Saturday, June 25, 2005

So it Happened

So it happened - the bishop and the college of priests put their hands on me. The Holy Spirit came down. And I am a priest.

Though it has only taken me five years since I began the process that leads to priesting, it feels much longer. Perhaps like any ordinand, I went into the process because I had so much hope for the church.

That hope didn't last long. I entered seminary, found that the church is larger than St. Margaret's, and quickly discovered all the petty disputes and the larger and more serious conflicts. My hope wilted quickly when I discovered just how adolescent the actors in the church can be. The level of discourse is often about as civilised as that of boys in a sandbox fighting over the Tonka.

Thankfully I survived all this, though, and God did some good work with me. I met some good Christian people who have been in the church for a long time, without losing their faith or hope. Sometimes these were people acting on the larger stages of the church, sometimes priests and deacons faithfully living out their vocation, but more often than not they were faithful parishioners, faithfully praying, off-stage but with the knowledge of how human the church is. It was not debilitating them in the way it was debilitating me. It is these folks that strengthened my hope, not because they were naive about the church, but because their trust was in God.

So, from hope to despair to a renewed hope. A renewed hope despite the experience of a very human church. (When I say human, I guess I mean a little screwed up). God has put me on some good footing; faith in God, faith in Jesus, faith in the continued work of the Holy Spirit leads to hope in the church. And I have hope in the church, because I have faith in God.

This is a pretty good place for a baby priest to be.

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