Reflections on the Priesthood (Part Two)

How can I make a return to the Lord for all the good He has done for me?         -Psalm 116:12

I feel sorry for those who are embittered by life. It has to be such a burden, a load, a drain. I am not sure what they were looking for in life, I am not sure what they were expecting.  Everyone has bad times, everyone has heartaches.  I’ve had my dark times, like I recounted in last week’s bulletin, but overall life has been a joy, a blessing.  It didn’t take a lot of money or fame or success. It was really rather simple. I can narrow it down to three simple words.

Word ONE: Family. I love my family. They put up with me, but it is always a joy gathering with them, laughing with them, arguing with them, celebrating with them. Of late, whenever I go over to my sister’s house, my brother-in-law, my nephew and I go out on their back porch with a dram of scotch and a cigar and we solve the world’s problems.  Both my brother-in-law and my nephew are brilliant, free thinking and engaging men. The time slips by quickly when I am conversing with them. My extended family on both sides are also a blast. They are the kind of people you will not see for a long time and then, when you get back together with them, you simply pick up where you left off. Simply put, I do not think that I would have become a priest if I was an only child, I don’t think I would have become a priest without my family’s support and love.

Word TWO: Friends. Please don’t get me wrong, I love being a priest. But it’s healthy and good that I have a group of people surrounding me who simply know me as Kevin, not FATHER Kev- in. Some are my classmates with whom I have shared some remarkable journeys with. Ireland, Italy, Israel and Scotland, all powerful memories of great times. Some people wonder why I like golf, because, to be frank, I am not very good at the darn game. Well, it’s because of the brother priests who share the game with me. I think they keep me around so that they can feel good about their games. I know the parishioners of Holy might be sick of me talking about my experiences at Borgia High School, but my colleagues there became my family over the past thirty years.

Once again, they have no illusions about me, so I can just be myself, warts and all. My friends keep me honest. My friends keep me sane.

Word THREE: Faith. One of the great frustrations of my life is dealing with people who talk about the Catholic Church as a bunch of puritanical, hypocritical, no fun allowed fuddy duddies. I am sure that there a few Catholics who may fit this description, but that was not the Catholic Church in which I was raised. My faith has al- ways been the source of life, of happiness, of joy and of growth. I love interacting with our prima- ry grades at Mass, seeing their hands shoot up when I ask a question, giving them some knuckles as I process down the aisle. Similarly, I have never seen my faith as a crutch to help me limp through life. Celebrating the Sacraments for me is an incredible life-altering action. Baptizing a child, trying to make the Word of God come alive in a homily, walking through a confession with a troubled soul. All of these things are amazing privileges which allow me to grow, deepen and thrive.

How can I make a return to the Lord for all the good He has done for me? Psalm 116:12

Father Kevin

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