Monday, February 8, 2010

Because It’s OK for Catholics to Have Fun, and Even Place a Friendly Bet

Until I became a Catholic I never went to a Super Bowl party. Last night, Catholic friends invited me to two. Bob and Deb invited the Beverly CL crowd to their place, and I would have happily gone there. But Ferde had been making chili since Wednesday, and he sealed the deal by accepting a bet on the game.

A footnote about my pre-Catholic Super Bowl experience. I’m not the misanthrope that makes me sound. Until a few years ago, Katie and I and our daughters all performed together in Sunday afternoon performances of a world-famous magic show, after which we were always exhausted and wanted only to get home and crash in front of our own tube. Our theatre friends came to our place, if they weren’t exhausted too.

But back to last night’s party. It was a friendly crowd packed into Ferde and Heidi’s cozy TV room. Their daughters, Jenean and Elaine, were there, along with Marty (whom Ferde is sponsoring in RCIA), Jonathan, and myself. (Katie was in New Hampshire helping her sister move into a new home.) Father Barnes even put in an appearance at the party, though he’s the exhausted one nowadays Sundays at six, and he begged off early, after wings and a beer. When the tide of the game began turning about 8 pm, I got a text message from the padre: “Is Ferde still taking bets?” When I texted that Ferde wanted to know “your proposition,” Father sent back a sermonette that I’m still pondering: “Beware of trees with $50 bills hanging off of them.” That forestalled negotiations.

Frank’s post today refers to four virtues: mercy, pity, peace, and love. Our reading in CS Lewis this week refers to the four Cardinal Virtues: prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude. These four were mostly on display at Ferde’s last night, though once Father Barnes was gone, temperance got a run for its money. It took fortitude to eat all of the tasty foods Ferde and Heidi had prepared (I had to eat three brownies as an act of charity); and justice was served because my side bet proved prudent. I had the Saints, along with a generous spread of seven points. The Saints won by fourteen.

I’ve never gone wrong taking the saints.