Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The ups and downs

I have just returned from a 3 day retreat. As a group of ordinands, we do this every year, and it is always a wonderful time.

This time, I left with a definite sense of melancholy. Had I used the time right, did I waste the experience, did I really listen to my companions, did I really listen to God?

We discussed our calls to the priesthood and how we think this will look, what it means, all that sort of stuff. It was here that the melancholy kicked in. My call was instantaneous and life changing, like 180 degree turn around. It was completely impossible to ignore and difficult for everyone around me.

My call is still as strong, but what I think my ministry will be is really quite different than what I expected. I probably was in fantasy land in what I thought the job entailed, but the reality seems to be a rather harsh and unforgiving role that seems to ask for disrespect and criticism.

Whinge, whinge, whinge.

All of this would be a complete load of nonsense and absolute awfulness if it wasn't for the presence of the living Christ in each moment of my life.

If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
Mark 8:34
I don't do it on my own. Christ is with me. But by hokey sometimes it feels like a wrong turn. Sometimes I feel like a complete fraud. Other times I feel like I don't actually know anything. Of course there are other days when it is rolls along smashingly, and it is so clear as to be a blinding light, yet one that soothes the eyes.

This whole priesty thing is easily the biggest challenges I have have had. It has pushed my limits like nothing else, and has made me question my very existence and the existence of God. And it has also given me moments of gentle joy and sublime consciousness.

It is a difficult path, no question about that.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Saint Perpetua

Saint Perpetua
Christopher Orczy

The blessed Saturus related this his vision, which he himself committed to writing: — " We had suffered," says he, "and

We were gone forth from the flesh,
and we were beginning to be borne by four angels into the east;
and their hands touched us not.

And we floated not supine,
looking upwards,
but as if ascending a gentle slope.

And being set free,
we at length saw the first boundless light;
and I said,
'Perpetua, this is what the Lord promised to us;
we have received the promise.'

And while we are borne by those same four angels,
there appears to us a vast space which was like a pleasure-garden,
having rose-trees and every kind of flower.
And the height of the trees was after the measure of a cypress,
and their leaves were falling incessantly.
Moreover, there in the pleasure-garden four other angels appeared,
brighter than the previous ones.

And those four angels who bore us,
being greatly afraid,
put us down;
and we passed over on foot the space of a furlong in a broad path.

And we came near to place,
the walls of which were such as if they were built of light;
and before the gate of that place stood four angels,
who clothed those who entered with white robes.

And being clothed,
we entered and saw the boundless light,
and heard the united voice of some who said without ceasing,
‘Holy! Holy! Holy!'

And I said,
'Perpetua, you have what you wish.'
And she said to me,
'Thanks be to God,
that joyous as I was in the flesh,
I am now more joyous here.'

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Dearmer Society

Today I was inducted as a member of The Dearmer Society.

The website explains what it means very thoroughly:

Dearmer Groups are for ordinands currently in training who aspire to membership of the Society of Catholic Priests (SCP) and who are in sympathy with the principles of membership.
Those living under priestly orders experience both the joy and privilege of ordained ministry and also the sacrifice that ordination brings.
At a time of great change and stress within the national and world Church, many priests are both at risk of isolation and loneliness, and also find themselves challenged by the changing expectations of the church.
Membership of SCP offers collegiality, encouragement and support in the face of such conditions.

Aspirants are encouraged to adopt the rule of life of the Society, that is
Eucharistic centred spirituality
to say the Daily Office
to consult a Spiritual Director
to pray for their fellow members of Society
to use the sacrament of reconciliation
to offer confidential pastoral care to fellow members
to attend all meetings of their group unless prevented by good reason.
Any one who reads this blog will know that all that is fine with me. The fact that the group takes its name from my liturgical hero Percy Dearmer is a complete bonus.