more Scottish Terriers and a BUNCH of cats - and it is also a chance to atone for my sins.
I have a chance to do better, because today I know better.
A loving and merciful God grants to people like me and Francis and Dorothy Day and others the chance to eventually get our moral compass back and to walk towards Him. I have to trust that He is giving the same chance to those who have rejected Him or who think a watered - down, politically correct version of His Teachings is good enough.
And I do trust in His mercy.
If it is good enough for Francis and Dominic?
Well, heck....it is good enough for me.