Our Lady and Sheen

Biographies for edification

I have been reading two biographies recently, one on Fr. Eugene Hamilton, the other the memoirs of Bishop Charles Greco.  The two books are not extraordinarily connected, except by the divine Priesthood of Christ and His priests on Earth, but there are great lessons to be learned from each of them.  A Priest Forever, the biography of Fr. Hamilton by Fr. Benedict Groeschel is a look at the life of a priest from the outside; With God’s Help, the memoirs of Bishop Greco are a look at a priest from within.

Fr. Groeschel makes a point when writing about seminarian Hamilton’s self-evaluation that humility, the virtue in opposition to pride, is not the same as self-hatred.  Self-hatred is a hatred for something which God considers “very good.”  It has always seemed to me that autobiographies and memoirs can lead to a sort of pride which can detract from the journey to heaven, however reading the memoirs of Bishop Greco, I find the opposite.  There is a sense of reality in his writings that really encourage the reader to strive for holiness; but, more than that, there is an actual life to be studied.  We do not have to guess at what this saint or that may have been thinking, Bishop Greco’s biography tells us what he was thinking, feeling and experiencing.  Much as Archbishop Sheen’s autobiography allows us to know about the man’s self-perception.

One of the other reasons that I enjoy reading Bishop Greco’s memoirs is that I just read the most stunning chapters on France, New Orleans and southern Louisiana.  I hear the names of places like Houma, where I have friends and have visited.  I have been to the first church, St. Francis de Sales (now a Cathedral, with the building built by Bishop Greco’s pastor) that Bishop Greco was assigned to.  I have met the beautiful Cajun people of the bayou who have God still in their hearts.  Even now, as Bishop Greco described his outing with the Junior Holy Name Society to Grand Isle, I have a friend who is there with his visiting mother and grandmother.  And while you can now drive to Grand Isle, hearing the description of the 12 hour voyage down the bayous was incredible.  Not to mention the recollection of the sportsman’s paradise that Louisiana is.  It is all very thrilling and intoxicating to read!

Bishop Greco, pray for us!

July 12, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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