Term Paper: Father Joe, Spirituality, and the Power

Pages: 4 (1298 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion  ·  Buy This Paper

Father Joe, Spirituality, And the Power of Prayer

Tony Hendra was -- and is a Catholic, a satirist, and a comedian of dubious morals and values. After graduating from Cambridge University, the British-born Hendra made his life and living, his bread and butter, through the use of irony or 'sending up' or making fun of, the moral and spiritual values of others. What was meaningful to others he mocked -- until Father Joe returned as a significant, rather than a merely marginal part of the author's life.

Father Joe provided the Moral and Spiritual Audacity, to use the words of his title of Abraham Joshua Herschel and Susannah Herschel that enabled Tony Hendra to absolve Hendra of the life of spiritual emptiness he had led since graduating university. Even at the height of his material, social, and artistic success, Hendra describes himself as feeling morally adrift. When he asks for spiritual guidance Father Joe responds not with rejection or with a dismissal of his concerns. Rather, the father says he had been waiting for a long time for Hendra's approach, and had been feeling concerned that Hendra had lost the young man he once was, in the pressures of the modern day life of a comedian.

Thus Hendra's spiritual savior intervened. However, Hendra makes it clear that religion is not something that is 'found' quickly, at least not in his Catholic context, by a sudden intervention of grace. He had been acquainted with Father Joe since he was fourteen. His spiritual and personal life, although checkered and marked by leaving and returning from the church's expansive fold at various points in his existence, thus had continuity to it as well as was structured along a series of moral conflicts within Hendra's self, with secular authorities such as school and British culture, and also spiritual conflicts as defined by Father Joe.

Hendra first met father Joe at the age of fourteen. His first spiritual crisis came not with the mere awakenings of adolescent sexuality, as it does for most boys his age -- Hendra was already having an affair with a married woman. However, even long before that, he was in sway to "demon of petty crime, a juvenile delinquent" delightfully "playing right into the stereotype of the perfidious Irish Catholic," much to the horror of the 'good' Church of England British men and women who surrounded him. (Hendra, 30) the husband of the woman with whom the young Hendra was having an affair, however, was a pious Catholic congregant, and a believer in the power of salvation. He took Hendra to Father Joe's congregation.

The husband decided that young boy needed, not punishment at the hands of a cuckolded and angry husband such as himself, but the guidance someone who could give him salvation for the rest of his life and turn him away from a potentially criminal past. This is why, Hendra learned later, the husband immediately took the boy Hendra to the one man who he believed could save the young man's soul, that of Father Joe. Also, the husband wished not to act out of the sin of wrath. Tony Hendra found himself at first adrift, then at home, in Joe's sphere, on the remote Scottish Isle of Wight, with little to do other than to contemplate the wrongness of his actions.

In fact, under Joe's influence, Hendra decided to embark upon a theological path at first. He decided initially to embark upon a career as a monk. Joe believed that Hendra -- it turns out, believed correctly -- did not have a calling to that vocation. Joe instead steered Tony to an academic career. At Cambridge, Hendra discovered comedy, eventually going on to become the editor of the National Lampoon in America. He did not lose his faith or contact with the father, but he did lose his sense of spiritual direction. He was in… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Father Joe, Spirituality, and the Power.  (2004, December 13).  Retrieved July 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/father-joe-spirituality-power/1178727

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"Father Joe, Spirituality, and the Power."  Essaytown.com.  December 13, 2004.  Accessed July 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/father-joe-spirituality-power/1178727.