Friday, October 24, 2014

Dancing Priests are great and all, but how about praying ones?

In the fourth century, a son of a shepherd decided to climb atop a pillar in Syria so as to escape the distractions of everyday life and life as an ascetic monk capable of living toward the truth of God.

Saint Simeon Stylites lived atop this column for 37 years, drawing large crowds and his influence became such that people would climb a ladder to collect letters that he was writing against usury and other forms of vice of the day. Through his testament, creative as it was, to a way befitting a follower of Christ, he rose to prominence (no pun intended). To such an extent that he even influenced David Blaine in the early 2000s to climb atop a similarly high column in New York before eventually jumping into some boxes.

                                  Simeon , your magic is real and I believe in you - Michael Jackson

Contrast this ancient equivalent of 'going viral' to the recent phenomena of singing priests or their spiritual pals, tap dancing priests. The latter was seen this week in the Vatican dancing, with some talent it must be admitted, below a painting of Pope Francis and a crucifix bearing Our Lord's image.

We should not have a problem with a priest tap dancing, nor with a priest having fun. But considering this was at an event where many were present and in the holy grounds of the Vatican, one would hope that the priests would not appear so bored with their vocation as to break out into a song and dance at any opportunity.

Now, for all I know, these are wonderful priests. I am not judging them whatsoever. But acts like those of Simeon Stylites are at once captivating and at the same time useful in instilling a sense of one's yearning for God into the minds of those who see it. Please God, one of these days a papal or clerical act of pure faith, rather than irreverence, goes viral. We've had enough of who am I to judge and Leonard Cohen songs.

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