Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fraternity in Motion?!



Che succede?!

As you can see, after almost 800 years, we're still kickin'--sometimes quite literally-- as this leader from the Italian comedy series, "Benedetti al Signore"/ "Praise the Lord!" would seem to indicate. (NOTE: These are real actors, not real friars!)

In Spring, 2004, Italy’s TV Channel 5 launched an hilarious new situation comedy with, believe it or not, two Franciscan ‘friars’ as its main protagonists. Benedetti al Signore/ Praise the Lord! features two improbable actors playing two improbable friars as they confront any number of issues affecting people in the world today. Fra Giaccomo (Ezio Greggio), portrays a newly-arrived novice, although he’s well over the age of 40. A man of the world with a lifetime of experience and a rather unclear past, he is quick to react and respond to situations. On the other hand, Fra Martino (Enzo Iacchetti), his relatively innocent and na├»vesidekick and foil, is described as a “natural vocation” who has “always lived in the convent (friary)”.

As you can imagine, the story line takes off from there, with this fraternal odd couple (street smarts vs. heart of gold) get caught up in an ongoing web of misadventure and madcap mayhem. Its producers assure us that, in addition to its humorous aspects,though, the series also deals with a number of “typically real-life social and moral situations” confronted by people in contemporary Italian society.

I can’t vouch for that personally, since the series is not available in the United States. But the leader (above) certainly adds a little, um-- zest!-- to traditional stereotypes. It sure beats the old cookie jar/ Friar Tuck image, don't it.

What exactly does this have to do with vocational discernment? Everything! You don’t absolutely have to have a sense of humor to be a good friar-- but it certainly helps. A lot! Especially if you don't take yourself too seriously and can let the joy and warmth of our loving God shine through.