Thanks be to God for the gift bestowed upon me five years ago on the Solemnity of St. Joseph the Husband of Mary! Thanks be to God for the gift of the priesthood! It is amazing to think about this gift five years later and refect upon all that God has shared and given me in and through this share in His ministry. What an adventure it has been!
Just before I was ordained I went on a mandatory retreat in preparation for my ordination. One of my retreat directors, a monk, encouraged me to write down my prayers of thanksgiving everyday after my ordination for this great gift bestowed upon me in ordination. I was to do this daily for at least two weeks and then periodically for the next two months. I am so glad that I did. No single offering of thanks and gratitude can ever fully express what God gives in the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit during the Sacrament of Ordination to the Piresthood.
Truth be told this was also a very helpful practice for me. Before entering becoming a priest I tended to focus a lot on what I would be sacrificing or giving up in doing so. Every good thing chosen necessarily requires that we exclude choosing something else that is good. This is just a fact of life, but we can do great harm when we fail to focus on what we have chosen or on what has been bestowed upon us by God through saying ‘Yes’ to His call. “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” By looking only on what is behind us we reveal where are heart is – or where it remains – and, “where your heart is there your treasure will be also.”
By setting out immediately after my ordination to the priesthood in prayer and thanksgiving I know it helped me to focus not on the life I left behind but on the good life God was laying out for me as a priest. Praise be to God for His goodness and grace given to me, unworthy though I am. He is a good God and truly knows what we want and desire. My few years as a priest have been a testament to this truth. God grants us our hearts desires even in the strangest of ways and it is beautiful to see and recognize when He does this.
I beleive in closling it might be good for me to end with a prayer, the first prayer of thanksgiving that I gave to God after my Presbyteral Ordination – it is good to reflect again upon the initial gratitude of that special night. Thanks be to God! Thank you God for these five years!
I must begin by saying that I have received a Grace beyond my imagining and a family much larger than ever expected. Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ! I love you and trust in you. Have mercy on me. Thank you! Thank you Lord that I have received such great peace and consolation and you have allowed me to unite the people of God with you in the sacrifice of the cross. What a privilege Lord!