Monday, August 15, 2011

Wolves and Lions and Sheep, Oh My and "et tu?"

Any of my met friends reading this, and many of you whom I’ve not had the pleasure of yet meeting, I hope would regard me as a “what you see is what you get” sort of guy. For some, I imagine, it’s a difficult visage through the bulk and bilge of my psyche and whatnot. For others, ye saints all, you see just another soul trying to make sense out of daily life, the universe and ever’thing while remaining steadfastly in love with our Lord God, and you forgive the rough edges. A dear priest-friend used to always quip: “Love me, love my dog.”

This post isn’t about me, though I have to start it by saying this morning I was at wits end, literally. Barreling, careening around the administration building getting this ordo done, that phone call made, reminding this priest of that, this staffer of that, all the while gasping for breath, flopped in sweat and singing “Bye, bye, Miss American Pie…..this’ll be the day….” But the pastor’s door was opened, I had business: make sure the General Intercessions for our 150th anniversary Mass were approved and/or revised and forwarded to the typesetter…..get the ordo done for the dedication of our fourth parish on Friday….decide whether we jump the gun on new Mass settings….

And I have to suddenly stop. “It’s all too much,” I say, “I just have to stop for a second.” My pastor’s seen it all, and more than “ALL” has recently taken up personal quarters in his large heart. But he calmly looked me in the eye and reminded me WHO this is all for. I’ve always been a crier, so he hands me tissue and I’m silent. And slowly, gently he talks with me and guides me to a sure, steady path of calm.

So, business concluded, for now, pick m’self up, dust m’self and boots off and back on my way to find a Spanish psalm setting.

And BAM, I get a phone call on the cell from “the man without a foot.”

A good friend, a new friend, a colleague, a peer….. “I called to let you know the pastor fired me. He just called me into his office with no notice and fired me. It was all so, like, political. It didn’t have anything to do with my performance.” BAM!

Our other good friend, Noel the Frogman, knows this tune. “When sheep attack.” Our friend, whom many of you met at colloquium this last June, a real gentleman and follower of the lamb, was eaten by his own in one of the most hallowed parishes of our region.

And here was I, bleating about it all being too much, as if I’d never been through the perils of parish predators, chapters one through seven before. “….(T)he pastor fired me.” Mine consoled me just moments earlier. Then we compared notes about the Zeitgeist. It’s not news that Fr. Zed’s been heralding the imminent presence of the roaring lion, the wolf in our midst, the snake not underfoot of late. But we Catholics, just as we’ve been parodied by the great likes of Monty Python sketches over the decades, are not Dispensationalists, we are above Mr. Lindsey and the “Rev.” Hagee and await, like virginal maids, the real Parousia. Nope, me and my pastor agree. The Enemy is taking huge strides right up the naves of our churches, into the hearts of the unwary and unsuspecting, and doing what it does best: divide and conquer.

Chant an “ave” for our now jobless friend and colleague on this most appropriate feast day. Sing his Mass setting if you have the opportunity. (We’ll open with it in our September re-boot.) And pray for our priests as they pray for us daily. And I say this to myself, more than to anyone else, fürchte dich nicht.