Thursday, April 19, 2007

Proud of our priests

Homiletic and Pastoral Review, a magazine primarly for clergy from Ignatius Press, has for over twenty years run a regular feature called "My Favorite Priest," which is meant to provide inspiring witness to the wonderful work done by so many good and faithful priests. It is especially meaningful these days when the Church and the priesthood are under such intense attack, both from without and within. The editor of HPR, Fr. Kenneth Baker S.J., this month called for additional submissions.

Anita Moore has written a glowing tribute to Fr. Donoghue, A Good and Faithful Servant. With minor editing, she submitted it to HPR, which has accepted it for publication in the Aug-Sept issue. Nice work, Anita!

The world judges a Christian against a measure which he can never measure up to, the very measure is the One whom we take as our identity, Jesus Christ, who did say something to the effect that they will hate us because they hated him first. That said, our dear priests, who bring us the sacraments "in persona Christi," and especially our dear Bishop, who, as the successor of the Apostles, has for his charge the governance of the local church, are progressively held to even higher standards than we who so strive and fall short of the Lord's admonition to "be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

St. Paul admonishes us to "bear one another's burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal 6:2), and sometimes I do not doubt we believe we are doing so, whereas instead we are in reality adding to another's burdens; such is the unfortunate consequence of our fallen nature. Jesus gives us a tremendous insight, when he says "Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles" (Mt 5:41).

Which is all a long circle back to Anita's tribute to Father Donoghue; a priest among a great brotherhood of priests, a man whom I believe we can all look up to as an example among many, a man who had gone the extra mile and carried the extra burden, and demonstrated his love for the flock which is the family of God. It has been said, that if you cannot see Jesus in a priest, you will be unable to see him anywhere else either. Our gracious Lord gives us special men from time to time to help the near and the far sighted.

Zvi, the tour guide on my Israel trip, made a comment about the witness of divided Christians in the management of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. He was a bit taken aback when I responded with "Oh Zvi, you should understand how this works, we are just one big messy Jewish family!" - but he knew what I meant. And this is the family that I love, with it's victorious ahead of us, it's faithful, it's poor and unlearned, it's proud who kick against the goad, and it's enemies without who do not know that they will yet be within, this big messy family is home. It would be nothing at all without it's priests. With gratitude, God love you and may He expand our hearts to love you and one another as He would have us.

As I read in a good book, "you have the words of eternal life, where else shall we go?"

And Anita, thank you for the reflection.

1 comment:

  1. This is so appropriate. I met with Fr. Henry Carmona the other day about a subject. Even though he was tired and worn, it was obvious that he focused on the subject and that he is an intelligent, capable priest. I think the Bishop in Boise did a good job in selecting him. If course, I was impressed with him years ago, when he was on the radio. Very passionate about his faith yet balanced. Nice to see. Also, while we are reflecting on the priests, there is a strong-minded, bright, dedicated, that handles himself with levity and perception, in the person of Fr. Timothy Ritchey at Holy Apostles. He will be missed when he parts on a sabbatical in July. Yet, he has set the foundation of a fabulous parish in Meridian.

    We are blessed and I thank Him. John, OPL