By Mary Lou Rosien
This column is dedicated to a real Catholic hero, my past editor, colleague and friend, Michael Dubruiel. May he rest with God.
My father called me unexpectedly, “I am looking out onto the Hudson River. I forgot to tell you I was traveling to NY City.” Fear gripped me for a second. I had just turned on the news and was watching a major rescue attempt on the Hudson. Flight 1549 had just crashed into the river.
“Were you…?” The questioned hung in the air, over the phone lines. My father quickly reassured me that he was NOT on the flight. He was staying at a hotel that faced the river and he was watching the rescue with amazement.
In the month that followed, I was struck by the characteristics of the pilot, Chesley Sullenberger III, “Sully.” He was being called a hero which led me to contemplate what I think heroes are made of. For examples I looked to the people around me and to the Saints.
Heroes are experts. This doesn’t necessarily mean they have a higher education, or a doctorate degree, but they are knowledgeable in the things that matter to them. Think once again of Sully, or of a firefighter rushing into a burning building, or a Catholic who defends the faith. Their knowledge increases their skill and their chances for a positive outcome.
They do what is right, even when it is unpopular. I am reminded of priests who have gone to jail rather than give up efforts to protect the unborn. St. Joan of Arc stood up for the truth and wouldn’t back down even when faced with her own destruction.
They think of others before themselves. Sully walked the plane twice, counting along the way and checking for anyone left behind. At any time the plane could have slipped under the water taking him along with it, but he wouldn’t leave until he was sure that everyone had gotten out.
My husband, who works himself until exhaustion for our family, is also a hero in this way. He will not let our family down. He will not use his own discomfort as an excuse to fall short of the example he wants to set for our children. I have witnessed him come home, on a Sunday morning, after a 14-hour night shift. He could have collapsed into bed, but he would not allow himself the rest until he had taken us all to Mass. This is heroic.
Heroes believe in the virtue of self-sacrifice. During this time of Lent, we can look to examples of the Saints and see their willingness to sacrifice and even suffer for Christ and their faith. They are imitators of Christ on the cross, suffering for our redemption.
St. Edmund Campion was martyred after converting to Catholicism and converting many others to the faith. He once wrote, “I cannot escape the hands of the heretics,” but even in the face of such danger, he continued to preach the Catholic faith.
We can help our students to become heroes of the Catholic faith and heroes in their daily lives by teaching them what it takes to act heroically. God bless.
Catholic Faith Resources | For Catholic Parishes | Order OSV Products | RSS | Advertise | About Us | Contact Us | Jobs