Monday, August 24, 2009

A priest in love

“Ganyan ba talaga kayo magsalita? Quote kaagad ang Bible o di kaya isinasali kaagad ang Diyos? Di ba puwedeng magsalita ng normal tulad naming mga secular?”

Words of my lady friend as they appeared line by line on the chat box of Facebook. Although surprised by the sudden change of topic of our chat, I surmised that these words were provoked by a favorite quotation that I sent her: “God can write straight with crooked lines”. Perhaps, she didn’t expect such profound truth as a comment on a petty human experience like cooking dinner for the family.

Well, what caught my attention was the thought behind these words – a thought that represents succinctly what I would call a common secular mentality today. Besides, there’s more to it than what appears! Let me explain.

* * *

Firstly, I can sense a perplexity at the fact that priests (as I am) would immediately refer to God things (or topics) that apparently have less or no direct connection to Him. In other words, that we (priests) would “inject” a divine perspective on “secular” (as opposed to the ‘sacred’ – a sense employed by my friend) events and experiences is something that still raises eyebrows today. Some would consider it off-tangent. Others, deeming it less considerate to the listeners’ sensibilities, would even reprimand it.

As Christians, I think, it is our responsibility to infuse society and the world today with a divine perspective. No reality in the world – for very “secular” as it may seem – is immune from the capacity to be impregnated with the sense of the divine. It’s because all reality is God’s work. And baptized in the name of Jesus, we are expected to leave a Christian imprint even in the most ordinary reality of our existence.

The Gospel calls it “lifting up the Cross of Christ in the midst of the world”. Jesus said: “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself" (John 12:32). I think, it is looking at the world and human existence with the eyes of God – something that is slowly forgotten today!

* * *

Secondly, I can perceive in the preceeding questions a certain role bias. It sounds that only priests are expected to talk about God, to quote the Bible, to have a ready-made, God-ridden, touching and inspiring words for any given circumstances. And this role has somehow distinguishes us from the “normal” and “secular” people.

I am glad that priests are associated with such role. What would be unfortunate (for a priest, of course) is when a lay faithful could talk about God and quote the Bible with more ease than a priest. But I am not at ease with making a biased distinction of roles: “priests normally talk about God while the ‘secular’ normally talk about earthly realities”.

What is normal for all Catholic Christians – clergy and lay faithful alike – is to talk about God even in the most ordinary (or ‘earthly’) circumstances in life. Although we usually distinguish the ‘sacred’ and the ‘secular’, we cannot afford to shun away the sense of the divine from any wordly reality.

* * *

“Di ba normal lang sa mga in-love o mga nagmamahal ay pag-uusapan ang kanilang minamahal?” I asked my friend. She replied, “Depende.”

Any person who has fallen in love can attest to this: not only a person in love tends to think about the beloved all day, but also, he or she tends to talk to others about the beloved, about the beloved’s great virtues, the things the beloved does, etc.

If this is true in human relationships, why can’t it be true in our relationship with God? A person who is truly in love with God and with all that God loves, would naturally and normally – without even being aware of it – talk about his or her beloved. If this is true with any person in love with God, why shouldn’t it be MORE TRUE with priests?

If “priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus” (as St. John Mary Vianney said), then all priests should be the first to be in love like crazy with Jesus – with God. Hence, it should not cause bewilderment when priests talk like crazy about their beloved every now and then. The contrary should!

No comments:

"Sacerdotes, 'consagrados en la Verdad'"

Estar inmersos en la Verdad, en Cristo, de este proceso forma parte
la oración, en la que nos ejercitamos en la amistad con Él y aprendemos a
conocerle: su forma de ser, de pensar, de actuar. Rezar es un caminar en
comunión personal con Cristo, exponiendo ante Él nuestra vida cotidiana,
nuestros logros y nuestros fracasos, nuestras fatigas y nuestras alegrías -es un
simple presentarnos a nosotros mismos ante Él. Pero para que esto no se
convierta en un autocontemplarse, es importante que aprendamos continuamente a
rezar rezando con la Iglesia.