Tuesday, June 7, 2016

19 years in the Fields of the Lord

19 years today.  19 years ago I sought the grace of God to make good on a commitment I made to God that I would give my life in service of His flock as He had called me to do.  I didn't choose God, He chose me.  As God as my witness,  I haven't the foggiest notion why other than its was His will.  I wasn't the holiest guy around, nor was I the smartest.  I'm still not.  I didn't go joyfully either.  I fought it and fought it hard.  I am proof that God can be awful persistent....and patient.  He knows far better than I.  Pride and fear blinded me to what joy could be found.  Thank God I was really wrong about being a priest.

In those 19 years, I have lost track of how many weddings, baptisms, confessions, funerals, and anointings I have done.  All the hours preaching and teachings seem but a moment in time.  The most important things I do aren't giving what I can give, but giving what God alone can give.  My feeble meanderings are no match for the grace given through the sacraments.  It is why I feel compelled to make those sacraments as widely available as is allowed.  Being a priest is more about what God can do than what I can do. 

The 19 years have been an exhilarating ride.  There have been times of great joy and times of being crushed.  I will admit that the sex scandals in the Church in 2002 were crushing.  Men I had known and admired as a boy were among the accused.  Men I had gone to school with were among the victims.  I thank God I was with the people of Edina and Baring at the time.  I do not know if they appreciate or know how much their support and prayers got me through that time.  Even the depths of that time pales in comparison to the immense amount of joy that has been an almost constant companion in the 19 years of ministry.

What gives me joy as a priest?  Watching someone embrace conversion.  What sorrows me as a priest?  Watching someone walk away from conversion.  19 years and I know that I am far from a finished product and that God will continue to aid me by His grace to become fully what He calls me to be.  I know this to be true for anyone who will open their hearts and minds to Christ.  I know fear gets in the way.  I know pride gets in the way.  They sure got in my way.  Doing vocation work for all 19 years has taught me this over and over again.

So today I start my 20th year in the fields of the Lord. I pray that what God begun on that June day 19 years ago will continue to expand as I grow.  To all those who have helped me in these years, I thank you.  To all those I have hurt over those same years, I apologize.  To all, I ask for your continued prayers as I enter my second decade serving in the fields of the Lord.

1 comment:

  1. Bless you Father.

    Here's is to another two decades!