Wednesday, May 30, 2007


This makes me so sad.

A friend of mine has had his life course set over the weekend. Actually I could write this about any number of people I know. They are talented, spookily intelligent, well spoken, healthy, good looking, have engaging personalities, have many opportunities available to them, but they did not engage life and take advantage of their outrageous assets. Afraid to commit to anything, they pee (I so wanted to use a harsher word) away their treasure like a gambler who thinks there will always be more money to replace that which he has lost.

Perhaps you try to say something. If you say too much you are a nag. If you say anything less you are not heard. This must be part of the frustration of being a parent; seeing one that you love making horrible decisions and not being able to do a darn thing about it.

This friend fell prey to the unfaithful promises of the condom. Continually leaving all of his life’s options open, life chose for him. And it is a sad and difficult situation. But it is his now for better or for worse. Thank God that when push comes to shove he is a stand up guy.

Another friend was engaging in a different sort of risky behavior and almost lost health, job, wife, and kids. He was lucky and escaped his train wreck with only relatively minor scrapes and bruises. This time.

I don’t believe there is a Catholic vocation crisis. There is a crisis of nerve. A crisis in commitment. If it were only about Catholic vocations, other denominations would not be feeling the pinch either. Marriages would not fail at a 50% rate. Young people would not be choosing to just skip exchanging vows altogether.

We were not put here to watch T.V. reruns and wait till life comes and slaps us in the face. We were given gifts and talents to take life by the reigns and do something with it. You might get bucked, but if you get bucked at least it will be while trying to do something great, not sitting on the couch eating chips or engaging is some activity that causes people to wonder about your lack of common sense.

To have an idea about that which you believe, to have something to strive for, to have direction, to give your capacities use, to give your potential meaning, this is why you are here. You have a soul, a mind, and a body. You have been freed from sin and death, endowed with gifts of the Holy Spirit. Don’t let them rot away.

And if you have already found yourself in the middle of train-wreck, make it the most spectacular train-wreck ever. Do not be content to lay on the tracks thinking, “Oh well,” but climb to the top of the destruction and drag along as many survivors as you can. Make people look at you in awe and dare them not to know that you accomplished this with the gifts that God gave you.

Who dares nothing need hope for nothing.” Schiller Don Carlos

He who dares magnificently can expect magnificent rewards.”


Anonymous said...

Many people in my life have minor disasters happen to them lately. I try to get a gut check and help them even though it is difficult and uncomfortable and I'm afraid to talk about the hard moral issues. When I look with the eyes of faith, I can clearly see the good that these shake-ups cause in their complacent lives.

I remember reading when I was younger that where evil increases, grace increases and I thought to myself that I didn't believe that. Now that I'm older I've realized that sometimes things have to get really bad for the good to happen. It's a disaster that the Episcopal church is accepting homosexuality, but it is attracting people to the rock that is the Catholic Church. Television and the internet have a horrible influence on society, but like the weeds growing with the wheat, the faith can be spread all over the world, and people like me could easily find the true teachings of the Church. It's a disaster that my friend lost his job, but it made him face and give up many sins that he wouldn't have otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Hi Fr. V,

Nice post. It strikes a chord with me for some of my own friends and family.

I would like to request a post from you. What is the day in the life of a priest like? How do we tell the difference between lazy priests that we ought to complain about and ones that are super busy whose ministry/apostolate we don't understand?

I was contemplating posting on this but I don't feel qualified. I think a priest would be far more qualified.

Anonymous said...

Just print that out and send it to them, WC.. but be forewarned: I accosted a priest, once, to tell him how he was abandoning us.. and I, too, very nearly died from it. I spent a week in my own hell after that moment when Heaven collectively turned its face from me in a gasp of pain unconscionable: A recap of everyone I'd ever underloved. Dying would've been easier, and I do not recommend calling a priest to account for any reason. Fortunately, I was forgiven, but it took two tries, and I have not yet gotten up from my mea culpa knees, knowing much, now, of what Judas felt in his betrayal of a priest.

Anonymous said...

Excellent pointings to grace, Sparky. And Fr. V., I'll pray for your friend. Please pray for mine. And yes, your pain of frustration is like, is exactly like that of a parent. This is one reason why we call you "Father."


Anonymous said...

Thanks Gypsy, that's what I get the sense of most of the time. Though I imagine that priests are, like all of us, not all perfect and some of them might even need a little nudge, at some point. I think the tricky thing would be knowing when to say (or think) anything at all about it. Of course I have a very specific situation in mind.

Fr. V said...


Interesting. As a matter of fact, I wrote an article for a publication that, although it was thoroughly brilliant (snicker), was rejected on just that topic. I was toying with the idea of either just posting it or sending elsewhere, but perhaps it is sitting on my computer for just this request.



Thanks for the idea.

paramedicgirl said...

Excellent post Father. Too often we don't appreciate or recognize the gifts that God has bestowed on us, let alone thank Him for them.

Fr. V said...

WC -

You are not going to believe this, but I JUST got a wire asking me to resubmit my article (after 4 months! LOL! Talk about timing. (Of course it still may not be printed.) But I will still take your question into consideration and offer some suggestions.

Adoro said...

Wonderful post, Fr. V. I actually read it this morning but had no time to comment until now, but it's been with me all day.

I'm IN the train wreck now, and I'm still stuck under it. I'm one of those who threw everything away, looking at a shiny object I thought I wanted, only to find out I'd nearly given away my soul for it. (Thank God HE owns my soul or I might've lost that, too). Come to think of it, I AM the train wreck!

So sad...the story you share is happening every day, to people we all know - guaranteed we could all tell stories of those we love who are self-destructing before our eyes, and we are helpless to do anything about it.

And Sparky ~ I LOVE what you had to say here. And it's so true...God brings good out of evil. Recently, our Pastor gave a homily which began with a story, a folk tale, I think, about a farmer and his son and a series of events which on the surface could seem either good or bad. And in the story, the father had learned already not to judge the situation as either because, as he said, "We cannot know." I think in the end, the seeming disaster brought about an incredible gift to the a result of the series of events, the son broke his leg...and thus was not drafted for the war. It was a good story and it fits in well with what you've recounted.

As far as job loss...when I lost my dream job, I was completely crushed (part of my conversion/reversion story on my blog), but had it not happened, I'll tell you right now I would not be the person I am today, for what it's worth (which isn't much, but I'm in a better position now, spiritually)! That was a gift from God and even as painful as the memory is, I am thankful that things happened that way.

Fr. V. and Sparky:
Hopefully your friend is now or will look back on his situation and feel the same way about it someday.

Odysseus said...

-And if you have already found yourself in the middle of train-wreck, make it the most spectacular train-wreck ever.-

Yes! Yes! That's the Spirit talking!

Thank you, Father.

Anonymous said...

Well, even Judas had a very specific situation in mind, or did we think it was merely a matter of money?

Of course priests aren't perfect. The Lord merely sets aside their imperfection while they confect Him and while they confess and absolve, acting in persona Christi. We're lucky they show up as regularly as they do, and stay active as long as they do, because whatever they do or don't do, it's not right enough, good enough, fast enough, slow enough, manly enough, sensitive enough, well enough said, well enough unsaid. Certainly no one but a fellow priest (or a Bishop) ought to "nudge" a priest.

You're right, Fr. V., there is a crisis of nerve, and even in the laity, too, tho' less and less so..but I think most (not all) of the train wrecks are because of the many residual clouds of violence in the world, i.e., those of us not abortable nor euthanizable will be nuked, drafted, or somehow blown away sooner or later anyhow..why bother with anything long-term.


Anonymous said...

I have to tell you, I am one of those people who usually let life happen to me.. and that is for complicated reasons (or so I hope--I hope I was mostly just dazed and overwhelmed, not lazy), but this loving kick in the pants has come back time and again to remind me, surprisingly, to set match to the pile of talents waiting to burn so as to give light and warmth and beauty. Thank you. I hope it does that for many others, and much younger.