Priesthood is a pretty good life, I'd say. Over the past few days, I've just had a lot of small experiences that make me really happy.
On Sunday morning, our Men's Group gathered and one of the college students gave a talk on mental prayer. He spoke about reading St. Theresa of Avila and learning from her how to do Christian meditation. Afterwards, all of the college men who were gathered there prayed the Rosary together.
Also on Sunday, I was asked many times throughout the day, "Padre, do you have time for a quick confession." Whether sitting in my office or standing outside of the interdenominational chapel before Mass, hearing that "quick confession" is always a joy.
On Sunday afternoon I met with a couple preparing for marriage and with someone who wants to be baptized.
In the afternoon on Sunday, our FOCUS Missionaries met with probably 20-30 students for a monthly formation meeting.
In the evening, I had supper with a Jesuit scholastic who does his pastoral pastoral formation with us at the BU Catholic Center. I am edified by his example and friendship.
On Monday night, after Mass and Holy Hour and Benediction, I went out for a bite to eat with our FOCUS Team and our intern, Joe. We were celebrating Joe's birthday. We live something good together.
And that brings us to Tuesday, today. Today Joe--our intern, Fran--our Office Manager, and I spent the first part of the morning just debriefing after our major fundraiser for the year. Then, our team had its daily Holy Hour together with Adoration, Morning Prayer, and Benediction. Then, I heard confessions and had Mass. After that, Joe, Fran, and Bobby--our former Intern and now seminarian--had lunch together. Again, I found myself thinking how blessed we are to live such a beautiful friendship together. When I find myself at table with these people, with students, or with our FOCUS Missionaries, I am always aware, "We love each other."
This evening, we had a full house for our weekly spaghetti dinner. I was really happy to see that several of our neighbors from the Hillel House next door joined us. It was great to have them there!
After dinner, the BU Catholic Center screened a new short film entitled, "For Love Alone." This film, put out by a wonderful umbrella group of sisters--The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious--was truly excellent. We were joined by numerous consecrated women religious who shared with us their experience of religious life. I think it is safe to say that everyone who attended was really grateful for the presence and vocation of these women. It was a great night!
In the midst of all of these varied "big" events were a thousand far more subtle moments: seeing two friends pray together, a conversation about prayer, a discussion about vocational discernment, a student returning from feeding the homeless, a lot of joyful exchanges, and a lot of friendship. (And the all important nap).
I know that none of the things I mentioned above sound all that momentous. But they are moments packed with a tremendous joy and with profound depth. Priesthood is lived in these moments. You live with a constant sense of awe and wonder that you have been drawn into a Mystery far beyond anything you could ever invent or achieve. You live your whole life caught up into something far beyond what you deserve.
After eighteen years of priesthood, I am still surprised by how beautiful a life it is. It's never boring or stale. It remains something constantly new and surprising. What we live together at the Catholic Center is for me an assurance that Christ continues to faithfully fulfill his promise that those who follow him will receive the hundredfold.