I was walking back from an off-site appointment. As I had crossed the sidewalk, and I hear someone scream my name.
It. Totally. Made. Me. Freak.
Instantly, I knew that I was in trouble. But more importantly, I was wondering which government agency had me in their sights. There was a small part of me (okay, a large part of me) that said, “I wonder if S.H.I.E.L.D. finally found me. I wonder if they had finally figured out that priests have powers that more comprehensively legit than Iron Man and Thor combined, and they want a D.N.A. sample. Oh my goodness! I have to tell Michael and Emmanuel! I have to tell Steve that I’m going to be late to Evening Prayer! This is going to be so cool!”
I mean, c’mon! Everyone wants to meet Captain America.
I felt the color in my face drain. I was seriously worried—I was wondering who was going to call out my name in the middle of the day, in the middle of Bush Street. I wasn’t even on-call—you know what those days are like—this was supposed to be as low-key as my life gets.
I turn around, and in a really nice car sat a man whom I vaguely recognized. Then he yelled, “Father! That homily the other day!”
Oh, it’s that guy, I said to myself. I flashed back to Sunday, remembering where he sits and which Mass he attends.
“How’s it going?” I asked. I look at the red stop light.
“You killed it on Sunday!” he yelled over the traffic. “My Mass was totally convicted. You could hear a pin drop. Quiet, man. You totally killed it. I need a copy of that homily.”
Hardly anyone asks for a copy of the homily—afterall, we have the podcast. “Uh, okay,” I respond (yeah, I know, I was totally Father Elegant). “Sure. Just email me. I don’t have your address.”
“Seriously? That easy?” he said, inching his car ahead. “Okay—I’ll email you, like, tonight.”
He races off, waving goodbye, with me finding a chuckle as I walk back to the Priory.
St Thomas Aquinas teaches that the humility is a virtue that allows us to who we really are. Yes, we are limited and imperfect and we oftentimes fail. But we have been given numerous gifts as well. We may not be able to keep the living room clean, but we make the best pancakes this side of Antioch. We may not be the best test taker, but no one else can play a meaner guitar. We are limited, but God has also given us numerous graces and gifts.
We are the Order of Preachers. We are privileged to be Dominic’s sons. We have been given to the Church to be a company of Christians who can bring down the Thunder of God on a daily basis. But at the same time, we are inefficient, silly, slow to change, and vulnerable to awful land deals.
I hesitate to acknowledge that the Lord has granted me this beautiful grace of preaching the Gospel well. I also acknowledge that He had given me this beautiful gift of writing, which I had recently re-discovered. But I am also aware of my countless faults and things in which I need to work on.
It was humorous and beautiful to be interrupted while crossing the street the other day. But it was also a time where I was reminded of the virtue of humility. A time where, yes, I thank this parishioner for this compliment. A time that, yes, I am reminded of the One of gave the gift.
Holy Father Dominic, pray for us!