Friday, October 2, 2009

Catholic Priesthood and Celibacy

I was reading the above-linked article in America magazine this morning regarding Catholic priests who leave the Church for another denomination, primarily because of the celibacy issue.

This got me thinking of my own vocation as a husband and father and "all-around Church guy" I guess you'd call the rest. In the past 5 or so years I have gotten involved in the Cub Scouts with my boys, the Secular Franciscan Order, Knights of Columbus, Ancient Order of Hibernians, and various ministries at my parish. In the back of my mind lurks the possibility of becoming an ordained deacon in the future. None of it feels like "enough", however. Please don't misunderstand; all of these activities and ministries have been thus far very rewarding. I love and am honored to work with fantastic, faith-filled, and in some cases mystical people.

I remember as a boy waiting anxiously to go to Mass. I admired the priest and what was going on up on the altar. I didn't fully understand the Mystery (and I still don't, really...I do get brief awesome flashes, almost like a deja vu. But I digress) but I knew I wanted to do what the priest was doing. It made my parents uncomfortable for some reason which I didn't get. Other kids wanted to be cops, firemen, doctors, nurses, etc. I remember when I was in 2nd grade, we were asked to draw a picture of who we wanted to be when we grew up. I drew a picture of me as a priest, holding up the Cup and the Host for consecration. I was the only kid I knew of who looked forward to CCD classes and actually was ostracized for it (beat up once for it as well) I didn't care...I loved my faith and wanted to grow up to be a priest. Then adolescence came along. Although I had been told much earlier in life that I wouldn't be able to be a priest and a father (how's THAT for irony?), I didn't understand or care about that until I was immersed in the swamp of puberty, awash in hormones and fantasies. I reluctantly gave up the idea of becoming a priest.

However, the fascination and...longing(?) has never fully died in me. Over the years, even the years I was not actively attending Mass, I still "saw myself as a priest" (I can't explain it any further than that). You can imagine how it mushroomed when I began practicing as a Catholic in earnest again. In the midst of my happy marriage with 2 great kids, my ministries with my parish, the Franciscans, Knights and Hibernians, there is still a hole, a longing, a yearning to serve as a priest. Yet, by virtue of my marriage, Church discipline states I can't become a priest.

I am forced to ask this question...why won't God stop talking to me about it, then??? Perhaps it's my ego, my pride, perhaps I'm not hearing it right, I don't know. I'm not considering leaving the Catholic Church - I just realized referncing the above article may have given that impression; I AM home in the Roman Catholic Church.

Today, however this particular instance of Church teaching is something I am struggling with. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...y'all know the rest.


Daily Mass Readings
First Friday
Feast of the Guardian Angels

Baruch 1:15-22
Psalm 79:1-5,8-9
Matthew 18:1-5,10

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Life List

“Some of the stuff I’d really like to do before I kick.”

-Travel the country. See Boston, Philly, DC, New Orleans, Vegas, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, “The Four Corners”, Redwood Forest, San Fran, Los Angeles, Seattle, Alaska, Hawaii…etc., etc.

-Travel the world – See Ireland, Scotland, England, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Greece, Moscow, Tokyo, Great Wall of China, Australian Outback…etc, etc.

-Learn to ride a horse passably well.

-Go skydiving.

-Go white-water rafting.

-Take up the acoustic guitar or another instrument.

-Write and perform a comedy routine.

-Consolidate and edit all my journals/blogs and publish them as my memoirs.

-Sing in the choir.

-Become a professed Secular Franciscan.

-Get a muscular and fit body.

-Move to Smallwood, NY.

-Attend a Papal Mass.

-Hear the Dalai Lama speak.

-Buy a NEW car.

-Get tattooed.

-Get ordained a Catholic Deacon.

With the majority of these things, right now…what is stopping me??? Money can explain away the car, the ‘audiences’ with the Pope and Dalai Lama, and the travel (but it doesn’t take a whole helluva lot to drive to Philly, DC, or Boston for a long weekend, does it?). The Smallwood move is by necessity in the future – it is Lori’s inheritance. The Franciscans, fitness goals, horseback riding (received lessons for my birthday…thanks Lori!!!) and even the diaconate are processes which I have more or less begun – the trick is sticking to them.

Well, what of the rest? What is stopping me from going skydiving, publishing my memoirs, performing comedy, learning the guitar, singing in the choir, or getting a tattoo? Is it that I think I have plenty of time? Is it that I am afraid I might fall short of some/all of these goals? Am I waiting from someone to download these experiences into my brain?

It is time for me to stop waiting for things I wish to experience to stumble into my lap. To a greater or lesser degree, I want all these things. And most importantly, to a greater or lesser degree, they are all attainable! I do not want to lie on my deathbed with regret. Give me strength, Lord, to push aside fear of failure or apprehension and to go for it!


Daily Mass Readings
Feast of the Archangels
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 or Revelation 12:7-12
Psalm 138:1-5
John 1:47-51