The Catholic Media Mind who was Kind. [Marshall McLuhan Monday]

Controversial author on subliminal messages Wilson Bryan Key was not a bit subliminal when describing how his friend Marshall McLuhan exercised the supernatural virtue of charity (emphasis my own):

Like many public figures, McLuhan was a magnet for the disturbed, the maladjusted, the disenfranchosed, and the idiosyncratic. They literally swarmed about him, as though he could resolve their dilemmas with a wave of his vocabulary. They intruded cruelly into his time, into his privacy, and into both his personal and professional life. McLuhan’s kindness and sympathy for the distraught was legion. I never saw or heard him turn away anyone who needed kindness, understanding, human sensitivity or simply an ear into which they could pour their perplexities. Even when exhausted or working intensely on a project, he always found the time to deal with troubled individuals, though it cost him dearly, in lost time and energy. I still envy McLuhan his humanity; perhaps, in retrospect, this was even more important than his philosophical insight, though both were inextricably interconnected.

Since I work in full-time ministry, I’ve often felt like that “magnet for the disturbed.” And I’m ashamed to admit that my patience with these individuals often comes from my being in ministry. Mornings, evenings and weekends, I know I fall short.

For all the times we Catholics don’t wear the ‘ministry hat’ we can look to McLuhan as an inspiration: yes, it can be done. We can be modern-day men and women of faith, both intellectually and interpersonally. That truth is what Key realized: McLuhan’s fides et caritas were fruits of his constant source of steady nourishment found in the Catholic Church.


One comment

  1. Oh man, that is such a problem for me too. I definitely understand the “dear cost in time” that those kinds of situations bring. I do try to be open to that though. We should never be so busy that we don’t have time for people in need. You’ve inspired me to be much better the next time that situation comes around.

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