fool (n.)

Rick Yoder has written another fine and thoughtful piece on his blog, The Amish Catholic:

Allow me to indulge in a bit of crude cultural observation. It occurs to me that the national church of the English would inevitably partake of that quintessential English quality – eccentricity. Americans don’t produce real eccentrics. We breed individualists and, less commonly, outright weirdos. But the great British loon is mostly unknown to us. Eccentricity requires a certain localism, even an urban one, that has been mostly lost in the sprawling homelands of the American empire. Suburbs don’t produce eccentrics.

The piece, which begins with a number of short examination of strange English clergymen, moves us to a sharp observation about the actual needs of the Church:

And more to the point, why should strangeness be so unwelcome in the Church? Why should the Church be bland and conformist and comfortable? Why must we labor on through the nauseatingly boring bureaucratic lingo and platitudinous sound-bites that so often seem to make up the bulk of our ecclesiastical discourse? Where is the sizzling fire cast to earth? Where is the light and heat of the Holy Ghost? In reviewing the proceedings of the recent Youth Synod, I was dismayed to find so little that genuinely spoke of the sacred. It so often seems that our Bishops are more interested in crafting a Church of the self-righteous liberal bourgeoisie than they are in the Church that Jesus left to His Apostles.

Eccentricity may not be a strategy, but it’s at least has the potential to become a reminder that the supernatural reality is completely other. As that Doctor of the Church, David Lynch, once said, “I look at the world and I see absurdity all around me. People do strange things constantly, to the point that, for the most part, we manage not to see it.” Well, God does far stranger things far more often than we do. Eccentrics – especially the Fools for Christ – can speak to that.

Read on and be edified.

My headmaster and I have discussed the need for the Holy Fool to penetrate the mundanity of our students’ quotidian Christian experience, which seems to be less about experiencing a life worth living but a safe space filled with Roman Catholic trivia but little understanding about the terrible speed of the Savior’s mercy.

fool, the noun, a silly person or a simpleton, traces its roots to Latin’s follis, the smith’s bellows, the beggar’s money purse, that is an empty sack. Would that we were empty, poor, and mendicant in order that the Lord might fill us with good things and show others our strangest recourse to Providence.