Still, I am nearly speechless and in awe.
I attended the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral Basilica here at my home diocese, for the first time. It was absolutely beautiful.
Without saying too much (still guarding my heart as the Triduum approaches), I didn’t really expect to feel much at all during the Mass. I wanted to go, I had promised myself and God that as part of my Lenten journey that I would, and the Cathedral is one of my favorite places in Beaumont. However, Lent has been pretty dry and difficult, and I didn’t expect it to bear fruit so soon!
It was crowded and noisy, which I conceded because everyone was antsy and excited. The Mass began, and as they processed in, the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre, the women in long veils, introduced such a sense of reverence that my heart immediately jumped to be more present. But then, I was taken aback as the Knights of Columbus took their places. There was something so beautiful about the Knights standing at attention while all our Holy Priests entered. Had I never really taken the time to consider it before? These men — the ones I grew up watching, learned from as a child and teen, and now have worked with — dressed in whites and creams and golds, processing with heads held high and an air of true humility, took my breath away. And the Knights, ready to protect and defend the men who have accepted the call to be the most like Christ, to stand in for Him and make Him present, flooded my heart with such gratitude and pride. How lucky are we, to have these men in our lives?
I hadn’t taken the time to consider it, really. I don’t think I was ready to see it all in perspective. But to see ordinary men — no different from my father, my uncles, my cousins, my friends — in an extraordinary LIFE… it’s incredible. Every day before my feet hit the floor, my life is God’s, through Mary’s hands. And it is my goal to live, move, act, and speak with Christ on my mind at all times. What a joy to have our priests with us every day! Companions for this journey, and giving of themselves at every moment.
I will never know what it is like to experience a call to the priesthood, or to give over my life to serve God’s people in nearly the same way. But as I watched them walk tonight, I couldn’t help but overflow with admiration for their response to God’s call and burst with joy for the gift of the Holy Priesthood. As they renewed their commitments along with our bishop, my heart was SO humbled.
At your ordination, you accepted the responsibilities of the priesthood out of love for the Lord Jesus and his Church. Are you resolved to unite yourselves more closely to Christ and to try to become more like him by joyfully sacrificing your own pleasure and ambition to bring his peace and love to your brothers and sisters?
Are you resolved to be faithful ministers of the mysteries of God, to celebrate the Eucharist and the other liturgical services with sincere devotion? Are you resolved to imitate Jesus Christ, the head and shepherd of the Church, by teaching the Christian faith without thinking of your own profit, solely for the well-being of the people you were meant to serve?
Not only does God love, but He sent His Son to love.
And as He laid down His life for us, so our Holy Priests lay down their lives every day.
Not out of obligation, not out of fear… not out of boredom, or talent, or interest, or desire for esteem, favor, or respect. Truly, they offer themselves to God and to us all out of love.
I am continually amazed that there is nothing more inspiring or beautiful than another’s journey to holiness.
As I prayed after communion, I felt sure that Our Lady wanted to teach me these things tonight. For the first time, I understand her urgent call to pray for our priests. And my prayer is that she hold them as close to her heart as she did her own Son, for their lives are given to make Him present in this world just as she made Him present.
Awed, joyful, and grateful.
And thank you, to all the men who have considered, pursued, and/or answered the call to the priesthood. Perhaps we never say it enough, but we would be nowhere and nothing without Christ working in your sacrifice and imitation of His life and love.