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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Do You Practice "Joyful Subversion?"

Andrew brings Peter to Jesus.
The priest who witnessed my marriage, Fr. Hugh Monmonier, a wonderful Benedictine who became a good friend, once told my husband and me that Catholics should be on the watch to "make a friend, be a friend, and bring a friend to Christ." I thought of that this morning as I read Mary Eberstadt's article honoring Fr. Arne Padula, former director of the Catholic Information Center who died in July.

One phrase particularly caught my eye. She said Father's legacy was to bring "joyful subversion to new generations."

"Joyful subversion!" What an interesting paradox. Webster defines subversion as a "systematic attempt to overthrow or undermine a government or political system by persons working secretly from within." The word comes from 14th century Old French and the etymology dictionary defines it as "physical destruction, demolition, ruination; overthrow of a system or law."

As a Catholic who "puts on the armor of God" every morning, I found this idea delightful and challenging. We are called to battle, to bring about the "ruination" of the Kingdom of Satan. And what a joyful "ruination" that is! Our victory brings freedom to those enslaved by evil. It brings hope to those who doubt life has any meaning. Above all it brings joy and the "peace that passes understanding" to those who surrender to Christ and his good news.

Like the man running from God in Francis Thompson's poem, The Hound of Heaven, surrender isn't defeat, but victory. And every soul who surrenders to our "joyful subversion" helps to bring about the "overthrow" of the demons. How they must gnash their teeth to see a soul who seemed firmly held in their grasp slip the bonds of their slavery and turn to Christ. Joyful subversion indeed!

So how will you practice it today: in your family, in your parish, in your community? Will you make a new friend? Will you help to strengthen the faith of an old friend? Ask God for the opportunities to serve him. He always answers that prayer!

May Jesus Christ be praised, now and forever.

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