Today’s Gospel: Luke 7:11-17
I have seen the face of God. Once, after a period of great struggles in my faith life, I rose early to go to confession and ask for God’s grace and forgiveness. Upon entering the confessional, I unexpectedly encountered a dear priest-friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in a very long time. He lifted his head and his eyes suddenly lit up with joy to see me standing there. As broken as I had felt before walking in, I instantly forgot all of my shame and simply beamed back at him, grateful to see him too. In that moment, an incredible realization flooded my heart: the smile on that priest’s face was not his own. It was Christ’s smile, and he did not care what I had done or how far I had wandered. He was simply happy to have me home.
That encounter transformed my understanding of the words “in persona Christi”. The priests and deacons in my life really are Christ for me. Today’s first reading speaks of the lofty vocation of Holy Orders and the incredible demands the Church has for her sons who desire ordination. What a challenging and difficult life, so hard to reach perfection in. I can only imagine the sacrifice and the discipline those chosen men face on a daily basis. Still, I see what immeasurable good they do. Just as in the Gospel today, when Jesus was moved with such pity for the sorrowing mother that He raised her son from the dead, I see our priests and deacons so in love with their flocks that they would give their own lives for the souls entrusted to them. I see them be Christ for us. I see them welcome us home. And I am grateful for each one of them.
How has a priest or deacon impacted your life? What more can we do to support vocations in our communities?
Thank you, Lord, for the priests and deacons You have placed in my life. I pray today for their own strength and happiness in their vocation and ask that You might send Your blessings upon them as they tend to Your flock on Earth.
Copyright 2017 Brittany Storgaard
I am a high school theology and Spanish teacher blessed with two beautiful daughters and a wonderful husband. We live in Colorado and enjoy spending time with our families, watching football, and enjoying God’s breathtaking mountains!
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