True story! ?
Years ago, I was on the elevated train in Chicago – known as the “L” among city dwellers.
While reading a small prayer ? book ? about Saints, a fellow Chicagoan was inspired to declare to me that I was an apostate.
He announced that I worshipped idols and was on the path to hell. My first thought was that I was indeed on the Brown Line on the path to Lincoln Park, but I figured I might as well have a go at making my case for the Saints to this man…
So… aside for this guy’s lack of tact, I took him to likely be a reasonable fellow and figured I might score points with a sports analogy.
“Do you like Michael Jordan?” I asked.
This question seemed on the verge of offending him as much as the reading of our Saints. This is because, in Chicago, Mike is more than a Saint! He has acquired god status! (That’s with a small “G”.)
The man immediately responded, “Of course I like Mike!”
I said, “Okay. Great! No doubt! Now, let me see if I can unpack this for you. I have about two stops before this apostate’s road diverges!
A Saint is not an idol – far from it. A Saint is a person who has lived a life of extreme self denial and charity – caring for others before they cater to their own needs. Think MJ in the playoffs – working, scoring, driving, diving for loose balls.
But, the saint does all of his or her work in the game of life – without a crowd of cheering fans and cameras; without the prospect of receiving any wealth or recognition.”
The man listened.
I then asked, “Do you like basketball?”
He bristled, “Of course.”
“Then, do you think that admiring Mike subtracts from your love of basketball?”
“Good! My Friend! Loving, admiring, and even trying to copy the way Mike plays the game is what all good people do who contemplate the lives of Saints! Admiring a Saint does not compromise my Love for the Most High! The contemplation of the life of a Saint strengthens and informs my love for Him!”
The man responded, “I like that!”
As I arrived to my stop, I answered, “Good deal, guy! Now, go Be Like Mike!”
Happy All Saints’ Day, Friends!
By Billy Lee