Friday, June 13, 2008
Tim Russert Joins the Church Triumphant
I've often mentioned that we watch CNN to see who needs our prayers. We were shocked to learn that we have to pray for the repose of the soul of NBC's Tim Russert.
Since Mr. Russert worked for NBC, we switched over to listen to Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams and Andrea Mitchell wax poetic about Mr. Russert's life. They all mentioned Mr. Russert's deep Catholic faith and his Jesuit education. Everyone agreed that the Mr. Russert's well prepared interviews and his penetrating questions were due to his Jesuit teachers.
I hadn't realized that I had so much in common with Mr. Russert.
My early education came from the gentle Franciscans or I might find myself chained in protest to a nuclear reactor as we speak. I didn't encounter the Jesuits until I was old enough to handle their preparation and penetrating questions. Also, their ranting and attacks, their turning information on it's head to examine it's underbelly and replacing it on the shelf, never to appear quite the same again.
I'm sure my time with the Jesuits has much to do with my thoughts on the War in Heaven and Jesus in space. We don't care for pat "God will make it all okay" answers. We want the whole story.
My very favorite teacher amongst them was a middle aged fellow with a hippie pony tail and sandals. He taught 'Old Testament". He had a scientific explanation for the parting of the Red Sea and the manna from "heaven", but it caused him not a moment's pause as he went on to explain that the means weren't the miracles, that the miracles were in the timing.
God really IS George Burns.
The real irony here is that the Jesuits were founded by St. Ignatius Loyola because he got stuck in a house with only two books to read and a very, very long time to read them. St. Ignatius had been a soldier. He had no intention of giving up glorious battles, but when he got hit in the legs by a cannonball he had to go sit down for a very long time. Happily for us, the castle where he did his recuperating only had two books, "The Golden Legend" which is the lives of the saints, and "The Life of Christ". The rest is history.
Think of what the rest of history would have been if the two books had been "Martha Stewart's 'Good Things'" and "Battlefield Earth". I realize those two books hadn't been written yet, but you get my point.
We owe a lot to that family's choice of reading material. That and the fact that they did not adhere to Benjamin Franklin's adage, "Fish and guests stink after three days."
We're sure St. Ignatius will welcome Mr. Russert into heaven before too long. We're also sure that he'll be making a stop in Purgatory. He was Irish. The nuns always told us that St. Patrick comes to Purgatory every Saturday and lets 10 souls out. Or was it 30? At any rate, I remember always thinking it would be good, in that case, to shoot for a Friday passing.
Let's pray that Mr. Russert finds the line for the St. Patrick bus to heaven.