Feeling Like a Fool
Nobody wants to feel foolish. In social situations it makes us want to hide. We are often more than willing to tell a lie in order to avoid it. But there are some among the saints who willingly embraced feeling foolish as a way of life. They are the "Holy Fools."
Their lives and examples are seen as extreme - and they are! But what they did in an extreme manner is something that each of us must learn to do in small ways. Feeling foolish is the price we pay for honesty and self-awareness. It is the very heart and beginning of repentance.
In many ways, the sacrament of confession is the sacrament of foolishness. It has the advantage of being voluntary, which makes the foolishness bearable. St. Paul describes himself as a "fool," and describes the work of Christ as the "foolishness of the Cross."
God was willing, for our sake, to become a fool and to be ridiculed. In turn, He does not seek to make us into fools or ridicule us. He covers us and makes our healing possible. That healing, however, involves bearing a little foolishness of our own.
The actor, Anthony Burgess, told the story of his early years in which he had reached a deep point of depression such that he considered suicide. Sitting in a restaurant, thinking very dark thoughts, he heard a tapping a the window. The tapping persisted until all eyes in the restaurant were turned to the window. At that moment a street person smiled, and held up a sign. It read:
"I'm a fool for Jesus. Whose fool are you?"
Burgess said it changed his life and saved him from a terrible and tragic decision.
Whose fool am I?