I’ll be honest though, in my heart I feel like I’m still roaming the valley below rather than nearing the summit. I don’t like writing from the valley. At Mass tonight, the tension between the difficult and unresolved and the blessed and wondrous was nearly too much for me. I find now that I am unable to succinctly say all that I’d like to say. And maybe that’s alright. Maybe I’ll try again tomorrow. Maybe I ought to just focus on one thing tonight. For the sake of a little peace of heart and because I won’t be able to think straight for too much longer as the nighttime pain reliever is beginning to do battle with this monstrous headache of mine.
What I kept coming around to as I contemplated Holy Thursday and as I prayed at Mass was the incredible gift that the priesthood has been to me. I’m not even talking broad spectrum, ‘the Church could not survive without the priesthood’ appreciation. I could expound upon the necessity of the priesthood, the beauty and gift of Christ’s ministers, the indispensible link between them and the Sacraments. But such catechetical themes aren’t actually on my mind. Today I gave a lot of thought to my friends, the priests.
Among people of my aquaintance, and I’m sure this is true for so many, there are plenty of individuals who either have no personal experience with priests, off-putting experiences with priests, or downright negative experiences with priests. Each time I discover this to be true of someone I am struck with fresh force by how radically this is not true for me. In my 28 years, I have accumulated innumerable holy encounters, blessed friendships, and upbuilding influences all through priests.
Fr. Ray Zuegner
Fr. Mike Steber
Fr. Dave Pivonka
Fr. Dan Pattee
Fr. Robb Jurkovich
Fr. Mike Chenier
Fr. Robbie Favazza
Fr. Jay Mello
Fr. Mark Vandersteeg
That’s my little litany, which I am certain is missing some important names. The presence of these men in my life at various stages and circumstances is a simple matter of Christ making Himself present to me. As teachers, as preachers, as friends, these men deserve my thanks and respect, my prayers and service.
Christ is my priest – my High Priest. He ministers to me; He extends grace and forgiveness to me; He admonishes and encourages me; He challenges me with truth; He intercedes for me; He works for my eternal salvation. Christ is my priest, and He shares His priesthood with men of this world that He might continue to walk among us and lay down His life for us.
“If we had faith, we would see God hidden in the priest like a light behind glass, like wine mixed with water.” (St. John Vianney, Patron of Priests)