An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Ep. 90: Vocations plus E.T.

Concluding our series of episodes on vocations, Fr. Dan Hanley (Associate Director of the USCCB’s office for Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations) joins us to run the gamut of the various ways God calls us to love. For anyone who might be confused about the scope of vocational options, his insight goes a long way toward making sense of the whole. Then Kara Bach joins (30:20) to celebrate the 40th anniversary of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Few movies have ever offered a better reflection on family life and the sense of wonder.

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E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

“In speaking of this desire for our own far-off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter.

“Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Made for Love

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