A Fool for Christ

by Fr. David May

Joe Hogan would hide the deepest part of himself. If you were astute, you saw it, but mainly it was between him and Christ.

I thought that Joe was really a fool for Christ in the classic sense of the word, and he had an Irish-American way of doing it, which put you off—which would even get a rise out of you, which he was very good at.

And that would hide even further his secret love for Christ. He wrote about this love, but you never saw it unless God gave you a little glimpse.

Here are a few quotes from Catherine Doherty’s book, Urodivoi: Holy Fools, which I think describe Joe quite well.

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“Holy fools live out the folly of the cross, literally, and are indifferent to human respect and judgements. They freely embrace an exterior form of folly and eccentricity, abandoning normal prudence and foresight.”*

“Holy foolishness is a genuine calling from God. The fool can reach people where other forms of holiness, such a good teaching, cannot.

“Holy fools are often playful and joking, but always for the spiritual benefit of others. The medieval fool or court jester could tell the king bitter truths about himself which would be unacceptable from others. . . .

“Holy fools often associate with the poor and outcasts and become one with them; they are icons of Christ. They remain strangers in the place where they live, and their personalities remain unknown or hidden.”

*From the art calendar, Icons and Holiness, (St. Paul Media Productions UK, Middle Green, Slough, England) 1992

Urodivoi, (2001), pp. 84-85, available from MH Publications