The Most Important Lesson My Super Hero Parents Taught Me

The Most Important Lesson My Super Hero Parents Taught Me

Mondays, being my day off, give way to an even greater opportunity to reflect and pray. Much of my thoughts go to reading the signs of the times. These were my thoughts, today, as I was doing my pre-Mass Lectio Divina and Mental Prayer.

In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus is “moved with pity for the crowd.” The closer we get to Jesus, the more our heart is moved with pity for the “sheep without a shepherd.” In other words, so many seem to be lost, as they wander “aimlessly” through life. We look around knowing all those souls, most at a subconscious level, are hungry for “the more” … something beyond the short and intermittent pleasures of life.

Unless they are led to the Divine Life, they remain caught at a surface-level, superficial existence that chases after “small morsels of pleasure” that, they hope, keep them from slipping into hopelessness. They keep trying “anything” to fill their chronic emptiness.

Add to this, we all must openly admit that these are “historic times.” Sure, there have been plenty of times when widespread indoctrination transformed whole cultures, but that was done by word of mouth or, possibly, pamphlets. Today, we are in the midst of “high-speed indoctrination.” Never before, in all of history, has there been such effective tools for “manipulating the masses.” And so, we are all moved with pity as we watch, especially loved ones, falling prey to the lies of the influencers of our times, at an alarming rate.

It all seems insurmountable, and we are tempted to throw ourselves into the same “panic attack” Moses had in today’s First Reading …

“I cannot carry all this people by myself,
for they are too heavy for me.
If this is the way you will deal with me,
then please do me the favor of killing me at once,
so that I need no longer face this distress.” (Numbers 11:14-15)

No, instead of panicking, we are called to “Keep Calm and Trust in Him.” But, we must know that this “trust” is not meant to give us license to “deaden our hearts to the great crowd of the lost,” as we check a box, while saying, “God’s got this.”

This is where my thoughts went to my parents. I had Super Hero parents! What made them “Super Heroes”? The “Super” part came from their devout lives of prayer, especially in their love and devotion for the Most Holy Eucharist. This brought them into the “Divine Life.” This filled them with supernatural grace. That’s the “Super” part.

The “Hero” part came in their resolve to be extravagant in their efforts to live their lives in “Heroic Virtue.” The term is applied to highly virtuous persons who do extraordinary good works.

Mom and dad “grew where they were planted.” For us Catholics that is, for the most part, done in how we “join forces” with our parish family. And so it was with mom and dad. They worked hard at making their parish thrive in their efforts to make the parish a warm and loving home for all who chose to “join the family.” Our family volunteered for EVERYTHING! We practically lived at the parish, helping in every way we could, and we thought we were in heaven! And, because we and other families modeled this joyful dedication to parish family, it became a “given” for other families to do the same. In a sense, this dedication to our parish family was like a “spiritual gymnasium” which grew our “heroic virtue muscles” that would be lavishly shared beyond our parish boundaries. This was, and remains, the way we are all called to “get in the game.” That’s the “Hero” part.

We must also realize that we are all tempted to hide behind our “noble duties” as a way to justify “riding the bench” in facing this insurmountable call to build the Kingdom of God during these historically challenging times of “high-speed indoctrination.” The most common noble duty used is “family first.” Well, my Super Hero parents defied the best of excuses for not “getting in the game.” They had seven kids who were all involved in every sport possible, while dad started his own business, requiring an insane amount of time and attention. But, with uncommon joy, they found their greatest source of pleasure in putting “God first,” as they remained very active in everything at our parish family.

My Super Hero parents understood that they would quickly lose the “Super” part (supernatural grace), if they did not activate the “Hero” part (out, beyond family, putting into practice their “Heroic Virtue”). This is called the “sin of omission.”

While I do not believe this lack of activating the “Hero” part is the total reason for children falling away from the faith as they grow older, I believe it is an extremely significant reason. If parents limit faith to fulfilling obligations, while having their family MIA in efforts to build the Kingdom of God beyond their own homes, children get an incomplete version of what it means to be Catholic. They can come to think, “What’s the point?”

All I know is that I believe my Super Hero parents modeled this “complete” version of Catholicism for us in the best way possible. One way to prove it’s efficacy is, I am a priest, my sister is a Catholic school principal, and all of my other siblings not only fulfill their Catholic obligations, but are among the most active in each of their parish families. They are making a difference, as they are “in the game,” building the Kingdom of God.

It all seems insurmountable, but we must “Keep Calm and Trust in Him” … oh, and get off the bench and into the game.