Saturday, April 5, 2008

Priest-Knight, Warrior-Poet?

As I voyage deeper into the wide world of Catholic blogs, I started to hear about a Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, or as he's affectionately called, "Father Z." He is the moderator of the Catholic Online Forum and the ASK FATHER Question Box. (The all-caps are from his own site. I was tempted to add "OR ELSE!" afterward but thought better of it. He might be keeping records and I need all the help I can get at this point.)

I can see why he is so popular. First, he's a smart guy. A really, really smart guy. Second, he knows his stuff regarding All Things Catholic. The blog Sancte Pater had a recent entry on why Father Z's blog is required reading.

I'm starting to get it.

One of the things I remembered from my childhood was the almost other-worldliness of priests. I didn't understand the celibacy thing and wondered what they did with all their time if they didn't have kids to correct. Little did I know. Most of the priests I knew then would visit occasionally our little classrooms and we would immediately snap to attention. It wasn't until I was older that I started to understand the rigorous training they must complete in order to wear the collar.

And so it was with great enjoyment that I read one of Fr. Z's most recent entries:

An Interesting Evening

As I read it, I thought about the Priest as modern-day knight. The Samurai had to master Ikebana, the art of flower arrangement, as well as the art of the sword. The Samurai, fierce warriors that they were, brought culture to Japan during the Kamakura period (1192 - 1333). Isn't it interesting that during that time, the Knights of Malta were gearing up for battle? The Knights were first known as the Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem. They were a unique blend of mercy and judgement, defending the defenseless, aiding those who were in need of medical help, and becoming a military group fighting the encroaching threat of the Ottoman Empire.

Although the vocation for priesthood has taken some major hits, I'm happy to see that many young men are still responding to the call of God for this service. And in a perfect world, they'd be taught how to handle a sword.

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