During my life I been fortunate to have the opportunity to meet and interact with a number of men with the indelible mark of Holy Orders. I can honestly state, the vast majority are hard working, honest men striving for holiness. Some of whom, I love and appreciate as I would a member of my own family.
The current scandal of sexual impropriety, abuse and misuse of power surrounding the Church and the subsequent cover-up is a deep wound for all of us. During the last few weeks I have come to understand that this wound is much more profound for those humble priests that serve Christ each day by performing the sacraments and shepherding her people. Listen to this beautiful homily in order to come to the same understanding. https://youtu.be/nCREdYn9inI
With this scandal boiling around us like overdone pasta ready to overflow its pot, we must remember the humanity and service of the vast majority of priests who only want to serve God.
As a lay person striving for holiness and often failing, I find great joy and peace in the humanity of these men. They struggle with all the same sins each of us do on any given day. In addition, they struggle with the sins of the people they serve each day. Most lift our crosses throughout the day in private prayer, the liturgy of the hours and celebrating holy Mass 365 days a year.
Instead of attacking the humanity of these men, let’s praise God for it.
Recently, I had a conversation with a young priest on the first anniversary of his ordination. In passing, he mentioned he had heard over 3,000 confessions during the past year. For most of us that would have been a burden which would cause us to become cynical, if not morbidly depressed. Not this young man. He found great joy in bringing the forgiveness of Christ to so many souls in the last year. Each time I find myself in his presence I am humbled by his love and patience for everyone with whom he interacts. I also find comfort in the humanity that comes out in his humor, fears, joys and weariness.
I often wonder if the average lay person understands that most of our priests do not rest. Yes, most get one day off a week. Yet, their day off is not like a day off for each of us. They receive phone calls throughout the day, visit the sick, pray, and are on call no matter where they are or what they are doing. Your typical priest is responsible for the budget and stewardship of their parish, says Mass daily, gets calls at 2:00 am for a dying parishioner many nights a month, counsels struggling parishioners throughout the day, prepare homilies each day, conducts weddings each weekend and says several Masses every weekend of the year while most of us are resting. Most importantly, they are responsible to help their parish become saints. No small task in today’s demanding world.
It has been a personal blessing to come to know these many heroic men by having breakfasts, lunch and dinner with them, watching them kick a ball around with my children, play board games, tell hilarious and awful jokes. I have witnessed their excitement when they catch a fish and sorrow at the loss of a friend. I hear them tell of going to confession every week and the struggles of their own crosses. If we open our eyes, they are great witnesses to our own humanity.
I love Our Holy priests. They are our spiritual fathers and our brothers in Christ.
Take the time to do something positive for your priest.
• Cook him a home cooked meal.
• Take him fishing.
• Bring him to a sporting event.
• Tell him thank you.
• Volunteer to help at your parish.
• Write him a handwritten note telling him what you appreciate about him.
• Find out his favorite dessert and bake it or buy it for him.
• Defend him when others denigrate him.
• Stop broad, generalized insults of priests and bishops.
As a parting thought I leave you with this:
Christ gave us the sacrament of Holy Orders. Without our priests we will not have the Eucharist or any of the sacraments.
Praise God for our many holy priests.
JMJ, pray for us.
God is good,