Sunday, September 03, 2006
I was in a good mood.
The operative word is WAS.
Today is the brand new feast day of Blessed (one miracle 'til sainthood) Mother Teresa. I was going to spend the day reflecting on the thing that caused me to notice her in the first place, besides the fact that she's a nun, or that she founded her own convent with the personal blessing of the Pope himself, or that she hung around in squalor for love of her fellow humans, oh, and that Nobel Peace Prize.
But instead, I find myself stewing about this nasty article by that nasty man, Christopher Hitchens. It's an old article and I've read it before. For one thing, the whole situation is causing me to sin, since I am dwelling on Hitchens himself and how his giant puffy head reminds me of every alcoholic I've ever known. How many is that? Catholics get to drink. You do the math.
And he works for Vanity Fair. Vanity....that's a sin right there.
Off to confession for me!
Here's the nasty article. Hold your nose. Prepare to cringe and twitch.
Mr. Nasty Man Pontificates
Here's my response in defense of the Blessed Mother Terese . I'll try to keep it short:
No one's perfect.
In order to be a saint you have to have what we call heroic virtue. Virtue above and beyond the call of duty.
We know Mother Terese is going to be a saint because she had two things Catholics value very highly: 1. she had heroic virtue. 2. She was great at fundraising.
Someone needs to patiently explain to Mr. Hitchsons that if Mother Teresa would have given speeches about the need for birth control in over populated impoverished third world countries, she wouldn't be considered for sainthood in the first place, even if she was able to single handedly close down the communist country of Cuba by clicking the heels of her nun shoes together. You can't be a saint if you say things that are against the dogma of the church. You can't even be the Virgin Mary.
One of the ways the church determines if a Mary sighting is authentic is, "did she say anything that is contradictory to church dogma?" If she stood on top of a grotto and announced, "I am NOT the Immaculate Conception, where did anyone ever cook up that idea?", we're not even going to come and talk to you. And we came to the General Mills parking lot when Mary was on a tree there ....just to have a look.
I feel better, except for the mean things I've said about Christopher Hitchsons, for which I shall be punished severely...for this is another thing Mr. H should know: the people who get punished the worst in Purgatory are the clergy, because they were in a position of authority, they advised people on the state of their souls. There's no room for error...although...no one's perfect. (Next up the rung: parents, for the same reasons.) So Mother Teresa got whatever was coming to her and then some, for the vengence minded.
I meant to tell you the thing that drew me to Mother Teresa. It's that she had a version of this poem on her bedroom wall. Really, just this is why I love her. If she even tried to live this way, she's dead+in heaven=saint.
The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001