Monday, July 26, 2010


As a seminarian there was a priest that I looked up to quite a bit. Once I told him how lucky his parishioners were and how loved he must be. To that he responded, “Here is an important lesson for you. Everyone has their detractors. Jesus had his, I have mine, and you will have yours.” It is true. But then again I suppose it is true for everybody.

There is a person who made known their dislike of my pastorate. No big shocker, nobody gets through life unscathed for good or for bad. But then, celebrating a morning Mass I thought I spied the person – not only in attendance at Mass but who would be in my line for Communion.

This happened to me once before years ago. There was a person with whom I had a falling out. Then the next day she showed up for morning Mass at which I was the celebrant. Let me tell you what an experience that was. It is very hard to celebrate Mass and hold a grudge. The person came up for Communion and we had to interact in the most intimate way two Catholics can; having a short ritual while Christ’s presence was between us Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. “The Body of Christ.” “Amen.” And then I gave her Jesus. It was very moving and from that day we may not have agreed but we could put our disagreements and our relationship as Christian brother and sister into two different boxes and thus disagreeing did not have to mean that there was hardship between us.

So during this morning Mass I wondered, “Is this a sign that although they disagree with me it will not affect their faith? Will this be as the story that happened so many years ago?" As it turned out the person at Mass the other morning was not who I thought it was but only looked very similar. That does not mean that we can still agree to disagree, but the symbolism of it would have been great. Such is the wisdom of Christ to give us such sacraments.


Anonymous said...


Mother Angelica advised that when the Lord puts something difficult in our lives (people, circumstances, situations), let us not fall prey to the temptation to respond with a lack of charity. Instead, she said, let God take care of it. He loves us and He knows what's best. Indeed, he may have put this in our lives because He wants something good for us to come out of it.

Carol said...

I happened to love a certain priest dearly, and I'd thought he could all but walk on water. However, we had a falling out of epic proportions which was tricky not at Mass (I could go to an EMHC), but at pastoral council meetings and evangeization team and RCIA and the newsletter, etc. So, I apologized and he forgave me but wanted to talk about it later. That led to a second blowout in which he screamed at me. Mutual apologies were owed. Priests don't apologize, though, so there was to be no coming back from it, I'd thought. But I prayed and grieved. Apparently, so did he. As it so happened, the priest who was going to bless my daughter's marriage was suddenly called out, and my beloved priest offered to step in--if it was alright with daughter and I. I said if he was uncomfortable, we could ask another. He assured me there was no need, and then was so uber-sweet and extra-helpful to her and to me throughout all the preparation and ceremony, I think we both misted up in gratitude. We had let the Cross redeem and transform a harsh and foolish distance. But yes, for sure, in the intimate sharing of the most Holy Communion, the Lord won't stand for division.

What a powerful sharing, Fr. V. TY for often tackling the difficult with Christly charity as well as with human honesty.

Anonymous said...

I had a falling out with a priest once. I felt deeply hurt and rejected. The next time I saw him was at Mass. I didn't know what to do, how to face him so I prayed. During Mass the Holy Spirit flooded my mind with memories, a memory of a very difficult confession where this priest was there for me, memories of questions answered, laughter and good advice. Thanks to the Holy Spirit I knew then what I had to do.

After Mass I walked over to him and just hugged him. Our relationship changed that day. We never talked about what had happened but with that hug came healing and peace. Four months later he died and I miss him. He truly was a father to me.