Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Only the good die young

Source: Wikipedia
If you haven't been living in a cave you've probably heard the Billy Joel song "Only the Good Die Young." It's a very catchy tune, and when it's on the radio or somewhere I can't help but hum along. But did you ever stop to listen to the words? It's pretty horrible. A man is trying to get a young girl (not sure how young, if you get my drift) to have sex with him. The girl is a virgin and he blames the Catholic Church for keeping her from having the fun that she should be having.

Aside from the anti-Catholic lines, there is one verse that catches my attention:
They say there's a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
Sinners are much more fun

It catches my attention because many people think it's true. And even if you read the Butler's Lives of the Saints you get the same impression - that the saints live horrible lives in misery. But getting a martyr's death isn't the point of sainthood, or even a requirement.

Take a moment to watch this video about St. Maximilian Kolbe.

St.Kolbe died what to us would seem a horrible death, but he wasn't crying, he was smiling. I haven't been around too many saints, but I have been around lots of sinners, and although they have their moments of laughter, there's a lot of crying going on. It seems to me that Billy Joel's words are spoken out of ignorance, or maybe wishful thinking. You don't laugh with sinner and cry with saints, but more like the other way around.

The saints are the joyful, peaceful happy ones. This becomes evident if you read the writings of the saints, or see videos of them. There is a quality about real saints that makes you admire and want to be like them, which is quite opposed to the way they are portrayed in secular descriptions.

So I was thinking of a way to explain this to people by way of analogy. Let's say all you knew about exercise was watching a weight lifting competition. You might think "I don't ever want to exercise and become strong because strong people are just crushed with weights." Quite the opposite is true. The weak person struggles lifting weights, while the strong person is not bothered by them.

St. Maximilian Kolbe didn't die a hard death. He simply saw a weight too heavy for someone else, that he could lift with ease.


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