When Sister Philip Neri asked us which saints’ names we wanted to take for Confirmation, I hesitated a bit in calling out Justin when all the other boys had chosen simply John or William or Stephen, but I had found the feast of Saint Justin on my birthday in our Catholic calendar, and it sounded mellifluous following Michael Dennis to my thirteen year old ears. Odd, how later my Lives of the Saints told me I was born on the day Little Bennet was celebrated, and that the great apologist was now to be remembered on June first, a month and a half later. So, a mistake, and another thing--we all thought the visiting bishop was going to smack our faces hard when he accepted us into the Army of Christ. We related tales of older brothers coming away with bruises, and in fact, Billy Monahan wet his pants during the pre-communion, but what a disappointment, after girding ourselves for the big one, when his Excellency merely tapped us on the cheek. Shortly afterward, I fell away from attendance at regular Sunday services perhaps because I had lost some of the fear. In relation to my faith, however, the scariest thing that occurred was years later, on the long lonely subway ride late at night, returning from visiting my mother in Brooklyn, when a born again, plain-faced little blond seated opposite, told me with great conviction, “Jesus saves, you know,” followed by a spiel that lasted forty-five minutes without a Word of lie, and I honestly believed he looked like his name might be Justin.
© Michael D. Brown 2013
Originally posted at 6S Social Network