Friday, the Memorial of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Do you remember Mr. Blue? Mr. Blue is a novel written eighty years ago by Myles Connolly. Its main character acts, like a modern St. Francis, renounces social conventions in a radical imitation of Christ. The book is said to be the portrait of a modern saint, but it is only a work of fiction.
The author of Mr. Blue may present a real candidate for sainthood. Myles Connolly wrote and produced movies in Hollywood that edified a generation of Americans. He was responsible for State of the Union, a Spencer Tracy - Katherine Hepburn classic showing how pride can corrupt a politician and how repentance can resurrect him. He also inspired Frank Capra who, in turn, gave the world the immortal It’s a Wonderful Life. Connolly shared his money with the poor and invited people from the streets to his Christmas table. After his death, his daughter told a journalist, “...my father believed very strongly that you could be a very strong Catholic without being a wimp....He never pretended to be perfect, but he would say he’d keep trying.”
We have to hear the gospel’s call to two of John’s disciples as directed to each of us. Lay women and men, as well as priests and religious, have the vocation to be holy (or “perfect” as Myles Connolly put it). Sometimes we do not like to see ourselves as holy or set apart from the sultry lights of the world. That is, again, all of us -- priests, religious, and laypersons. But like Andrew in the gospel passage, finally drawing close to Christ, we come to know such ease that we want to share him with those we love most.