One of the many reasons I love going to Rome is that I believe I can blend in and fake being a “real Italian”. I have the name. I know the language. I’ve walked the city no less than 30 times. I even have a leather jacket from Florence and one or two pairs of pants that I’m pretty sure are beginning to laugh at me when I try to button them. So, it was fitting to be in Rome for Halloween this year and to put on “my costume” for a bit. On one of my strolls, I walked into a store. A woman walked up to me and asked, in English, if I needed help. In Italian, I asked her how she knew I was American. I told her I thought I “looked the part.” Sensing my disappointment, she smiled and asked, “What’s wrong with who you are?” The woman complimented my Italian and said it was difficult for her to tell. Ultimately, she said that my pants were too baggy.
As I continued my walk, I thought about her question and the holiday to be celebrated throughout Italy and the Church the next day – the feast of All Saints. In how I lead others and how I follow God, am I embracing October 31st or November 1st? Am I trying to simply play a part, or am I focused on becoming the fullest representation of who God has called me to be – a saint? If the witness of all those holy men and women wasn’t enough to motivate me to be who God created me uniquely to be, the thought of tighter pants certainly did the trick.