Saturday night alone is always dangerous. Ted is away, the kids are at grandma’s and I should be out partying in Vegas like you and Dave. Despite the list of household chores I planned to attack this evening, I find myself torn between Lenten meditations, re-living our trip through James Martin’s “Jesus – A Pilgrimage” and the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, featuring a cover story on Outlander.
I know you are not an Outlander fan, but really how many swoon-worthy Catholic characters do we have in literature today? I urge you to think again. Not only is Jamie Fraser, played flawlessly by Sam Heughan, a swashbuckling Scottish outlaw, he is devoted to his faith. He also has a lot of uncles, one of whom is the Abbott of a monastery in coastal France and another who is a wine merchant in Paris. How perfect is that for me? Retreats and wine tastings! Let me just say that if I were being tempted in the desert for 40 days, wealth, money, power and position wouldn’t do it for me. Offer me Sam Heughan in a kilt as Jamie Fraser? All bets would probably be off.
There really isn’t a sin of lust here – I would just like to sit and look at Sam, maybe hear him say “Sassenach” every once in a while. I think that may make me even creepier. And that, oddly enough, reminded me of Eucharistic Adoration. Bear with me here. If I can stare with complete focus and attention at Sam Heughan for 60 minutes, I should easily be able to give that and more to God.
And it’s even in the books, whose main characters, Claire and Jamie, are both Catholic. Although the producers cut it out of season one in the TV series, a major part of the resolution in the first novel is Claire’s recovery from trauma by discovering the peace of Eucharistic Adoration, a practice which she continues for a number of years. Her connection with God in the Eucharist sustains her through a twenty year separation from Jamie. Oh, Outlander, you have unsuspected depth! It is a shame we don’t get to see the exquisite Catriona Balfe, who plays Claire, kneeling in meditation before the presence of Christ. I blame Starz for not increasing my adoration attendance.
You might not make the immediate connection, but admiring one of God’s finest creations, Sam Heughan (p.30, EW), reminded me of the passage in Fr. Martin’s book where he talks about how charismatic Jesus must have been. Imagine the personal magnetism of someone who could persuade four fishermen to literally drop their nets, leave their families and follow Him – immediately. Martin uses an analogy with present day holy figures, such as Mother Teresa or Pope Francis, to make his point. Awesomely inspiring people, but I’m probably not dropping my net any time soon. However, if I imagine Jesus as more irresistible than Sam Heughan, of course in a completely holy way, I get it. Net? What net? I think whatever tool we can use to understand passion for God is a good one, if we use it the right way. Even if it wears plaid.
BTW, Season 2 of Outlander premiers April 9. There are even nuns with dogs in this season. Sweet!