I believe that a person’s heroes tell you more about the person than the person might suspect. I have had many people I have looked up to in my life but my ‘heroes’ are more likely to be those who would be horrified at ever being anyone’s role model. Dorothy Day was once referred to as a ‘saint’ while she was still alive, and she famously said ‘you can’t dismiss me that easily’. Entries from her diaries reveal her to be irascible, ornery, and compassionate to the core. Maybe this is the true sign of a hero, someone well aware of their darkside but who is also able to use all of their qualities, good and bad, to let the light shine for others.
Cardinal Joseph Bernadin made the phrase ‘seamless garment’ famous. I admire the way he lived, how he handled those who would have destroyed him, how he handled his final illness, but most of all for his efforts to be an example of a ‘seamless garment.’
I have recently been working as an intern in a pilot program for pastoral ministers. The little I have done so far makes me even more aware that my own life as a husband, father, teacher, lay minister, Catholic Christian, and many more things, needs to be a ‘seamless garment’. My best hope is a young woman, now a student of mine, who has seen me working and living in a variety of situations. According to her, I am ‘just the same’ when I am working a retreat as when I am teaching Whitman to juniors. I hope that consistency is a good thing.
Actually, I think I would especially like to be the invisible garment owned by the famous Harry Potter. I would guess that no seams show while it is being used, hence the ‘invisibility’ part. I would like to be an invisible tool used to do good work in my home, classroom, and ministry. I think I would be happy to have someone say ‘we never noticed him doing it, but what he did was good’.