Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mixed Messages

I startled an elderly Jesuit in the kitchen at the old novitiate in Wernersville last night. I had come late (having heard Barnacle Boy's magnificent concert earlier), and having missed dinner at home. So I traipsed down to the kitchen in search of a plate and a piece of fruit to go with the sandwich I'd providentially packed. In the back was Fr. D struggling with a package of cereal, and muttering under his breath about a missing pair of scissors. When he picked up a knife, I offered to help and he nearly jumped out of skin. "No, no, I can get it," he assured me, twisting the package. He did get it, and the Cheerios went flying.

As we were picking them up from the floor (there must be a broom there somewhere!), he told me that he was taught in the novitiate years ago to assure oneself, in charity, that whoever had removed what you were looking for must have had a greater need. "I wasn't feeling so charitable just now," he reflected, "more saracastic!" I told him that my oldest has a t-shirt that reads: Sarcasm, just another service we offer.

In return, he recounted this tale of preaching in Africa.
There I was, in the middle of the homily, looking out at the congregation. Towards the front was a young man, with an incredibly innocent face, totally focused on my sermon, but I could hardly bear to look at him. He wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with: Cut the crap out.
There's a message there for those of us who teach!

1 comment:

  1. great story. it was a blessing the Jesuit made a mess with the cereal.