Thursday, April 13, 2006

Holy Thursday

"Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins....One does not take this honor on his own intiative, but only when called by God as Aaron was. Even Christ did not glorify himself with the office of high priest; he received it from the One who said to him, 'You are my Son; today I have begotten you.'"
Hebrews, chapter 5

It is my experience that we have a difficult time understanding the dynamic of relationship between Father and Son in the Trinity, to the effect that we consider one or other functioning here or there (usually God the Father in the parts of the Bible that sound harsh and Jesus in the easier-to-swallow parts) and forget that Jesus' mission is not His own, but one undertaken in love and obedience, that is, in relationship for the sake of another.

This should be the case of every priest who comes after the Apostles. Just as the Apostles are sent from Christ and imitate His obedience, so every priest is sent by his bishop and does not take the task on his own. Is this understood in the debates about who and who should not be a priest? The office is often talked about as if it were a career choice or even a right to 'participation' that everyone should have. Does this not risk demeaning this solemn office and God's prerogatives?

Reflecting on my brief time as a priest, nearing two years since my ordination, one lesson I have learned is that the endeavor is easiest when God is in charge and I step back to let Him run things. It is so easy to imagine that we perceive the things that need to happen: changes or reaffirmations of Church discipline, advice we need to give to others, projects we need to accomplish ourselves. This is frequently so much accessory worry obscuring the serene assurances offered us in Christ's own faith, a faith that took Him to the Cross, yes, but which also raised Him to glory and invincibility.

Liturgical action done in obedience 'unhampered by aims and motives', to use Romano Guardini's apt phrase, liberates us from ourselves and the short-term concerns that seem so overwhelming so much of the time. It is precisely in this faithful submission to God that Christ sanctifies us through the Holy Spirit, who is free to act to the extent that we let go of our projects. May this Holy Triduum be about this freedom of life in the Spirit.

I wish you peace in Christ and all the graces of these holy days.

1 comment:

madame P said...

hi.. i accidently fell in your blog.. and i'm just curious... so you're a priest.. a Benedictine Monk...

and you have access to the internet ???


i like your blog by the way....


This blog is published with ecclesiastical approval.

If I, who seem to be your right hand and am called Presbyter and seem to
preach the Word of God, If I do something against the discipline of the Church
and the Rule of the Gospel so that I become a scandal to you, The Church, then
may the whole Church, in unanimous resolve, cut me, its right hand, off, and
throw me away.

Origen of Alexandria
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