I have refrained from writing for a few days because, to be honest, I have had to struggle through rage, frustration, and grief.
Through the Hope For Priests web site [www.hopeforpriests.com], currently as the technical people say ‘under reconstruction’ and other sources, I frequently hear about how the so-called “zero-tolerance” policy is frequently being used with what is tantamount to cruelty.
In the future I will write more about that. This is just to say it was the pain of a particular priest that threw me for a loop these past few days.
Then praying the Divine Office this afternoon the 23rd Psalm struck my heart deeply and I composed the following:
The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall lack.
In green pastures You let me graze and You lead me to safe waters; You restore my strength.
Sometimes it is the extreme distance of desert between the oasis of pasture which almost overwhelms and at other times the waters taste brackish because there is too much rage and lack of forgiveness in my heart.
Then I see You walking across the turbulent waters, the brackishness sweetened by Your footfall, Your extended hand, when it seems the waves are more powerful, touches me and I am indeed strengthened.
Though even when I walk through the valley of darkness I am not afraid because You are at my side, with Your rod and staff giving me courage.
This valley of darkness, in which many priests are wandering, seems unending; the fear is palpable, because we do not understand what You are permitting – yet – all priests are configured at ordination in persona Christi. The Spirit drove You into the desert; the Father allowed You aloneness in the dark valley Garden. Even when our emotions betray us, the truth is, You are with us!
You set a banquet before me, as my enemies watch….
I suspect those who hate priests, hate Catholics, hate the Christian culture, do so because somehow in their bondage to hatred they understand the real banquet You set before us daily is Yourself, the Banquet of Love, Life, Truth, all of which those who belong to the culture of death oppose.
Perhaps in some way what most protects us most endangers us.
But then so it was, so it has always been, so it is for martyrs.
Oh no I am not, nor is any suffering priest I hear from, claiming to be a martyr but I sense a growing yearning within the hearts of many priests to embrace the Cross without compromise.
You anoint my head with oil, my cup is overflowing.
Only goodness and kindness will pursue me all the days of my life;
I will dwell in the house of the Lord,
All the days of my life.
One of my favourite novels is Bernanos “Diary of a Country Priest.”, of which the most resounding words are “ALL IS GRACE!”