Considering the priesthood, I feel I am on the outside looking in and amazed at the view nonetheless. I never gave the priesthood much thought until my brother joined the seminary. As I watched his life unfold these past 25+ years, I have become more aware of a mystery I can never fully understand. I’ve been to a few ordinations and I am always left rather breathless. There is real power and glory in the priesthood – also great trial and temptation. But what really sends me into the heavenly sphere is the realization of the ancient connection man has with God through the priesthood. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states (1548): “Christ is the source of all priesthood:the priest of the old law was a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in person of Christ.”
Recently several serendipitous events have underscored the magnificence of the priesthood for me. I am reading Mama Maggie (by Marty Makary & Ellen Vaughn), about a woman who serves the poorest of the poor in the garbage dumps of Egypt, and I also heard the life story of a priest, (Fr. Andrew Chalkey) who has served in amazing circumstances – at one time being the only Christian in an entirely Islamic environment. In both these circumstances, the people lived vocational lives of being Christ to others – being His love, His logic, His life. Again the Catechism of the Catholic Church helps to explain (1547): “The ministerial or hierarchical priesthood of bishops and priests, and the common priesthood of the faithful participate ‘each in its own proper way, in the priesthood of Christ.’ ”
In trying times, we look desperately for the heroes of old to save us from the sin and suffering of our present world. But the heroes of old yet live in the hearts of the heroes of present day. A quote from the Mama Maggie book: “Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message.” – Malcom Muggeridge (p.109)
I do not consider myself a priest in the ordinary sense of the word – but I do have the vocational call to live fully and miraculously as His servant, His love, His life. It is a miracle in progress – to accept such a call, to attempt to live such a life. When I look at the view from the mighty heights of such joy, to become His, to be as He is, to be formed into a conduit of His kindness, mercy, and forgiveness – I can’t help but wonder – what else is life for? As someone once said of the souls in hell: “They never dared to dream…”
Perhaps I am not so much looking in – but longing in. I too want to join the holy souls alive in Christ. All good things are possible in Christ – the priesthood proves that.