I had a long conversation the other day with a young lady, 14 years of age, a kid who lives far from here and spent the week at camp. The outlines of her story as a Catholic are depressingly familiar and devastatingly common: baptized, confirmed, not taken to Mass much otherwise, never really met Jesus Christ, never really believed much. But she loved coming to Camp and every summer, while there and for a few weeks afterward, she feels close to God and inclined to believe. She said she’d become convinced that she should draw closer to God, closer to the Church, because if there could be somewhere so beautiful with people so kind - if that kind of goodness could exist - there simply must be something behind it.
That, by the way, is why Camp exists, and though it certainly doesn’t have that effect on everyone, it’s pretty great to see it work so beautifully for someone.
Then the conversation took a sad turn as she talked about going home. She dreaded going home. When a kid says she's afraid to go home, that triggers certain responses, but even aside from that it's one of the saddest things you can hear come out of the mouth of a child. She had a panic attack two nights ago. It isn't a physically violent thing. She talked about how she doesn’t feel important, doesn’t feel accepted or like she really matters. She feels like just a constant disappointment.
Saturday, June 11, 2016
King David might be the most vivid character in all the Old Testament. The books of 1 and 2 Samuel follow him from boyhood to death, and we really get to know the man. As you read his story, David will thrill you, inspire you, let you down, make good again... he has laugh-out-loud hilarious moments and he has facepalm what-is-he-doing moments. And in the part of the story we catch today, he has had a moment of total moral collapse.
It’s one of those moments when the icy, sickening grip of pure evil seems to have taken hold finally and irrevocably. Biblical characters are real people, so they don’t fit into neat categories of “good-guys” who do no wrong and “bad-guys” who 100% rotten. Still, there comes a time when the sum of a someone’s actions have placed him or her pretty squarely on the side of wickedness. It can happen little by little or it can happen pretty suddenly. It has happened to David.