Listening to a few young adults the other day talking about the ideals of valor and commitment to a cause and I was struck by their inability to ascribe to those virtues. They just couldn’t comprehend giving their lives to something other than themselves and I got the feeling they afraid. It brought to mind the lyrics of a song by one of my favorite musicians, Ray Davies, who I think is a brilliant poet as well, he has an uncanny ability to comment on contemporary life.

I wish my life was non-stop Hollywood movie show
A fantasy world of celluloid villains and heroes
Because celluloid heroes never feel any pain
And celluloid heroes never really die.[1]

Today, if these young adults are any example, there is a general detachment from embracing life changing values. There is an aversion to sacrificing for a greater good. Suffering for something important is abhorred, indeed suffering of any kind is to be given a wide pass. The idea of ‘heroic’ is unfathomable. To them a hero is someone that can be watched on TV, at home, in comfort, and then turned off – very safe and very much not them.

There are, sadly, very few people today, of any generational group, who we can honestly call heroic. It should be all of us, we should strive for that vocation. It is even more incumbent upon those who profess to follow Christ; who are the current holders of the torch of His ministry on earth. And it begs the question: how are each of us doing in holding His torch high for all to see?

Now, it is true that we will have setbacks, we will fail; but it is precisely in the next decision, the next step, that defines whether we are still on solid ground, whether we are ‘heroic’. Christ has given us Himself to help us on this journey. He has given us the Holy Eucharist to nourish and strengthen us; He has given us the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation to cleanse and heal us. They are offered to us so that we can decide a life with Him – a heroic decision to live a heroic life.

This decision to follow Christ; our constant and continual decision to put down the wrong that we have acquired and pick up Christ again isn’t a mental exercise; it is a choice of a new life. Every time we bravely choose to recommit to Christ we take a different path which will be reflected in how we live; a life of heroic witness.

Our choice, our decision, to take this different path is our reacceptance of Christ’s mercy. It is the only ‘thank you’ that can be given to He who gave His all for us. It is the only action that can bring us closer to Him. It is the most important participation that we can offer to Him through Holy Mother Church. It leads us to a life of mercy towards those around us – a sacrificial life of love – but one that comes with the cross.

Brothers and sisters, let’s continually make the decision to take the path of Divine Mercy; the heroic path of truth and love. A decision that, though is a path of trials and suffering, is the only path that allows us to realize who we truly are; living, breathing witnesses of Christ who will live forever with Him in heaven. Let’s make the decision to be heroic and not celluloid heroes – who, after all, might not die but have never lived.

[1] Written by Raymond Douglas Davies • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Abkco Music, Inc