I venture to say you and I have something in common.
When we were children, I bet at least one birthday candle held the wish “I want to be famous!” It is natural in our environment where we know more about our favorite movie star than we do members of our own family. We want to be known and we want to be loved. Communities of strangers gather in movie theaters just to see the latest film starring their favorite actor, or flock to the closest concert hall to hear their favorite performers. And they cheer and hold their devotion high to show their love for that person.
Certainly, the fact that people are coming together to share that love is not a problem. But as communications have changed, so has out concept of fame. Not long ago, fame meant everyone knew you because you are larger than life on stage and screen. But, now with social media, fame can come for the price of a camera, and your local neighbor becomes a national treasure.
We can strive for so many kinds of fame, so maybe we should be more specific with our birthday wishes. Do we want to be internationally famous? Nationally famous? Youtube famous? Maybe just locally famous would suffice. We would still be able to order a coffee without having our pictures taken or go to the grocery store without fans checking the fiber in our diets.
But, there is one kind of famous that we should really strive for — Heaven Famous! And, I bet you are already on your way, kid!
Heaven famous works the same way as the others. Everyone knows you, they can’t wait for what you do next, and they would love it if you would just take those few minutes to talk to them. And it is easy to do that because all those people are in heaven. And from the best seat in the house, they have watched you glow under the bright light of grace.
Your prayers, your struggles, and everything they have been watching of your life, a connection has happened. That next project you are working on, that night out that shows promise of a new direction in your life. Even the failures. That performance that was not as good as the last one. But, your fans are loyal, and they are looking forward to what you will do next, and they will be there to cheer you on when you step out of the wings, smiling and showing you love back to them.
Heaven famous does take work, though. Prayer and devotion are key. Making yourself present in the eternal lives of the saints. Introducing yourself to them, inviting them to your performances. Inviting Francis of Assisi to the animal shelter where you are going to adopt a rescue dog. Inviting Joseph Cupertino to the Monday morning performance of a final exam that you have spent time preparing for but know you need help along the way. Inviting Dymphna to that scary place where you know you always get anxious. Take time to figure out which saints are getting those VIP tickets and backstage passes to hang out after the show. Even if you are exhausted and just want to have company while you go over everything that happened, they will be happy to be there with you.
And when the lights dim, the projector runs out of film, and the last birthday candle of your life is extinguished, they will greet you with our Lord where you are loved by everyone who has come to know you. Happy that you are coming home after a long performance of joys and conflict. In a place where your desire came true to be one of the in crowd. A place where you are Heaven Famous!