I had a terrific compliment last week. This person didn’t praise me for being extraordinary. She didn’t thank me for being intellectual or handsome or holy or amazing.
She thanked me for being normal.
We are so often attracted to what is weird. We follow the details of the lives of the stars of athletics and the arts. We revel in the eccentricities of celebrities and relish the extraordinary, the unusual and the odd. We long for a dash of entertainment through the remarkable and strange. Even in our religion we snoop around the supernatural, get excited about the eccentric and love to investigate the miraculous and marvelous.
This appetite rarely leads to a higher level of holiness and often leads us into difficult and dangerous byways.
I’m for avoiding the paranormal in favor of the normal.
I’m for extraordinary ordinariness and being supernaturally natural.
Think about a tree. That’s normal. Think about a child. That’s normal. Think about a dog. That’s normal. Think about the weather. That’s normal.
What does the devil hate? Supernatural normalcy. When considering conflict with Satan some people think it is all about crucifixes and holy water and exorcisms and putting on the spiritual armor of God and wading into battle like mortal versions of St Michael the Archangel. No. We best trample down the head of Satan through supernatural normalcy.
What do I mean by ‘supernatural normalcy’? First you have to start by understanding Satan and all his works. Satan has nothing original in his toolkit. He can’t create sin because sin is the absence of grace or the distortion of something good. God made everything and everything he made is good. Evil is therefore nothing positive in itself, but the perversion, destruction and distortion of all that is good.
It follows therefore that Satan loves everything that is perverted, twisted, destroyed and diseased. He can’t do anything good or create anything good. All he can do is twist or attempt to destroy that which is good.
Therefore what does Satan hate?
He hates all that is natural and free and good and wholesome and normal and fine and happy and whole. He hates good Catholic families. He hates ordinary Catholics who work hard, pray hard, laugh hard and who love God, love life, love one another and live life to the full. This ordinary, grace-filled natural life of faith is what he hates with a passion.
He hates it when you sit down and enjoy reading a book that you want to read rather than one you feel you ought to read. He hates it when you spend time laughing with family and friends just because you want to. He hates it when you are being yourself and not pretending or putting on airs and graces to impress people.
These are the simple people who are closest to God. They are not on some great campaign to change the world. They are too busy working with God to change themselves and becoming who they were created to be.
I call it ‘supernatural normalcy’ because these are the saints that fill our pews. These are the people of God. These are the ones who live out their faith best they can in the ordinary ups and downs of life. They try hard. They make mistakes, they go to confession with open hearts. They try to love God and others. They are the blessed ones and the ones who give the blessing. They are truly the children of God. They do not seem to be extraordinary and stupendous. They do not seem to be saints even–but that is because they are humble and hidden. They naturally follow the ‘Little Way’ of St Therese.
I like them very much.
This way of ‘supernatural normalcy’ is the way of the Blessed Virgin. She doesn’t jump out from the pages of the New Testament as some sort of Superwoman or Heroic Saint. That’s because she is ordinary. She if ‘full of grace’ and therefore she seems to be totally and utterly natural and real. She is all that she was created to be and therefore she does not seem to be extraordinary. She is as natural and beautiful as a morning in May. She is as natural and virginal as a virgin forest.
It therefore takes a discerning spirit and a finely tuned spiritual sense to find such souls. They are difficult to find not only because they are humble and hidden, but because they are ‘normal’. If you told them they were holy and that you wanted to sit at their feet they would laugh and tell you they are not holy and that you have made a mistake. They don’t seem extraordinary, and yet for those who have eyes to see they are very extraordinary indeed.
These are the ones who are full of supernatural joy and simplicity.
This is the way of ‘supernatural normalcy’, and if you really want to trample Satan’s head–pray for the grace to be transformed in this way.