Message from Father William Bartoul
My dear Brother Knights,
Some people view the Bible with objective interest. In other words, it informs us about others; God, angels, heaven, hell, noteworthy people and events. The Bible is one of God’s ways of sharing with us all the things that are important to Him and reminds us that He is with us.
It’s also true that the Bible informs us about ourselves. Since every generation has its own way of viewing God and the world, brilliantly, God uses basic examples and common settings to tell us about ourselves. For example, fictional Harry Potter has nothing on the real Moses. Think about it, here was a man who took his staff and defeated Pharaoh’s most powerful magicians. He took his staff and split the sea! He used it to tap on a stone and bring forth water! Here’s my point about “seeing ourselves” in biblical persons and events. Each of us is like a Moses. Pharaoh’s magicians used trickery and fakery to manipulate the people. Moses defeated them with True power; God’s grace. Our world is full of trickery and elaborate attempts to manipulate people. It’s up to us to dispel the 21st century magicians as well as dispel the fears brought on by the proverbial “smoke and mirrors.” We are baptized men of faith. With faith and trust in God, we teach and comfort our children; we develop and work toward our family goals; and most profoundly, we release a great power whenever our loved ones are threatened or frightened; we console, provide and protect. You’re probably wincing as you read this! Most men don’t see themselves this way. We take these things for granted; we’re just doing our job as a good man, husband, father. God doesn’t take it for granted or view it as ordinary…and, neither does most of the population (women and children). And, so, God tells each generation of men about Moses. At the risk of sounding scientific for a moment, Moses is an archetype for each of us (the prototype, the basic or standard example). To be like Moses is not bragging, it’s a reality check with God’s design for us; faith-filled men of action.
It doesn’t stop with Moses. Let’s look at the great prophets Elijah and Elisha. Each man had unique talents. Elijah was like a Wildman (outdoorsman) while Elisha was like a healer (more of a homebody). The principles by which Elijah and Elisha lived are no different than the principles by which we live today. Elijah trusted in God when the odds were heavily against him (400 pagan priests challenged his faith in God). Elisha was not intimated by the demands of a powerful General (extreme political and social pressures). Both prophets were loyal to God. When we read about these prophets, we’re not only reading about men from 850 BC. We’re reading about ourselves; about all men as designed by God and challenged by their world.
I could go on about Abraham as Patriarch/Pilgrim, Solomon as King, Jonah as Trickster. My point is that the Bible is a great insight into who we are as men of faith. God didn’t inspire the Bible for mere entertainment. Our Creator teaches us how a man of faith lives. We are Elijah, facing challenges to our faith. We are Solomon, supporting justice and fairness in a chaotic world. And, in all our roles, we serve the Lord by loving Him as He loves us. Okay, I’m done.
Personally, there are circumstances when I’m more Moses and other times when I’m more Peter. There are events that demand I’m more Joseph, John and Paul with a pinch of Solomon thrown in! But, that’s just me and my challenges.
I’ll see you in the pages of the Bible. Peace, Fr. Bill