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Flip Flop Divas, The President and A Catholic Moment

In the middle of a homily recently, I tossed out a “throw-away” line concerning how Catholic the idea of “manners” are. Priests often get comments about their homilies, usually from one or two people.  This was different.  I got numerous comments over the next several days. Obviously I touched a nerve which is not always a bad thing.

As an example I used the 2005 Northwestern University’s national championship women’s lacrosse team who were invited to meet then President Bush at the White House. A number of the women wore flip flops to the occasion which caused quite a kerfuffle. ESPN commented here.    Another comment from CBS News is here.  I was especially struck by one women’s comment who said, when she was questioned about her choice of attire, that they were “designer flip-flops.” Oh, OK. Thank you, that explains it. How very nice of you.

My thoughts? It’s not about you, or your flip-flops, or your comfort level. I know that women’s shoes can be extremely uncomfortable. So are men’s suits, collared shirts and ties but I know lots of women who comment that women LOVE seeing their boyfriend, husband, partner, etc… in those suits. They look great, sexy, classy. So why wear it guys? For HER! What about the flip-flops, designer or not? You represent your family, your university, your team. You’re thought should be “How do I BEST represent THEM or – at the least – how do I NOT embarrass them or someone to think less about me, my family, my team, my university because of what I wear, said, did, etc…  It’s about putting myself, my interests, my comfort aside and thinking instead about the OTHER person, THEIR, thoughts, THEIR, feelings, THEIR interests.

It’s about “The Cross.”

It’s about sacrificing my own self-interests for the benefit of another. French cuffs, black suits, leather shoes are not comfortable in Philadelphia when the weather gets sunny and north of 75+ degrees. But I wore them this past weekend to an Ordination, a wedding reception, a First Communion reception, a First Mass, a funeral and a priest’s 25th ordination jubilee.  Think I wasn’t “sweatin’ a little” by the end of the day? I’ve been told that “Father cleans up well and looks pretty good in the whole 9-yards.” (Trivia – it takes 9 yards of cloth to make an expensive man’s suit hence the saying). I know that. I was told that by my guests! They appreciated that I dressed up for them. It said that they’re important. They’re important to me, important enough for me to “put on my Sunday best” (remember that phrase?)

It’s called manners and it is SO Catholic.

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