There have been many moments in my life where a diocesan priest has inspired me; be it, at Mass, in brief passing on the street, as they ministered to a dying relative, heard my confession or visited my home and family.
In the world that we live in, with all its distractions, it’s so easy to become detached from living in relationship and close proximity to God. One of the ways that I have tried to remain grounded in my faith and belief, is to attend Mass. It is there, that I bear witness to Christ in the person of the priest. Resting in the ritual of the Mass, praying in communion with others, listening to Scripture and partaking in the Eucharist, I am nourished and sustained. I feel joyful and grateful. The priest’s presence and participation communicates to me, a peace that surpasses all understanding, a peace that the world cannot give (Phil. 4:7). Even though I know that there is much that can happen to unsettle and disturb me, I know that I can weather the storm come what may. I am equipped with a strong foundation, a deep spiritual knowledge and a real sense of purpose in the world and I know that God is present in and through it all. When I attend Church, I see and chat with members of the congregation and I feel a deep sense of being in relationship with other. It is in these moments, I can truly ask, who is my brother, my sister, my neighbour? This inspires me to be a better person.
I acknowledge, that, priests have offered themselves as servants of Christ in a way that is incomprehensible to many and that this is a supernatural vocation which must bring much joy and much sorrow. I can resonate with them at some level, knowing that my own life and my own vocation does the same in many ways.
For me, the most enduring memory, yesterday, today and tomorrow will be of the priest who stands in the person of Christ, and invites us to the table of the Lord, which is a memorial of His sacrifice. This is the greatest of all gifts and I thank priests for their constant ministry and service.