Friday, August 26, 2005

news from Eden: establishing a routine and words of encouragement

Now that I have established some sort of routine at the parish, I have figured out when in my schedule I can devote time to blogging. I’ve learned that there are gaps in one’s ministerial schedule when one is either not visiting the sick, or attending meetings, or preparing for a talk or a homily, or not counseling someone–-and those are times when I can spend the time on carefree blogging.

And this is one of those times.

I continue to be heartened by the faith of the parishioners here. Just the other day I brought the Sacrament to one of our homebound parishioners.

The things he had been through with his health, his various operations, the medications, the night sweats, the assaults on his faith, yet the plods on, not giving up on his prayers, and certainly not giving up on God.

And there I was just absorbing everything he said–not contributing much, as goodness knows, there hasn’t been anything in my life that can possibly equal what he has gone through.

For the first time in my young priestly ministry I felt inadequate, with nothing really to offer to someone with a towering faith like this man.

It's actually something that I have started to think a few weeks ago, with meeting all the various ministers, staff, personnel, parishioners--all of whom exemplary individuals. And here I am assigned to serve them. What can I possibly offer?

After he received the Sacrament, he told me that he has something for me. Knowing that I am just recently ordained he took out a book and turned to a letter written by Mother Teresa to one of her priest-friends.

And so he read a portion of it to me:

You have said ‘yes’ to Jesus and He has taken you at your word. The Word of Jesus became Jesus-poor. And so this terrible emptiness you experience. God cannot fill what is full—He can only fill your emptiness—deep poverty—and your ‘yes’ is the beginning of your becoming empty. It is not how much we really ‘have’ to give—but how empty we are—so that we can receive fully in our life and let Him live His life in us.

There was a long pause after he stopped and I took all the words in. After a few moments we said bye.

After hearing those words, and after being with him, driving back to the rectory, I felt unexpectedly buoyed.

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