“Take courage, get up, He’s calling you.”
Joan Chittister, OSB
24 October 2015
As I prepared for this anniversary and this presentation, three pieces of wisdom literature kept repeating themselves in my ears.
The first was the words of the philosopher Camus who writes, “The saints of our time are those who refuse to be either its executioners or its victims.”
The second is from John Dryden who writes, “Good people starve for want of impudence.”
And the third is from a story I heard last St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland about a duck who waddled into a public house, flew up on a bar stool, looked at the publican behind the bar and said, “You got any grapes?” The publican said, “Are you nuts? This is a pub, not a grocery’s store. I don’t sell grapes, I sell beer! Get outta here.” So the duck left.
But the next day the bar door swung open, the duck waddled across the floor, flew up on the bar stool, looked at the publican and said, “You got any grapes?” The publican said, “You dumb duck. I told you yesterday, I don’t have grapes. Now get outta here and don’t come back.”
So the next day the bar door swung open, the duck flew in, waddled across the floor, flew up on the bar stool, looked at the publican and said, “You got any grapes?” By this time, the publican was furious! He yelled, “Listen, duck, if you come in here again asking for grapes, I’m gonna nail your beak to the bar. Now get out of here, and stay out!”
So the next day, the door banged open, the duck waddled in, flew up on the bar stool, looked the publican in the eye and said, “You got any nails?” The publican was beside himself; “No,” he yelled,” I do not have any nails!” So the duck said, “You got any grapes?”
There it is, I thought to myself, in the end the Christian life is about three things: It’s about being holy, it’s about being bold and, just as important, it’s about being persistent.
- The start of Sr Joan Chittisters address to the 50th NCR anniversary conference on 24 October 2015