Reflecting on the past 4 years as a priest
On the eve of the start of my 5th year as a priest this Saturday the 15th, I ask myself “Am I being a good servant and disciple of Christ.
I also have become more acutely aware of the blessed opportunity and the many challenges Almighty God has bestowed upon me.
I ponder how well I have done in serving all those who have been made to feel unwelcome and rejected from some Religious denominations and proclaiming to them how GOD LOVES THEM AS HE CREATED THEM.
I pray that I might have inspired them to claim their rightful place within the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church.
With the words “Your are a priest forever like Melchizedek of Old”, a person goes from being a simple follower of Jesus Christ to an individual who is completely committed and responsible to serve God faithfully and proclaim His truth and teachings faithfully to all of His children He sends you.
As a priest, I have been called to be the hands, feet, mouth, heart and human voice of Almighty God here on earth.
I need to be there to give solace and comfort to those in pain. I need to remember always to affirm God’s love, mercy and forgiveness to all His children. I am called to be uplifting and positive toward all even when I do not feel that good myself.
These responsibilities are not limited just to those who are part of the Faith Community you serve but to every child of God that you meet as you go about your daily life.
In a world that appears to be increasingly more self centered and absorbed in the material things of life and less interested in the needs of others or in helping to support the work of the ministries that serve God’s children.
I often feel inadequate, troubled and disturbed because of my limitations and this has sometimes caused me occasionally to be filled with anguish.
My heart becomes heavy when I see and hear of children of God being turned away from worshiping with a faith community and being denied Baptism or God’s gift of the Eucharist because they were born out of wedlock, or the parents are divorced or worse yet, God created them with a same sex orientation.
Sadness fills me when I see dedicated men and women being denied the opportunity to answer the call they hear from God just because they are married or their gender is female.
Why should a person who is dedicated and has the necessary education and training be refused because of their marital state or sexual orientation just as long as they are willing to live their lives in a manner that would not bring shame or dishonor to Almighty God?
The Church had married priests as recently as 1139. In the fourteenth Century a Bishop Pelsgio complained that woman were still being ordained and hearing confessions and in the 1970’s several women were ordained as priests in the Czech Republic to serve the needs of women imprisoned by the Communists. In the 15th century it was estimated that 50% of priests were married. 7 Popes were married and had children into the mid 1400's. 11 Popes were sons of previous popes. Between 1484 and 1585 6 popes had illegitimate children.
Some priests and some of the hierarchy have forgotten their duty and responsibility to God and have done serious damage to the universal church because they ignored their vows and sexually abused children and others that trusted them. The church is having great difficulty healing the wounds that caused. Many good and faithful priests who have lived their vows faithfully have been hurt by the actions of those who failed.
Many of God’s children have become disillusioned because the hierarchy failed to take action against those who committed these heinous crimes.
In accepting God’s call to be His servant on earth a priest needs to put themselves last before the needs of those whom God has sent him to serve.
All the wealth of the world cannot raise a person any higher in the eyes of God than being a good, faithful and humble servant of God to His children sent to be shepherded.
Many people whom God has called to be His servants on earth have attempted to heal the divisions that have separated the Christian church, established through the inspiration of Christ’s teachings and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Among them was a Protestant Brother, Roger of Taize, who found respect and was welcomed into the company of the hierarchy of all religious denominations, including three popes, the patriarchs of the Orthodox churches, Anglican and other denominations all of whom attended his funeral after he was murdered on August 14th 2005, the day before my ordination.
Brother Roger has been called “the male Mother Theresa and St. Francis of the 20th and 21st
centuries.” He was truly a man of God and a good and faithful servant of God. To me, Brother Roger is what I aspire to emulate and a man who should be a model to all priests even though he himself , like St. Francis the seraphic father of our Franciscan order, was never a priest.
To have been called to the priesthood is a tremendous and overwhelming responsibility which I pray daily I am able to live up to.
I find His choice of me to be surprising and heady, filled with many roadblocks to overcome but I am fully willing to accept if it is His will.
I ask God only that He provide me the energy, health, necessary means, tools and courage to accept all He sends me in order for me to serve Him and those He sends my way as He would.
I constantly ask Almighty God to inspire me and guide my every action through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit so that I may bring Him honor and Glory.
I pray constantly that I can make a difference in the lives of those who God sends my way and bring them into a closer relationship with Almighty God.
I ask God to constantly lead me and constantly inspire me to know and do His will.
Please remember me and the work of the mission in your daily prayers and ask God to continue to lead me and guide me in my daily service to Him as I begin the 5th year of my priesthood this Saturday.