After the Cheering

I've watched the movie Rudy more times than I can count, but I always cry at the end of the movie...without fail. And in all honesty, who wouldn't? Rudy's lifted up on the shoulders of his fellow players after years of hard work, struggle, negative feedback, roadblocks, nay-sayers, and even a father who wasn't willing to appreciate his son's all comes together at the end of the movie.

It's a moment of achievement for everyone. We should all be inspired.

I find it easy to parallel this image of awe-inspiring inspiration with Jesus as he's helped onto the colt's back...preparing to enter into Jerusalem as a king. The multitudes are singing; cloaks cover the road. The words of the Pharisees are drowned out by the elation of the disciples.

It's a great day to be one of the faithful, but it lasts only for a few days.

For many who are searching to connect with God, or those doing their best to follow a religious vocation like me, our faith can be just as elating. There are moments in life when we know we have spoken with the Divine, we know why we are here, and we are positive on how we will live the rest of our lives. The grace of God allows that, and anyone who's had a "God moment" will tell you how the immensity of such an encounter can barely be put into words.

Yet our lives are not full of these moments. The "Rudy Moments" are rare (at least in my experience), and they are the strongholds that provide us refuge in times of great desolation. Yet in these moments of desolation, the times when we call out for God and we wonder if anyone is really listening...these are the times when we learn to grow our faith the most.

In reading and reflecting on the Gospel for Palm Sunday, I thought about the challenges I face as a novice and what the Scripture is saying to me. And one of those challenges is to be able to perservere even when I feel that I'm not as close to God as I should be, or I'm not being good enough to wear the habit and cord. I still remember the moment I felt called to a religious vocation, but it resides in my mind with numerous concerns for schooling, dealing with celibacy, living in community, and even living with my own doubts.

My challenge is to be one of the multitude that continues to praise my faith, even after the cheers, crowds, and other festivies have gone. When Jesus was crucified, only a few of his disciples were there. And when sky darkened...those disciples came back - beating their breasts in guilt. Even when it's hard to be a Catholic, a man, a friar, or even a Mexican-American...the challenge is to keep the faith and remember the presence of God.

Picture from 1SkyWalker

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