Today in my column, I have a guest author: myself, only 12 years younger. I was asked to give a brief reflection for our Priests’ Con- vocation that year and I came up with this. It still rings true in 2023.
For the past twenty seven years I have had what I affectionately call “Dawn Patrol” weekday Mass at either 6 or 6:30 in the morning.
I am neither boasting nor complaining. It is just the simple fate of a high school chaplain and teacher.
And morning after morning, in season and out, they have shown up to worship at that early hour.
Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, Ordinary Time, they were there.
In the glow of summer sunrises and in the bitter darkness of winter, they were there. In economic upswings and downturns, they were there.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the attack on the World Trade Center, they were there. Through priest scandals and ecclesial tur- moil, they were there.
They are the wife who came to Mass every morning, yet never received communion as she awaited her annulment.
They are the teenage girl whose neurotic mother makes her family life chaotic and op- pressive.
They are the retired man who ran the Vin- cent de Paul society at my parish as he nursed his stricken wife into eternity.
They come to share the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation, even though I occa- sionally sleepwalk through the Mass.
They come to find solace and silence.
They come to gather and pray in community. They come to discover strength for living and peace in the midst of madness through the message and the person of Jesus Christ.
As I look out from the altar, often with bleary eyes, I get to see the holiest people I know. And they are the reason I wake up at that “ungodly” hour every morning and keep go- ing as well. They are the inspiration that helps me continue living out my priesthood.
The missionary Albert Schweitzer once wrote: “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
No worries there, Al.
I am truly thankful