Monday, March 23, 2009


A parishioner gave me the DVD of Diary of a City Priest staring David Morse. My sister and cousin came over to watch it one evening. It is not a riveting movie with plot twist or car races or even much of a story line for that matter, but it was an interesting insight into at least one priests life though I thought he was making his life a bit more difficult than need be - but that was just my opinion.

We were watching and talking about how often the priest in this movie was called to do things at the most inconvenient times and my sister and cousin thinking the dramatization a bit excessive when my cell phone went off. I went to room to hear better. Somebody’s father was failing and crying for priest and the hospital asked their kids to call a priest to help calm him down. I put on my blacks and headed back out to the movie.

“Do you want us to leave?” asked my cousin. It was not necessary. “Just close the door when you leave after the movie is over,” I said and was off.

I was going to a place I never heard of before and my directions were sketchy at best. I was angry with myself because I forgot my cell phone and would have to try to figure it out myself. I pulled into one building and a kindly guard took me under his wing and since it was obvious that I was at the wrong place, tried to help me find the right one.

I was back in my car and heading further down the road. The building I thought they said I was looking for and that the guard helped me find did not look like any kind of medical facility. But I got out and started walking around for a while trying to make sense of the directions again. It was in the heart of the city not too far off campus from the University of Akron. It was late and there was nobody around to ask for assistance.

Finally a building was sighted that seemed to fit the bill so I walked back to my car and drove across the street and around a small, specialty hospital. I did not even know such things existed. A guard was waiting for me inside.

“I bet you’re the man I’ve been waiting for!” I apologized for taking so long and explained that I’d been walking around trying to find the place. “You really shouldn’t be doing that Father,” she said with anxious concern, “It isn’t safe around here.”


Well, don’t you know, the person I was to see was doing just fine by the time I got there but we chatted as best we could and we celebrated the anointing of the sick and then I was off back to my side of town.

I don’t know of a priest that relishes the idea of being called out late at night for an emergency. I don’t. But I also do not know a priest that is not glad after he has done so. Striving for holiness for anyone is not in wanting to do it – but in doing it. That is not being hypocritical, that is human nature – and the nature of striving for holiness.


Anonymous said...

"Striving for holiness for anyone is not in wanting to do it – but in doing it."

Thanks, Father, for the reminder.

Matt W said...

God loves irony.

Odysseus said...

Thanks, Father.