Sunday, November 11, 2007
Feast of St. Josaphat
Tomorrow, November 12th, is the Feast of the great saint of the Eastern Rite of the Catholic Church, St. Josaphat. It is also the thirteenth anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. Little did I know on that cold, wet day in St. Thomas' Church in Canterbury in 1994 that, thirteen years later I would be somewhere much colder (the first snow is expected tomorrow evening - what a joyful anniversary gift). Much has happened over those thirteen years - watching the Religious Order I joined implode because of heterodoxy, loose morals and loss of direction. Becoming a diocesan priest, accepting that service as a priest is not about the promotion of one's personal opinions - who cares? - but fidelity to the message of Christ, in season and out of season. Things I wish I had known when I was ordained? 1.) Courage and fidelity are more important in preaching than popularity. 2.) The only label that matters is orthodox or heterodox - and that a priest's salvation depends on it. 3.) The only mark of a successful priest is how many of his parishioners get to Heaven - not something measurable in this life - and that endless meetings, 'programs' (American English- sic), and being "busy about many things" are really subtle Pelagianism. 4.) That devotion to Our Lady and the Saints is absolutely necessary for the priestly life. 5.) As Fr. Richard John Neuhaus has said: "fidelity, fidelity, fidelity."
We haven't had one of those meme things for a long time - so, for any "ghostly father" readers - particularly Father John at South Ashford Priest, Father Justin at Nova et Vetera and the upside-down Father Dwight - what are the things you wish you had known at your ordination?