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My Brothers and I

I’m anticipating the Chrism Mass 2024. I’ve got a crazy brain this week. Preparing for big liturgies with lots of moving parts. Church repairs pending, bills to pay, confessions to hear, marriages to help heal, a mom who’s recovering from surgery. When I was a seminarian I looked at the priests in awe – now I’m one of them and I don’t only share in the Priesthood of Jesus with them but in the Cross of Jesus with them. We’ll receive the oils for our ministry – for healing, Confirming, Baptizing, preparing and we renew our priestly promises – to be celibate, conform our lives to Jesus, to pray without ceasing, to live simply, to celebrate Mass and hear confessions.

“How good it is and how pleasant – when brothers live together in unity” Psalm 133

Although we do not reach out like we should, we are so happy to see each other today. 

Some of us are very young and some of us are very old.

All of us are excited to celebrate the Triduum.

Most of us have remarkable volunteers who are going to help making everything perfect.

Most of us have remarkable staff who make our parishes tick.

Some of us are on top of the world.

Some of us are worried about crucial church repairs. 

Some of us have family members, or even parents who are dying. 

Some of us are very worried about having enough altar servers for Holy Thursday Mass in a few hours.

Some of us are very discouraged about our ministry. 

Some of us have parishes that are deep in debt, and we stay up at night wandering how to make ends meet. 

Some of us have made missteps or misunderstandings that have estranged us from our people and we feel misunderstood. 

All of us are tired this week. 

All of us celebrate Mass – the Lord’s Supper – daily or more than once a day.

All of us, offer peace and forgiveness for sins in the sacrament of confession.

All of us pray every day. Most of us five times a day the Liturgy of the Hours.

All of us strive to be obedient, and some of us are in assignments we would not have chosen for ourselves and sleep in a home they did not decide on.

All of us adhere to the discipline of celibacy, where we rely on God alone to fulfill our desires in this supernatural vocation. 

All of us strive to be like Jesus, to conform our lives to His. 

All of us strive to live a life of simplicity.

Many of us do not see eye to eye, but we are all in this together nonetheless. 

Many of us are exceptional disciples – Christlike and men of service.

Many of us have deep friendships with our brothers and with lay people alike.

Many of us are overcommitted!

Many of us are talented builders, fundraisers and community creators.

Most of us are extremely empathetic and talented counselors.

Most of us are deeply in touch with the human condition and speak with pinpoint accuracy to issues people and marriage face.

Many of us are cynical and sarcastic…

What I’ve learned is that being a Pastor is like being a husband and dad – and most husbands and dads feel overwhelmed, stretched thin and under-appreciated.

All of us look to St. Joseph as a model of action, silence and purity.

All of us could tell you endless stories that would inspire anyone about peoples growth and conversion.

All of us could share miraculous stories about physical healings through the Anointing of the Sick and prayer.

All of hold Jesus’ heart in our hands almost daily.

All of us are trusted implicitly and extremely in the Sacrament of Confession.

All of us have marks on our hands that emanate pure light.

All of us have the ability to be an extraordinary, immediate, portal-like bridge to Christ where people sort of actually touch Him through us.

All of us will be Priests in heaven in the Order of Melchizedek – we will share a special Glory because we share in Christ’s ministry in an intimate way and, fearfully, in Christ’s Cross in an intimate way. His dearest friends were not spared to drink the cup he drinks.

This blog was contributed by our friend, Fr. Donald Bernard. Check out this article and more of his writings on his blog, Light Experiencer.

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