As anyone in my parish might attest, there a number of “sayings” I tend to repeat a lot. To anyone’s question of “How are you, today?” the response is always “I’m still alive up to this point in the conversation, but beyond that I know nothing.” Those used to my silliness just laugh. Those who don’t know me are bewildered, which leaves me an opening to talk about abandonment to Divine Providence with explanations such as “If we say we know what we’re up to on any given day, the Lord may well laugh, as he may have something else planned for us that day.” They agree, of course, but now have something to chew on the rest of the day.
Another saying I have is: “I just don’t care. I absolutely don’t care.” Now, that might sound altogether dismissive, and it is, but when I say that I’m talking about my life as in dead or alive. Thus, if someone is talking about the local drug problem – a pretty decent chunk of the local economy – and we speak about strategies for closing down the local meth labs and crack houses, I’ll mention how I closed down two booming businesses just by making it obvious that I was taking pictures of license plates and cars parked at whatever menace’s establishment. When it is said just how dangerous that is, I’ll then say: “I just don’t care. I absolutely don’t care.” And then I’ll explain that I’m sick of seeing tiny tot kids filling those houses, having their little lungs rotted out while their moms do some deals for their boyfriends. Some might say, but you’re just pushing them into some other place; better to leave them there. But both of those places adjoined the parish’s property. Our parking lots were also being used for parking and drop points. Ain’t gonna happen at this church. Not on my watch. It did get scary a few times, with vengeance from druggies in the air, but, as I say, “I just don’t care. I absolutely don’t care.” I gotta do the right thing. And it’s not that I was being a vigilante. I was working with Law Enforcement.
So, in other words, take life seriously. Take religion seriously. Take morality and truth seriously. Take respect and service of others seriously. Take serious care of your body and soul as a temple of the Holy Spirit. But don’t take any consequences to your life seriously. Don’t take your aspirations and plans so seriously that you cannot take seriously what you must. Don’t be unavailable for service because, you know, reasonably you’ve done enough already, like what silly Meg said to her father before he got his head chopped off by Henry VIII.
No one makes it out of this life alive, so just be sure that when you go, which could be any second of any day, that you are ready to meet your Maker. Go to Confession. Go to Mass. Keep the commandments. Love one another. Then go ahead and put your life on the line. When you take life seriously, just not your own life, that’s when life becomes totally fun. Did I say fun?
O.K., I should backtrack on that. There are some somber moments. Today I mentioned that the stats for ambushes and assassinations of our Law Enforcement Officers had again skyrocketed this year, saying that we must pray for our LEOs. After Mass, a visitor at the mission church came up to thank me for saying that. He was retired out of the police up in Connecticut, and had seen many of his fellow officers killed right in front of him. He then quickly made his way to his car, his eyes filled with tears. So, O.K. not always fun. Perhaps I can put it this way: the joy of the uprightness of integrity. I think that’s it. It’s freeing. The enthusiasm is there.
Having said all that, I’ll admit that this is all nothing compared to what I should do as a priest. While I can’t let stuff happen on church property, I should have a bigger plan to evangelize the druggies of the town. For the kids, they need something to do, employment, whatever. Also, they need religion. Pretty much no one is Catholic. Among the druggie young people, pretty much no one goes to any church, baptist or whatever. Outreach right to the druggie houses can be done I should think.