View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

St Jerome

Sometimes we are drawn to saints in whom we see (or hope to see?) something of ourselves. They then give us hope, and provide models for our own Christian journey. If he can make it ...

St. Francis, St. Joseph and St. Thomas More are particular favorites of mine. I see bits of myself in them, and they provide wonderful role models.

I've also always had warm feelings for St. Jerome. Not for his intellectual, linguistic or scholastic prowess (much as I wish I had similar gifts), but rather for his tendencies toward bluntness, sarcasm and offending others.

I am good at those things as well - if "good" is the right word.

Even as I struggle with them, his life gives me hope. If he made it, maybe an old curmudgeon like me might have a chance if I keep at it.

And the story of him helping the lion with a thorny problem is one I've always appreciated. My students know well that I try to avoid hurting even the occasional bees, spiders and ants that wander into class, preferring to capture the critters (the insects, not the students) and let them back out a window. My dictum is that I try never to kill one of god's creatures unnecessarily.

Despite my ministrations, however, no bee, spider or ant has become devoted to me as that lion did to Jerome. Maybe I need to help out larger beasts. I could start with my middle schoolers!


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