“If I’m going to fall, I don’t want to fall back on anything, except my faith. I want to fall... forward. At least I figure that way I’ll see what I’m about to hit.”
Denzel Washington, Penn Commencement, May 24, 2011 http://www.upenn.edu/almanac/volumes/v57/n34/comm-washington.html
What a great idea. We’re all going to fall, but it takes a saint to fall forward.
Mother Angelica told a great story about saints in her book Mother Angelica’s Answers not Promises.
“Image three persons: a good person, a bad person and a saint. All three fall into a big, juicy mud puddle, which represents sin.
What does the good person do? Well, the good person falls in and thinks it's the very end of the universe. He can't believe he blew it. He looks at the mud all over him and he wonders how many people will notice it. He continues to sit there lamenting over it and feeling sorry for himself. And then, finally, he looks up to God and asks for forgiveness. ''I'm sorry, Lord,' he says. 'I should have know better. I'm the lowest of the low. I hate myself. No punishment is too great for me.' And on and on.
The bad person is equally predictable. He didn't fall into that mud puddle, he dived in head first. He sits there, and he loves it. He wallows in it, pouring the mud all over himself. He enjoys the mud.
But watch the saint now. The saint, remember, is not perfect, but he is holy. He will make mistakes. But his response is what sets him apart. For the saint falls into the mud puddle and instantly stands up, his eyes focused on God, asking for forgiveness immediately with a truly contrite heart. He doesn't dwell on the mistake by wringing his hands or by wondering what others will think of him or by focusing on himself. He turns to God with haste and humility, and he quickly moves on, determined never to make that mistake again.” (1987, p. 55-56).
Mother Angelica called this the habit of repentance. It’s falling forward.
Saint Noel Chabanel is a man who endured a series of falls. He was born in France in 1613 and ordained a priest in 1641. In 1643 he left for Quebec with the dream of becoming a missionary. He was not a great success. Today we honor him as a Jesuit martyr of North America, one of the companions of Jean Brebeuf and Isaac Jogues.
These men inculturated themselves in the lives of the Huron people--except Saint Charbanel, who never really fit in. A man of very delicate taste and sensibilities, he couldn’t adjust to the food and the harsh living conditions. He couldn’t act brave. He was sick a lot. After five long years, he couldn’t communicate simple Indian phrases and never really did learn the language. The Huron people had very little respect for him. Even the children ridiculed his attempts to communicate. After some time of complete failure, he still knelt down before his superiors and vowed to spend the rest of his life as a missionary. He had decided that God wanted him to be a missionary, and so that was what he would do no matter what. He fell a lot, and he fell forward. http://www.wyandot.org/chabanel.htm
Mother Angelica's Story
Denzel Washington’s Commencement speech
http://www.businessinsider.com/successful-people-who-failed-at-first-2015-7/#lt-disney- was-fired-from-the-kansas-city-star-because-his-editor-felt-he-lacked-imagination-and-h ad-no-good-ideas-1
Best Way to Fall Forward
Not everyone gets a trophy. You’re not going to win every time. And you are going to fall sometimes. Check out this video to see how some great athletes dealt with falling.