Monday, September 12, 2011

The Lord cares for his priests

I was talking with another priest for a little bit. We were talking about how interesting it is that the Lord has a way of taking care of his priests...the priest just needs to make sure he is paying attention.

The other day, after celebrating mass and preaching, I wasn't sure if what I had done was "good enough". Okay, yes, I know the Lord will use me as an instrument, and I know that I am not going to have an effect on the whole congregation that they all rise up and become zealous and start a huge movement to convert the whole city (and yes, my brain thinks about stuff like yet, a part of me that struggles with the quality of what I can put in....(I suppose it's also a question of my perception of it)...

Not just 30 seconds after I process out, an individual walks out. I greet them, "Have a good morning sir," To which he responds, "I don't know if I agree with your sermon." He shakes my hand, doesn't make eye contact, and moves on....

I watch him leave and I think to myself...."I'm sorry to hear that, because I gave you exactly what the Church teaches about mercy, forgiveness, our sin, our need to show forgiveness as God forgives us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation..."

And I'm left a little wounded after that encounter. Then the people began to leave and person after person they began to say, "Good homily," "Very good sermon, father," "Thank you," "You were filled with the Spirit, thank you for your words."

I was thrown aback because these people had not heard what the man said, but they immediately began to affirm me so as to counter the "attack." I thought to myself that it's just a nice thing they are saying, but it just kept coming. Usually, people don't remember anything and they'll just wish me a good day. THAT'S the most common response....but it kept coming.....and I began to say to myself, "is this real? is this just a coincidence?" And it kept coming....and I heard the inner "Chris Ortega" voice say, 'Yes, Chris! Believe it! The Lord is letting you know you did well.'

I laughed at myself and I said..."okay, okay....I won't listen to that man, Jesus...I will listen to you as you speak through your people."

When the priest seems to question something in ministry, the Lord always seems to work through others to tell him that he loves him, supports him, and that HE (God) has everything under control. The priest just has to pay attention and he'll notice what God is doing in his life...

I'm glad I paid attention :p

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