Okay, starting a new series: Reflections on Paul. I have a class on Pauline literature at the Seminary this semester, and we are being asked to keep a journal of our response to Scripture, both spiritually and intellectually. And, of course, I will share with you! 🙂
We are starting with 1 Thessalonians. It didn’t take me very long before I reached something to comment upon:
We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father, knowing, brothers loved by God, how you were chosen. (1 Thes 1:2-4, NAB)
I had marked this passage in my Bible with a little note, and it strikes me the same way today. It’s Paul’s prayer on behalf of himself, Silvanus/Silas and Timothy to the church in Thessalonica, but this is also my prayer for my priests.
I have this vocation/charism to be an intercessor, and have a particular focus on priests. In a particular way, I have been called to be an intercessor for one specific priest. Something similar to the idea of spiritual motherhood (I’ll provide the link to that Vatican article in a little bit, when I look it up), perhaps, or maybe as St. Thérèse of Lisieux prayed for her two priests.
Paul talks about how he prays unceasingly for the Thessalonians, and in a similar way, I pray unceasingly for my priest. Sometimes I find this humorous, how he is always on my mind in prayer. It seems like any difficulty that I may run into in the course of my day, I use this as prayer for him. E.g. If I am driving and notice that it’s icy out, I will pray that he is protected while on the roads — that God keeps him safe. If I am tired or stressed, I pray that he find rest, comfort, strength, perseverance and God’s grace to handle his duties and projects. That God would renew him and give him His peace. That he would be given moments throughout the day where he can get away from the daily pressures and find respite and rejuvenation in the Lord. That he would be inspired to continue to run the race well and find a “second wind.” That all of his frustrations would be turned into joy, knowing that he is doing the Will of God. That he may see Christ in all the people that he encounters on this day.
Paul calls the Thessalonians “brothers loved by God.” This is so true regarding my priest. God speaks to me about him more than He speaks to me about any other person. Sometimes, I’ll happen to be driving past church and He will tell me, “Right now, my son is here with Me. Spending time with Me.” You should hear Him. He is so thrilled. He loves it when His children spend time with Him. It just encourages me that much more to spend time in front of the Eucharist in Adoration. Praying for my priest and my priests. That insight into His Heart and His Love for His children expands my own heart, and somehow helps me to love better.
“How you were chosen.” Vocation. The calling of God. I love this. My vocation, in a way, is to support vocations. Particularly, those called to Holy Orders and to the presbyterate. There’s no question that my heart has been changed by God. That he has made me in such a way that this calling that I have — this intercession, this preference for priests — gives me joy and draws me closer to Him the more I engage in and answer my calling. I was chosen for those who have been chosen. There is a great responsibility there, but also a great comfort, to know that you have been chosen by God for a particular task. Perhaps because of my unique calling, two of my favorite Masses are Chrism Mass and Presbyteral Ordination. I cannot tell you how awesome those Masses are, but only encourage you to attend one, if you get the chance.
Thank You, Lord, for their call, for their faith…and for mine.