Consider, if you will, that fine
specimen of hardy masculinity, the fireman. Here is the man who rescues
kittens from trees, exemplifying public service. He rushes to fires and
there exhibits his courage in battling the flames. Sirens roaring, he
dashes to the aid of the heart attack victim, oozing a professional compassion.
Macho, it seems, has returned to
fashion. A man of dirt and danger, skilled in things dangerous, he is our
common example of things masculine. Huge waiting lines form for just a
few open positions as fireman.
Have you ever asked yourself why
this is so? Like the Lone Ranger, the fireman is one who rides to the
rescue, a hero—a real man. As the old Westerns had it, the girls all bat
their eyes at him and say, “My hero!”
Consider, then, the plight of his
counterpart, the fire marshal. No glistening fire truck, just a car going
from place to place. He never rescues kittens; he hands out
tickets. He appears to be a functionary, a bureaucrat—a nuisance.
One reason is that he seems to be
such a perfectionist. He doesn’t want some of the oily rags in the sealed
container; he wants all of them there. Flammable liquids? Store
them in approved containers, in an approved place, in an approved way, or get
an approved ticket. He’s a pain.
But let me ask you: which
of the two saves more lives? We may not be able to count them exactly,
but the fire marshal has much the greater effect on life and death than the
Communion is like the fire
marshal. Prevention of sin is its aim, for it is much better to prevent
sin than to need repentance. But if it is not prevented, it can be
corrected while it is still trivial. How? Examine yourself, as the
Scripture commands. Take heed of your temptations, and bring them to the
Cross. Take heed of your “little” sins, and bring them to the
Cross, asking His forgiveness. Self-examination at Communion is that
which keeps us away from sin.
Communion—the great prevention of
fires—the fires of Hell.