How To Be Superman

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There’s a rather wide-spread myth circulating these days, a lie being told to small children, a falsehood that should be rejected by all thinking people. It is the bizarre notion that human beings can’t fly. We might become very strong, very fast or very smart, sure, but we will never become very airborne. The Church – a grave and serious voice in the midst of all this irrational ‘no-flying’ business – says otherwise: Man can fly.

After all, there is utterly no rational explanation for the idea that he can’t. I suppose one could say that they’ve never seen a man fly, but the same people have never seen Papua New Guinea, though they put an undying religious faith in its existence. Ah, they might respond, but we know others who have seen Papua New Guinea, to which I could only respond that I’ve known others who have flown, Joseph of Cupertino and Francis of Assisi coming to mind. So they might then try the laws of physics, until the realization sinks in that ‘laws’ are merely observations of repetition. Because a man falls a thousand times a man jumps, a statement is made; man cannot fly. But there is always the thousand and first time. All a law of science can say – never seeing the thousand and first time – is that it is unlikely that man can fly. But a human being flying is unlikely, just like any miracle, and thus appealing to the laws of physics only ever says this: It is unlikely the unlikely will happen. Which everyone already knew, revealing the laws of physics to be – for all their beauty and usefulness – a rather ridiculous authority to flee to. At this point they might wave their hands wildly and call me stupid, and I would return the action.

But all that is besides the point. A child knows he can fly; that’s why he tries. Adults have only forgotten. The point is that man is especially able to fly. That he should fly. That a singular event that occurred in recent history makes flying something as likely as a falling. I don’t know if you’ve heard, and I don’t want to ruin the surprise for anyone who hasn’t, but a Godman came to us and told us that “with God, all things are possible.” And we promptly killed him and misinterpreted what he meant.

See, we think he meant that if we pray to God, he can do anything for us. Which is true, but not true enough. For it implies that Jesus simply meant that God was all-powerful, that He can do anything. He can, but that was something every Jew in Palestine already knew. No, the rabbi was saying that and something else. Because God became man, man’s potential has exploded and expanded beyond our wildest dreams. Because the all-powerful Creator – the Miracle Maker Himself – became His creation, we His creation can no longer pretend to be bound by the ‘likely’ or the ‘possible’ any more than He. With God all things are possible, and God is a man. After all, did he not tell us, “You will do even greater miracles than these?” referring to his own healings and mighty works? Do we think he was being rhetorical? Did he not give us the Holy Spirit, one even greater than He? Why then, we are not in the habit of flying?

I believe we fear taking our Savior at his word. Because if what he says is true, that he has reconciled us to the Father and we now hold the power of God at our disposal, then our lives cannot be ordinary. They have to be awesome. When we realize that his words to us are true, that we can outdo the miracles of the Christ, we can’t exactly go downstairs, play video games, eat a few cheetos andgo to sleep. No, we could only live radical lives of virtue and of growth in the Holy Spirit, in His gifts of prophecy, tongues and their interpretation, mighty works and healings, discernment of good and evil, of the spiritual world. We would live a life the stuff of Saints, in all their bi-locating, levitating glory. Do you understand? It’s not that God might do these things to us, it’s that God has already given us them. Each one of you, reading this now, no matter who you are, no matter what your religion, has the power to fly.

To have life to its fullest does not mean the attainment of some vague and general fulfillment. It means diving deep into the capacity God has given mankind, and God has given mankind the capacity of superheroes. Do you believe this?

Hi, my name is Marc, and I’ll be posting at VirtuousPla.net with frequency. I blog here, and am currently documenting my World Youth Day experience. Thanks for reading!

Marc Barnes

Marc Barnes

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8 thoughts on “How To Be Superman”

  1. Marc,

    As always, good stuff. The first half reminded me of the British polymath Michael Polanyi’s observation (Personal Knowledge) that all scientific theory requires a personal commitment to the unlikelihood of what is assumed statistically insignificant. In other words, it is precisely in the .001%, .01%, 12%, etc. that man exerts his will to believe in the 99.999%, 99.99%, 88%, etc.

    Keep rockin in Madrid!

    Pax,

    Brent

  2. Speaking with charity, and as an avid proof-reader, I believe you meant to type “Papua New Guinea”. I look forward to your future posts and keep safe and have a great time at WYD.

  3. I’ve always wanted to fly! I’ve had flying dreams. It’s my fondest wish that in heaven I’ll be granted the joy of flying. But there have been flying saints–I’ve heard of St. Joseph of Cupertino, and a woman saint whose name I forgot, but I didn’t know St. Francis could fly….one can always hope!

  4. This is a really spectacular article. Your explanation that we fear to take the Savior at His word really struck me. Thank you for writing this! Now seriously, let’s see you miraculously fly back from Madrid.

  5. “To the preceding quality is united that which is called agility, by which the body will be freed from the heaviness that now presses it down, and will take on a capability of moving with the utmost ease and swiftness, wherever the soul pleases…” — The Catechism of the Council of Trent, Article XI

    Loved it. Hope to see more like it, Marc! Safe travels in Europe and toward Steubenville.

  6. Great point Marc. I also think it’s worth noting though that there is a difference between what one does through faith in God and what one does through their own ignorance and pride.

  7. THANK YOU! We moderns need this particular message more than almost any other!

    Isn’t it curious that flying dreams are so universal? It’s as if the desire to fly is written into our hearts. In my opinion, all of the biblical charisms (levitation, bi-locating, teleportation, tongues, healing, wisdom, etc) are the smallest tastes of what awaits us in heaven. “Eye has not seen nor ear has heard nor heart conceived…”

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