Friday, September 28, 2007
"asc" Story from Fr. V.
Far, far more interesting than my own second chance stories are the ones that I get to experience as a priest. Almost every day I will come across somebody carrying a heavy load from under which they think they will never escape. They come and dump black, vile, putrid tar at my feet and walk away, perhaps with a limp, but with a new lease on life.
This happens mostly in confession. (Anybody who decrees this a silly Catholic thing has never invested in it.) It is one thing to go out into the woods and tell God through a tree that you are sorry for your sins, it is another to tell it to another member of the Body of Christ who has more of a reaction than an oak, take responsibility for it, and ask for forgiveness. If that was all there was to it, it would be a fabulous experience. But it is so much more than that! It is also knowing that you are forgiven by the promise and power of Christ and His Church and being given a second chance to be a loyal son or daughter of the Father. To have your darkest secrets revealed and know that you are still loved; that is powerful!
Or to receive the Catholic who fell away from the faith shortly after their baptism and is now on fire for the Lord and coming back to receive the rest of his sacraments with great enthusiasm; devouring everything he can about God and His Church. He has been given a second chance at sainthood.
There are those whom I anoint and are given quite literally a second chance at life, returning to the pew they had always occupied, no longer willing to accept being a cultural Catholic but now wants to make a difference.
There are hundreds of hurt, weak, sinful, lost, angry, lustful, addicted people who everyday transform into powerful saints. I don’t have to do a thing. Christ does it all. I am just a front row spectator and it keeps me on my toes. Looking out at the congregation from the pulpit there are dormant seeds that burst open into spectacular blossom all the time. That is one of the true joys of the priesthood, to simply be witness and identifier of second, third, and fourth chances.
What a blessing.