Friday, August 31, 2012

Lino Rulli - On Being a Sinner

Dear Theophilus,

It usually takes me a few weeks to write about a book I’ve read, so it says a lot about Lino Rulli’s Sinner that I feel compelled to write about it the day I turned the last page.

I think I enjoyed Sinner so much because I could identify so closely with Rulli’s experiences. You only need to change Italian for French-Canadian and I think I could almost step right into Rulli’s life. OK, maybe my dad didn’t leave his job-for-life career to become an organ-grinder, he went into car sales and real estate instead. But with only a couple of years separating us, by the end of the book I felt like I could have been one of the many friends that Lino grew up with.

Another aspect of The Catholic Guy’s book that makes it easy to identify with is that Rulli makes no excuses for being human. He knows the Catholic standard is a high one, if not impossible, but if we all make an attempt to live by it and acknowledge our failings, the world will be a better place. Rulli puts his failings into a plain language that every Catholic guy can understand, helping us to recognize that it’s OK to have human failings, so long as we turn back to God in search of forgiveness.

Sinner is full on lines that have the reader thinking to themselves: “Hey! That’s me! I’m a sinner too, and if Lino believes that God can forgive him, then I guess I will be forgiven too; just so long as I don’t take that forgiveness for granted.” Some of my favourites include:

Lots of people put their failures in the not-god’s-plan category instead of the I-suck-at-that category.

When I think of God as a loving parent, that’s when I realize what a jerk I can be. And what a disappointment. And how sorry I really am. So I get up, shake the dust off, and try again.

To be honest, I’d rather not ever go to confession again. But that would mean I’m done with sinning. So in other words, I’ll be going to confession until I die.

In truth, being Christlike is scary.

I fought, I struggled, and I won – and I didn’t give into temptation. Not exactly on my way to canonization, but I’m always grateful to god when I don’t fall.

I’m sure you get the point… there’s one good line that brings Rulli’s experiences into a Catholic perspective towards the end of each chapter. The best part is that he does it in a style that is down-to-earth and absolutely hilarious.

Although Sinner is all about Lino Rulli’s life, it isn’t.  Rulli finishes his collection of memoires reminiscing about winning his first Emmy Award and the prayer he said the next morning:

I’m a sinner, God. I don’t deserve anything you’ve given me. I’m sorry for all the times I’ve failed you, and all the times it’s been about me instead of you. But I’m just grateful you’ve forgiven me. I’m grateful you love me. And please give me the will to keep fighting. I know that stupid Emmy shouldn’t mean anything to me, but it means I did a good job. It means my peers said, “Well done, Lino.”

As a catholic guy and a sinner, I hope I can have the courage to say the same prayer.

As for the book Sinner: Well done, Lino.

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