August 1st is National Spider-Man Day. For 60 years, we were marveled and left in awe of Marvel's geeky and witty web-slinger. Like many superheroes that we enjoy from our childhood, Spider-Man can teach us so much about our faith journey. Likewise, he is a flawed human being as we are. Here are five lessons Spider-Man has given us.
1. "With great power, comes great responsibility"
Spider-Man is reminded by his beloved uncle of this phrase. This phrase has so much to teach us on our faith journey. Like Spider-Man, we are responsible for our actions. This phrase teaches us to understand that our actions can have consequences, good and bad. It also reminds us to be responsible for our actions. With our faith, we are called to live a virtuous life.
2. Have a Sense of Humor
For Spider-Man to overcome stress, whether he is battling his notorious villains and petty crooks, or as Peter Parker working as a photographer for the Daily Bugle, he uses some quick liners to overcome the stress and demands of everyday life. Though some of his allies would think he is annoying he wants us to not get stressed out. Laughter is the best medicine. Even Mother Angelica reminds us to don’t forget to laugh.
3. It’s Okay to Ask for Help
Spider-Man may have been a loner throughout the comics. However, there were times that he had to team up with other superheroes like Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Black Cat, and many others from the Marvel Universe to accomplish his objective. He even sought wisdom from his Aunt May, Robbie from the Daily Bugle, and his love, Mary Jane Watson. For us, there will be times that we have to seek help in our spiritual journey, and it can be taught in two ways. Asking for help teaches us humility. There will be times that we don’t have all the answers, or it helps that we’re willing to learn and grow. One way to do this is to seek a spiritual director who can help us properly discern our vocation, job decisions, or how to grow spiritually. Seeking spiritual direction even helps us fill the missing void in achieving our growth in holiness. For us, we are never alone in our faith journey. In addition to spiritual directors, we must surround ourselves with those who are on the same faith journey as us.
4. Help Everyone
The passage of the Good Samaritan is not just a reminder to help our family and friends. It also can teach us to help those who have ridiculed or hurt us because of our devout faith. There were times Spider-Man had to help his enemies. In the third Tobey Maguire movie, his best friend Harry, who becomes the Green Goblin, helps Spider-Man defeat Sandman and Venom to rescue Mary Jane Watson. Moreover, there were times he had to team up with one of his adversaries to defeat the main antagonist. In the Secret Wars storyline, soon to be a movie, Spider-Man had to team up with Lizard to defeat Dr. Doom. Lizard, also known as Dr. Curt Connors, is Peter Parker’s science professor. Just as Curt Connors helps Peter achieve his academic potential, we too must help others who are in need from our family to the homeless beggar on the streets and everyone in between. Don’t be afraid to help others.
5. Always Do the Right Thing/Learn from Your Failures
Failure is inevitable for all of us. From his first issue to now, Spider-Man teaches us about what happens when we do the wrong thing. After being bitten by a radioactive spider, Spider-Man becomes a celebrity. Spider-Man allowed a thief to escape. Unfortunately, that same thief would kill his beloved Uncle Ben. In turn, he had to stop the thief. This teaches us that when temptations are encroaching on us, we must be ready to stop ourselves from sinning and choose virtue.
When it came to losses and failures, Spider-Man had many lessons for us. He lost friends and loved ones, yet he each one came with a lesson. We too can learn from our losses such as a breakup, broken friendship, loved one’s death, job loss, or when we don’t get accepted. Through all the adversity that will be thrown at us, we must learn from it, move on, and grow stronger.