‘A believer will never know they are wrong, and an atheist will never know they are right’. This is a great saying that I heard Fr. Larry Richards say recently. I really like him a lot. He’s a very gregarious and charismatic Priest who is broadcast on Relevant Radio. G records his talks and we listen to them now and then. I also really like Fr. Corapi, but there is something that just clicks with me with Fr. Larry. He was doing a talk where he was discussing the idea of believing or not believing and was referring to an interview with Madeline Murray O’Hair and a Priest on a talk show. They were discussing believing or not believing. Fr. Larry was noting what a great debater the particular Priest was. He asked Madeline whether she believed in God or not. She said that she did not believe and asked him to prove that God did exist. He said he couldn’t and asked her to prove that God didn’t exist. She said she couldn’t. She noted to him that he believed in something he couldn’t prove. He pointed out to her that she too believed in something she could not prove. She said ‘Those are your words, not mine.’ He then asked her if that was an untrue statement and she said it was true. So he then noted that if he was wrong and God didn’t exist that he would never know it because he would die and that would be the end of it for him. There would be nothing more. He noted that if she was right, then she would never know because she would die and there would be nothing more. He then went on to note that if he was right and died, he would know that he was right because – by the grace of God – he would end up in heaven for all eternity. But he also went on to note that if he was right and she died, she would most certainly know she was wrong for all eternity. And that is the gist of Pascal’s Wager.
If there is one thing I have learned recently its the importance of listening. Not just listening to others around us and carefully understanding what they are trying to say, but also listening to ourselves and the voice that is within. I have come to understand that God does talk to us in many different ways and its up to us to choose to listen. The more I have learned to listen, the better choices I have made. A recent example that only really became clear to me yesterday was something that happened to me last week. I was heading out of town on Thursday and ‘I’ came home from camp on Wednesday with a fever. I had been on the fence about whether I was heading out of town or not at this point anyway, and this didn’t help my choice. She was okay – but was running a low grade fever of about 100 degrees. The next morning she woke up and complained of a sore throat. Being a parent and having had pediatricians instill in me the dangers of strep throat, I encouraged G to take her to the doctor that day. I called him on the way to the airport and said that I felt strongly that she needed to be seen. I called later that night to hear what the Dr. had said and found out that she didn’t have strep throat. Okay – so I was wrong. She didn’t need to be seen. But, G then told me that the rash she had on her legs – which we had been trying to figure out and thought might have been irritated bug bites or bed bugs or something of that sort – had been noticed by chance by the med student who was working in the office. She looked at it and quickly diagnosed it as staph infection. They prescribed an oral medication as well as a cream to put on the infected areas. The next day, ‘I’ was fine. Her fever was gone and she felt absolutely 100%. I am convinced that she was given that fever so that we would take her to the Doctor and have her looked at. Staph infection can be very serious if left untreated. It can cause toxic buildup and can result in hospitalization. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I felt very strongly that she needed to be seen by the Doctor – but didn’t know why. I had thought it was because of the sore throat, but it was actually because of the staff infection.
Last week G and I watched ‘Lost in Woonsocket’. It was a wonderful story of two film makers who came upon two lost souls in the woods and reached out to help. The journey and results were astounding. Its a great movie that shows the power of simply reaching out to say ‘I care’. So often we see homeless or those less fortunate and we are so willing to turn our eyes the other way and not look at these people. What if we did look at them and took the time to understand their story? Imagine what COULD be? Its a very powerful thought. Its really incredible to think of how a simple act or gesture of kindness can set in motion a series of unimaginable but profound events.
… and, unfortunately, he picked the wrong time and place. Personally, I don’t think its appropriate for a Priest to be saying such things and certainly not in the middle of a Church. *** “In a guest appearance at Trinity United Church of Christ, the priest, the Rev. Michael Pfleger, who resigned about two weeks ago from an unpaid position on the Obama campaign’s Catholic advisory council, delivered a tirade against Clinton that included fake tears, a high-pitched voice and top-of-the-lungs screaming. He also gave a racially tinged critique of so-called “white entitlement,” of which he says Clinton is guilty. “I really believe that she just always thought: ‘This is mine. I’m Bill’s wife, I’m white and this is mine. I just got to get up and step into the plate,’” said Pfleger, 59, the white pastor of a predominantly black South Side church. “And then, out of nowhere, came, ‘Hey, I’m Barack Obama.’ And she said, ‘Oh, damn. Where did you come from? I’m white. I’m entitled. There’s a black man stealing my show.’ ” *** But was he the only person who has though this? Apparently not as evidenced by those seen in the background whooping, hollering and clapping. I have a woman who is part of our women’s group at our Church who we all love dearly. But we laugh because she says stuff that everyone else is thinking, but wouldn’t dare say – and completely gets away with it. It just wouldn’t be the same coming from the rest of us. No one would have batted an eye at these comments had they not come from a Priest.