Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Birds and Squirrels
Who's the patron saint for those of us faithful Catholics who work for social justice and the marginalized but are surrounded by conservative Catholics?
I didn't know there was a difference. There better not be, or there are some sorry Catholics who have forgotten the Corporal Works of Mercy.
Are these conservative Catholics impeding you in some way? Telling you to go sit down and say a rosary? What am I missing here?
To answer your question, however, I'd go with St. Francis of Assisi, the most radical of radicals. Mr. Shockingpants, as his former friends would have called him behind his back. That is, if he even wore pants. He didn't.
In fact, his whole exciting saintly life started because of clothes. For one thing, his father was an extremely wealthy cloth merchant. Francis decided he wanted to be a soldier, so he bought himself a soldier suit. He had the dough to really deck himself out. I imagine he bought himself chain mail and a hat with a plume. I bet he had his horse all decked out, too, in a horse soldier suit.
But he didn't really care too much for soldiering as it turned out. Typical of a wealthy kid who can afford to do anything he wants and then can't ever figure out what he wants. I'm sure that's what's happened to those poor children like Brittany Spears and company. Francis encountered a bum on the side of the road and, itching to ditch his soldier suit, traded his duds with the bum.
Now think about that for a minute. That's a little out there, don't you think? Say you were coming home from your job one day in your three piece pantsuit and matching pumps. Maybe you were thinking about how much you hate your job and your boss and having to wear this three piece pants suit with the matching pumps. Suddenly you spot a homeless woman. You slam on the brakes jump out of the car and ask her to trade clothes with you. Think her clothes are clean?
The two of you strip right there on the street and you put on her filthy, stinking old clothes and she walks off in your pumps. When you see her all dressed up, you have another great idea. You give her your car! Hey, you can't get back in your car in those stinking clothes anyhow. You'll ruin in the upolstery. You'll never get that smell out, even with a little cardboard pine tree hanging from the rear view mirror.
Francis was not a normal person.
Of course, his father blew up at him when he finally returned home and told him to take those stinking rags off. What his father meant was, "Get those stinking clothes off and put on your real clothes that I paid hundreds of dollars for!" But Francis just dropped his drawers and walked off naked into the sunset.
So again....you get home in the stinking rags of the homeless woman (who is now at Starbucks in your car and pantsuit having a soy latte that she bought with the change in your car seat)and your husband says, "Get those stinking clothes off!" And your response? You strip completely and walk out the door, never to be seen again in any type of normal setting.
The next thing anyone knows you are talking to birds and squirrels and getting the stigmata.
Meanwhile, I suggest you lighten up on the "conservative" Catholics. You have to share heaven with them, too.