Superman, superman, wish I could fly like superman
Superman, superman, want to be like superman
I want to be like superman
Superman, superman, wish I could fly like superman
— The Kinks
Growing up with Superman D.C. Comic books before the advent of any Superman movies there was always the fondness for the incorruptible hero with super powers. Though my atheistic world view was with me even as a young man, I was always attracted to virtue. Though mainly in the virtue of others and not following through with virtue in my own life. Dreaming of having super powers to be able to stop evil, yet not willing to stop the evil in my own life. For me there was always the dichotomy of admiring virtue, but not pursuing if for my self other than brief periods of stoic attempts. Villains with similar powers to Superman did not make me wish for their powers, it was really those powers with virtue that really made me want them.
That is not the object of her work. On the contrary her ideal is to supernaturalize men, to make them like to God. It is of the essence of the Church’s character that she should press on towards that which is better and pursue the best and highest that is to be found in heaven and on earth, that she should move in the unsearchable depths of the divine mystery and therefore love the heroic, the incomprehensible and inconceivable, the wide spaces of infinity. That which was uniquely realized in Christ when the Triune God united a human nature with His divine nature in the unity of His person, that mystery of the raising of man to God is constantly repeated by grace in the life of the individual Christian. Fr. Karl Adam “The Spirit of Catholicism”
That paragraph in the book got me thinking on the word “super” whose origin is from Latin meaning above or beyond. To be supernaturalized men is to live a life of grace. To be docile to the work of the Holy Spirit. To work to limit and remove the obstacles to grace. To let sanctifying grace the vital principle of the supernatural life to build upon nature.
I now realize what drew me to the saints was the same thing that drew me to Superman. That life of virtue beyond human means. Superman drew his powers from what was an alien sun to him. The saints drew what could be loosely termed their power from not an alien sun, but a Son that was not alien to human nature – but united to it from the Incarnation. I admired Superman as a hero for his virtue. The saints demonstrated heroic virtue. Superman has super hearing and can hear the cries of anybody in alarm on the planet and goes to rescue them. The saints also hear the prayers of those crying out in alarm and like “golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” to rescue them by interceding for us with God. The true rescue is not necessarily to be saved from physical death (for the time being), but from moral death. “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” (Luke 9:25)
Superman has his one weakness with Kryptonite and the various forms of it that have been multiplied ins Superman story lines. For us the only thing that can destroy the life of grace within our souls is our own will. Our Kryptonite is sin and takes two forms as venial and mortal. Repeated exposure to Venial Kryptonite opens us up to the deadly rays of Mortal Kryptonite. Our Super Villain is are own will (but not in some dualist and cartoonist way with an Angel and Demons sitting on our shoulder), but “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Co 10:13–21)
But there is one great difference between Superman and the Saints. I will never fly like Superman and be faster than a speeding bullet. Be more powerful than a locomotive or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. But I can be a saint. I can overcome my inner “Lex Luther” and with the help of the life of grace in the life of the Church. I wanted to live the life of virtue as an atheist, but the natural virtues are not enough. Thankfully I don’t have to depend on my own abilities sorely lacking as they are “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) Thus I look forward to Lent not for what I avoid, but for what I will gain. So please pray for me as I pray for you.
OH! What “I” would give for an Eternal Moment with Good Old Dad!
Who said that?
Happy “Lent” Jeff
You will move actually faster than superman in the afterlife. Go to the supplement of the Summa Theologica at newadvent and to one of the last topics and the subtopic “gility”:
Hence others with greater probability hold that a glorified body moves in time, but that this time is so short as to be imperceptible; and that nevertheless one glorified body can pass through the same space in less time than another, because there is no limit to the divisibility of time, no matter how short a space we may take.”
and…” Wisdom 3:7): “(The just) shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds”
that’s AGILITY not gility…correction