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There was a Benedictine, a Franciscan and a Jesuit… 6 March 2010

Posted by Dr Moose in Faith, Humour.

An elederly priest friend sent me this, as part of a little news update.

There’s the story of a Benedictine, a Franciscan and a Jesuit saying the evening office together in church. The lights went out and left them in darkness. The Benedictine went on saying the office because he knew it off by heart; the Franciscan thanked God for the gift of darkness and the Jesuit went out and mended the fuse.

He then contrasted his response, other than laughter, in the past, about which was the “best” response, with the present.

So, as far as you are concerned which one gave the best response, in fact, in what order would you rate them… and why?



1. hobbitvicar - 6 March 2010

I think if I’m honest my gut feeling is that I fear becoming the Benedictine – so habituated to the same patterns that it doesn’t even make a difference if the lights go out, I secretly wish I was the Franciscan – with a spirituality so deep that any circumstance can be turned to worship, and most of the time I’m the Jesuit. And I can’t quite kick the guilt that comes with knowing that the Jesuit’s response is the one that requires no spiritual input whatsoever – it’s just what anyone would do when the lights go out.

2. Deb C - 6 March 2010

I think they’re all good but actually the Jesuit is best, because it’s a situation that could be fixed without much complication. The others have good ways of responding to circumstances which you can’t change, but when you can change something, you should.. and I don’t think what he did is any less spiritual.

3. Carys - 6 March 2010

If it’s a fuse that’s gone, the Jesuit’s response is fine, but if it’s a powercut (i.e. a problem at the substation or with the powerlines) it’s useless.

Carrying on has merits — the nearest I’ve known was a powercut during a daylight service. It happened during a hymn so the organ (electric blower cut out), choir switched to harmony (it was a first verse) and we carried on.

4. Chris - 7 March 2010

They’re all good responses and as the joke is designed, relevant in time order. The first finishes the task they are doing despite the shock, the second deals with the shock on an emotional level and the third resolves the situation.

Ideally a person will have all three responses within their character. But being human we are prone to failure and so while we can perhaps imagine doing it, we may be slow to action. Biases, fears and thoughts can keep us from making dynamic choices. The story is useful in reminding us of we can choose to respond to life and its random shocks. By taking control of the situation we can overcome the darkness.

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