Monday, February 1, 2010

Ordinary Heroes - Our Catholic Priests

Father Sam et al

In the years that I have been back in the fold, being the years since about my 30th birthday, I have had the honour to meet several priests, some of whom became or were bishops, and it saddens me to think that their well deserved reputations as preachers of the Gospel, and more than that, livers of the Gospel are being tarnished because a few of their number have gone off the reservation, in one way or another.  I do not wish to diminish the sins of those who have damaged the faithful, but all priests and all of the rest of us are sinners.  As one priest friend of mine said many years ago, we are all sinaholics.  But, it is too easy to look at the few and put that target on the majority.

The priests I have known are men like Father Sam, men who heard a call to a vocation that defies most of our logic.  They were called to a life of celibacy, a life of prayer, and generally a life with little in the way of personal possessions.  I hold him and the others I have known in the highest regard, not because they get it right all the time, but because their love of our Saviour is the most important thing in their lives, and as such they are seekers of the truth.

Father Sam is a very good example of the priests I mean.  He was not the brightest bulb in the pack.  As he told me he spent two years of his life in each of grade 8, 9 and 13, not the academic achievement of a rocket scientist.  He is not sure how he got through the seminary, and became a priest.  He never really read a book until he was over 42, and he became a priest when he was 38.

That is the cool thing about God.  All he wants is willing hands, men and women who will put their hand to the plow and not look back.  That fits Father Sam to a "T".  As I sit here in Tucson, Arizona, knowing that he is going about his business in Ridgetown, Ontario, with plans to be obedient, and go to Columbia in a couple of weeks, and to Medjugorge in about 5 weeks or so, I can tell you that I would like to be able to sit with him in his kitchen and hear of his love of Our Saviour and His Blessed Mother.  The hours that I have spent in his presence have been hours that I have spent in the presence of Jesus.

Let us all honour our priests in this year set aside as a Year of Priests. 

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