I went to see the movie, The Rite, last night. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised because it didn’t portray the Church in a poor light. It brought out the reality of the devil and devils, and the fact that they are personal, with names. It made clear the existence of God. It portrayed a chaste and health relationship between a seminarian and a woman. Whoever wrote the story (reportedly inspired by real events) had a poor understanding of Holy Orders though, for one of the main actors was shown to have been ordained to the diaconate but then functioning as a priest in the rite of exorcism, etc. It kept referring to “vows” that priests take at ordination, which is not accurate either, as candidates to the diaconate and priesthood make promises but really not vows. They seem to have confused vows with the sacrament of Orders. Overall though as I said, I was pleasantly surprised by the fair portrayal of the Church.
When I see such movies I am left with reinforcement to maintain a regular prayer life. As a deacon, this means for me being faithful to the Divine Office which gives structure to my day and keeps God close in mind. To faithfully pray the Office one has to give God priority, and you are frequently interrupting whatever you may have pressing upon you to take 15 minutes or so to pray the next Office. In the psalms one finds Christ and your association with him as an ordained minister of his Word.
Today is the memorial of St. Agatha. She was a virgin and martyr who died in Catania probably during the persecution of the Emperor Decius. Her memory has been kept by the Church since the most ancient of days. The bishop St. Methodius Siculus wrote a discourse regarding her, excerpts of which I would like to translate below from the Italian text I use.
“Agatha, our saint, who has invited us to this religious banquet, is the spouse of Christ. She is a virgin who has colored her lips with the blood of the Lamb and has nurtured her spirit by meditating on the death of her divine lover.
“The stole of this saint bears the colors of the blood of Christ, but also of her virginity. St. Agatha, then, becomes a witness of unfathomable eloquence for all future generations.
“St. Agatha is truly good because being of God she finds herself by the side of her Spouse to render us participants of that good of which her name bears meaning and value: Agatha (that is, Good) given to us as a gift by the same source of goodness, God….. Agatha draws us with her own name to meet her and with the teaching of her own example so that everyone, without pause, may compete among themeselves to obtain the true good, who is God alone.”
I love that last line: the true good who is God alone. If only we could live each moment of our lives reflecting that reality.
Tomorrow is Super Bowl day. I could care less actually, not because “my team” isn’t playing (I don’t have a team) but because I refuse to get caught up in the hype. I find I have to be knowledgeable about it all in order to be able to converse with the general public because that is all many are talking about… keep in mind Packerland is right across the River.
I hope all of you have a great day.
A diaconal blessing on you and your families.