The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown is a children’s story that I often read to our daughters in their early years. The story begins with these words: “Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away. So he said to his mother, "I am running away.” “If you run away,” said his mother, “I will run after you. For you are my little bunny.”
When my daughters were little and I would read them fairy tales we’d often come across lands where the king was either bad or missing in action. And because the one who should have sat on the throne ruling justly was either not on the throne, or ruling unjustly, the storybook land had inevitably turned bleak and gloomy and the people were sad.
Following a devastating world war and nearly a century of vicious conflicts among nation states trying to establish their identity and independence, Pope Pius XI decided it would be a good idea to remind Christians that when all is said and done Christ is the King, the ruler, the head of state. If we kept that in mind, he wrote in 1925, our conflicts might not be so frequent or severe.
One summer, years ago, I was an activities counselor in charge of 16 young boys, ages 5 to 10. I would often load them into a big van and off we’d go on fun adventures. Joey, a high-school kid from the same childcare institution, was assigned to help me, and thank God for that, because while I drove he had the unenviable task of keeping the boys in line.
Apocalypses begin and end in the heart of each believer. The journey toward divine revelation, as any mystic will tell you, is an interior trek. The dark night of the soul is nothing less than the battle of the good and evil within us.
In 1995 gray wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park after a 70-year absence. They had been killed in the decades prior to the point of local extinction, mostly to protect the big business of cattle ranching, largely on federal land, in the region. At the time, I was a reporter for the Great Falls Tribune, a Montana newspaper, serving as their D.C. correspondent.
There are times when the skeptic in me refuses to give rational assent to religious doctrines, like the Trinity, the Incarnation, or the Resurrection. Thankfully, pure rationality is not the only, and certainly not the best, means of coming to understand deeply spiritual truths.
At a leadership retreat, two teams were given the task of getting from point A to point B on a huge Twister-like grid. The rules were very specific about what moves forward, backward, and sideways were legal and which weren’t. It was very apparent that a straight run by every team member would not do the trick.
In my first year of priesthood I was privileged to bring Holy Communion monthly to a 95-year-old woman who was being cared for by her only surviving child, a 75-year-old man. There were some months when her health was better than his, and she found herself taking care of him. She was a remarkable person.
It was quite an event. The alderman who represented the ward in which our parish was located was having his child baptized. Along with family, there were many local politicians and their wives present, filling the baptismal chapel.