March 20, 2009

The Joyful Catholic / Rick Hermann

The story of the son who broke his mother’s heart

Rick HermannThat guy was a real troublemaker.

When he broke his mother’s heart, it was the saddest thing I’ve ever seen.

He caused a lot of problems, I’ll tell you. Not surprising, if you ask me, since there were dark rumors that his real father was unknown so he was an illegitimate kid.

Anyway, the punk showed his true colors early when he ran away from home. His mother and stepfather were frantic.

Turns out he had walked into a nearby church and started a huge argument. Can you believe that? When his parents came to retrieve him, he scoffed at them. A bad attitude, just like a juvenile delinquent, if you ask me.

Then he went through a quiet phase for a while, helping his stepfather in his woodworking business. Everyone thought he was turning into a decent guy.

But then one day he disappeared again and turned up with his cousin, a homeless bum who lived out in the country. Since his cousin was half crazy, everyone knew trouble was afoot. That’s when he really turned bad.

He began hanging out with the worst people in town, including prostitutes and crooked financiers, low-life individuals of questionable reputation and invalids with incurable diseases. For some perverse reason, he sought out the worst outcasts in society and reveled in their repulsive company.

Gradually, his flunkies became a dangerous gang. He started performing cult rites, including satanic spirit worship and superstitious exorcisms. Soon there were dark rumors of cannibalism and human sacrifice, ritualistic ceremonies involving the consumption of human blood, and occult practices too outrageous for me to mention.

We know he struggled with personal demons because he spoke often of hearing voices and meeting devils. He even claimed supernatural power by invoking other-worldly spirits.

Once he went mad with rage, violently assaulting a group of ordinary people in a church and physically throwing them out.

Soon the respectable members of society wanted nothing to do with him. Can you blame them?

In my opinion, he was narcissistic, manic-depressive, antisocial, pathological, psychotic, schizophrenic and utterly out of touch with reality. Some believe he had a messiah complex with delusions of grandeur. He must have been full of sorrow because he acted as if he had a death wish.

Well, the police finally caught up with him. One of his hooligans claimed a cash reward and turned him in.

Near the end, he cut off all ties with his family and publicly rebuked his mother. You could see that really broke her heart. She was crying, “I can’t live without him.”

On his court date, he refused repeated opportunities to maintain his innocence so, of course, he was sentenced for his nefarious crimes.

Popular opinion probably helped convict him as the public outcry over the heinousness of his crimes reached a fever pitch.

In any case, as a testament to the rightness of his sentence, the bloodthirsty crowd went wild with delight and created a near-riot, chanting, “Execute him, execute him!”

It sends a cold chill up my spine just thinking about it. I can’t say I blame them, given the amount of trouble he caused during his short and miserable life.

Unfortunately, they botched the execution, and it took awhile to put him out of his misery. Anyway, it’s a darn shame, but what did he expect after causing all that trouble? He caused division and controversy everywhere he went.

Well, that’s all I’ve got to say. I’ve had too much to drink and I’ve got to hurry home to the wife. Mrs. Pilate will wonder where I’ve been, and the weather has been getting steadily worse all afternoon. In fact, I’ve never seen it so dark …

(Rick Hermann of St. Louis is a Catholic author and career coach. His e-mail address is

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