Sunday, December 4, 2011
A Marvelous Love Poured into the Heart
Psalm 16 says, "He has put into my heart a marvelous love for the faithful ones who dwell in his land." On Sunday nights, after a full day, this is what must be the thought of every priest. It's awesome. Who are these faithful ones?
The elderly woman who told me today that she will soon turn 91. Every week, she asks me, "Where's my hug?" (Truth be told, I'm not much of a "hugger," but for her . . . always). I have a marvelous love in my heart for her.
The young man in his twenties who took his little brother to Mass today.
The older couple who are starting to experience various health issues, but who lean on each other to get to Mass and whom I admire for their devotion to each other and their devotion to the Church.
The family who never came to church and have started coming recently.
The two college kids who sat at the back of church.
The young couple who bring their kids to Mass and sit on the "Mary Side" of the church.
The man and his mother who come each week to Mass and arrive early to pray. (They sit on the Mary Side too).
Then there's the young man who was there today with his two children. His wife couldn't be there because she is on bed rest, expecting their third.
Warren. He's a beautiful man who has Down Syndrome. He sometimes comes to two or three Masses. (You cannot talk to Warren and not leave smiling.)
The middle-aged couple who sit on the St. Joseph Side.
The high school kid who is developing an interest in the youth group.
The older married couple who come every Sunday and who always give me some word of encouragement.
They are a thousand other persons too. I know some by their names, some by the painful situations for which they have asked me to pray. Some by just subtle smiles, a passing word, the place they sit, the passing remarks on the way in or out of Mass, or the familiar gestures. They are old and young, wealthy and poor, and everything in between.
They are the faithful.
And to priests he has given a special grace. He has given them the virtue of pastoral charity. What is the virtue of pastoral charity? Psalm 16 tells us: "He has put into my heart a marvelous love for the faithful who dwell in his land."