Guest Columnists

Here’s to the Faithful, Or the Lucky Ones

By Father John Catoir

The lucky ones are people with a vibrant faith. They may not be perfect, but they have been able to overcome many obstacles by the grace of God and find happiness despite their weaknesses. They believe in not being overcome by evil but overcoming evil with good.

Sometimes a person is born with a particular set of weaknesses such as a jealous streak, an inferiority complex or an envious spirit that saddens the soul. These traits often lead to certain actions that bring shame and misery upon them.

But how are some people able to overcome these weaknesses? In other words, how do they get lucky? The answer is found in supernatural faith.

Faith is not a religious eccentricity. Faith is a lifesaving mechanism available to those who comprehend invisible supernatural realities. There are people who pray their way out of a thousand difficulties and all kinds of trying circumstances. They’re brave and stand tall despite fears and tears. They’re the lucky ones who hold on to faith.

I once did a TV interview with Joe Garagiola, a former St. Louis Cardinal baseball hero and broadcaster. We were talking about faith and I asked him: “What do you say to those who claim that Catholics make too much of Mary?”

He shot back, “Father, I’m lucky, I know that if you want to get to the man, you get to the mother.”

We paused to laugh, but he drove right on: “We don’t say enough to praise Mary, her care and protection. The same for St. Joseph, the patron saint of families. I always pray to him to protect my family, to put his arms around us. He took care of the Holy Family didn’t he? What more can you ask?”

Garagiola’s simple faith may be a bit too naive for some, but Jesus said that unless you become like little children, you’re never going to be really lucky (or something like that).

I often spar with atheists, especially on Twitter. When I poke fun at them, a few get a bit angry and write nasty retorts. It’s part of the give and take. I love them and remind them that since they have to admit they can’t prove that God does not exist, it follows that there is a possibility that He does. This means they don’t know for sure.

I tell them that it would be more proper linguistically to call themselves agnostics since they just don’t know.

But because they are so unlucky, I try not to rub it in. I tell them to be hopeful. Why? Because God loves to forgive, and He is merciful.

Father John Catoir writes a syndicated column for Catholic News Service.

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