Saturday, November 17, 2018

I Am Michael Scott

My back straightened and I jerked my eyes back towards the pulpit.

"Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation." (Mk 12:38-40)

I had been struggling to focus during this Mass, for it was a Saturday evening, and my mind was a bundle of chaos as I thought about all of the projects I needed to finish up at home. Yet, hearing these words of Christ as recorded in the Gospel, my mind quieted, centering on one painful thought: 

I am a scribe.

I fidgeted, uncomfortable with this realization. I may not actually be a scribe, but how many times have I paraded around, looking to boost my own ego? How many times have I acted in a self-serving way like the scribes whom Jesus condemns? 

Just a few days ago, these thoughts crossed my mind again. My baby was having a restless night, and I flopped onto the couch as he eagerly suckled. After spending a moment in silent prayer, I began watching The Office through bleary eyes. It had been a long day of potty training the toddler, and I grinned (and cringed) as I watched the interactions of the Dunder Mifflin employees. And then, suddenly, the horrifying thought came flying at me: 

I am Michael Scott. 

Just as I saw myself in the actions of the scribe, I began to notice myself in many of the actions of the paper company's regional manager. How many times have I, like Michael, stuck my foot in my mouth and been incredibly awkward and/or inappropriate in social situations? How many times have I tried to make myself the center of attention? How many times have I, like Michael on his birthday, ignored the hardships of others because it interferes with my sense of fun and happiness? 

Whether I'm shuddering as Michael rambles his way through a business presentation or grimacing as he tries to avoid making tough decisions, I scarily can relate to Michael Scott more than I would like. And even though he cares about his employees and has a deep desire for parenthood, I don't really want to be like him. But, here I am. Like Michael Scott, I have many failings. I have many weaknesses. My life, in many ways, does not reflect my desire for God as it should. I need to work out my salvation "with fear and trembling" (Phil 2:12) and I desperately need God's grace.

In the month of November, we've been particularly praying for the souls of those who have died. There's been a lot of talk in Catholic circles about memento mori-reflecting on our own mortality. 

Remembering that we will die (and that we may die anytime) should change how we live. There was a time when I did a small examination of conscience each day, and it was really good to reflect and see where I turned away from God. I could make solid resolutions to change, to do better the next day.  This was a really good, extremely fruitful practice, and I have decided that I'm going to start doing it again (because it would be optimal to examine my conscience normally, and not just when I watch The Office or go to Confession). 

The liturgical year is coming to a close soon, and with the season of Advent that begins the new year, we will reflect on Christ's coming at Christmas and on his Second Coming. This is an excellent time to really reflect on our lives, repent of our sins, and throw ourselves into God's arms. 

I am filled with gratitude for God's love and mercy. 
I am filled with gratitude for the Communion of Saints, who intercede for each other.
I am filled with gratitude for Purgatory, where my soul will be purified and cleansed after death so that I may contemplate God in Heaven. 
I am filled with gratitude that, though I may be like Michael Scott when he's at his worst, I can repent and be redeemed in Christ. 

Blessed be God, in his angels, and in his saints. 


  1. ❤️ The Office. I had a similar moment when I was reading Frog and Toad and had a blinding realization that I am Toad (the grumpy one). I’ve never been consistent with a daily Examen (probably because I am afraid of the change and growth it would bring.). Hang in there!

    1. Thanks! You too-I'm thinking I will make a consistent effort to do a daily Examen during Advent, and hopefully I can continue it after that on a more regular basis. It is neat that you had a similar experience when reading Frog & Toad-there are so many times when I find myself getting wake-up calls when reading my toddler stories!

  2. It's so important to be able to reflect on our own characters and truly ask whether we're walking in the right direction of becoming ever more like Christ. Because we get caught up in the day-to-day tasks and in our own natures...the little 'wake-up calls' of seeing glimpses of our own selves in a character that we know is in the wrong...those are important to be aware of!