J.M.J. Saint Charles Borromeo (1538-1584) was "the guiding light of the Council of Trent." His perseverance in the face of trial was patterned after the example of Christ Himself, while his humility, truly, was Mary-like.
We pray for all candidates for public office, for those who will vote today and for those who have already voted. May the Social Kingdom of Jesus Christ be enacted in our midst!
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In his 1996 book entitled Gift and Mystery: On the Fiftieth Anniversary of My Priestly Ordination, Saint John Paul II wrote that “many people have urged me to speak more fully about my vocation during this year of my Priestly Jubilee.”
Page after page of the Holy Father’s reflection testifies to his deep thanks to God for calling him to the priesthood.
June 29, 2014, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, was the twentieth-fifth anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. I can only share the Holy Father’s gratitude as I consider these past twenty-five years.
Our Lady’s Magnificat is a fitting template as I recognize the unspeakably rich blessings that I have experienced since 1989. “The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is His Name” (Saint Luke 1:48).
I am more convinced than ever that my personal inadequacies in being an alter Christus have not obscured the powerful, lasting divine touch that continues to overshadow me.
Appreciation for my priestly vocation resounds within me as I acknowledge some very evident truths that have been impressed upon me.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). St. Paul recorded these words that he heard from the Lord. A more consoling reassurance is difficult to locate—either for priest or any member of Christ’s faithful. Do I really trust that God has given to me all that I need to respond well to His love? Each day is an opportunity for me to affirm my confidence in Him and His wise plan.
Many priests speak about the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as the best part of their day. No matter what exhilaration or dejection happens before or after Mass, the priest has been both priest and victim at the Altar after the example of Jesus Christ the Great High Priest.
I attest to the calming influence that celebrating the Mass has over me.
“It was not you who chose Me, but I who chose you” (Saint John 15:16). How comforting, and how true! The priestly enterprise is only about me in a secondary way. Primarily it is about Jesus, Crucified and Risen. The Lord knew what He was doing when He selected this earthen vessel for priestly service in His vineyard.
I must recall often that my life and work are Christ’s. He is the animating force. He leads me—and not the other way around. In our era when we’re constantly told to “be all you can be,” I know that any “success” that I may have is directly attributable to God Who works in me.
“So we, though many, are one body in Christ” (Romans 12:5). The laity and I collaborate, not compete. We work together for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, including our own. So much at stake depends on our cooperation with the Holy Spirit’s intimations.
“In My Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?” (Saint John 14:2). I think about my death more than ever before, and I see clearly that this is what I’m moving towards. With the strength that comes from God, such a reality fills me less with apprehension than with anticipation and, yes, regret for my sins. But there is room for me in the Kingdom because of the overwhelming mercy of Jesus.
In summing up his gratitude for the gift and the mystery of his priesthood, Saint John Paul II made the Psalmist’s declaration his own: Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo. “I will sing the mercies of the Lord forever” (Psalm 89:2). I repeat the Holy Father’s sentiment. It will take me all of eternity to thank Jesus for allowing me to participate in the ministerial priesthood.