This is the third episode of an ongoing series. For the previous episode, click here.
Fr. Bill McConville is a formidable man. Intellectually, he is a well-read scholar that can speak intelligently on everything from 17th century literature to medieval philosophy to modern world history. Professionally, his resumé is as solid as it gets, having lectured and taught at many distinguished schools before serving as a president of a university. Socially, he speaks with a powerful voice and tremendous confidence, attracting the company and respect of a wide array of people. And of course, physically, he is not exactly the average 70-year old, still training heavily and toning his body to peak condition.
In many ways, as even he would put it himself, he has lived a privileged life. From an early age, he was simply good at things and people wanted to be around him. Success by association.
And yet, no one knows more than him how flawed he truly is and how much he needs Jesus in his life. Despite all appearances of perfection—including what can be considered a fairly healthy ego—what has impressed me most in the last year living with Fr. Bill is not what he can do, it’s his willingness to openly share what he can’t. Of all the friars I’ve lived with over the past six years, I have not met a friar willing to be as vulnerable with the community and share who he truly is. At 70 years old—a lifetime behind him with more accomplishments to shake a stick at—he is a man continuing to battle himself in this life of conversion.
For me, that’s an essential piece of what it means to live A Friar Life. Called to humility before our Lord, there is no room to rest on our laurels and expect to be revered because of what we’ve done: our journey of living as Christ in the world is never complete.
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