Of course, what Fr. Carron is referring to are those who witness, ultimately, to a very real, lived faith in Christ. Earlier he speaks of how “our hope, the salvation of Christ, cannot be something we’ve read and know how to parrot back well” — we need people, examples, of what hope looks like.
This resonates with me, although I can’t quite put my finger on it yet.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that, a year-plus after leaving Steubenville — as more-than-eager/ready as I was to get out of there — I’ve come to appreciate, and long for, that beautiful companionship of faith and faithful friends that I experienced there and that Fr. Carron so eloquently describes.
Maybe it’s the stirring image of “people who incarnate in their lives” a real, grounded purpose for simply being alive — in the sense, as St. Irenaeus said, that this is “the glory of God.”
The line on faith not being “something we’ve read and know how to parrot back well” also strikes me. Actually, it kind of stings, because I got a B.A. for reading and regurgitating what I read about hope and the salvation of Christ, and because, yes, a year-plus after graduation, I’m realizing how that’s not enough.
Attending my grandmother’s funeral and burial service, and learning more about her in the past two weeks from my family than I did from her in the past 23 years, I’ve turned these things over in my mind. Her name, Fidela, played often in eulogies and sermons over the weekend, especially in the priest’s homily during the funeral Mass.
I’m struck by the realization that, even as I sit and have a mini-crisis of faith in a small, overstuffed apartment that doesn’t even have a space for the three bowling pins scattered by the front door (where they have lain for the past three months), a woman whose life by every account was simply imbued with the meaning of her name has gone before. That even as I’m frustrated with the Rosary or my seemingly perpetual inattention and distraction at Mass, my mother’s mother faithfully prayed bead after bead while any one of her eight children crawled over her lap, attended Mass devotedly as often as she could — or via EWTN when bedridden — and, yes, incarnated “a light, a clarity,” by which the meaning of her life is revealed. Really, what strikes me most is that this — her faith — is what seems to be remembered and acknowledged first among my family, most of whom have fallen away from the Church.
“Man fully alive,” as St. Irenaeus put it, might seem incompatible with the ICU unit, a used ventilator and frail, scarred and weary lungs that eventually failed. But I think that just means there’s hope for all of us, and for me.