Heaven Comes Crashing to Earth

Let us pray for the hundreds of men who are being ordained this year!

Photo by Courtney Pourciau
Photo by Courtney Pourciau (photo: Register Files)

“Father Matt sounded like he really believed what he was preaching,” a family member observed after our fifth child’s Baptism.

Fr. Matt witnessed our wedding vows more than 10 years ago, baptized all five of our children and preached the power of the sacraments at each of those baptisms. For many of us, it takes hearing it at least the fifth time in 10 years for the words to finally sink into our lives. Why? Grace? Life? Suffering? It’s hard to know how grace operates in our lives, but we know that it does. Jesus Christ reaches out to us through the men he has called to serve.

The ordinary son or brother who has laid down his life on the hard marble floor, whose palms have been anointed with sweet oil and whose humble hands now bring heaven crashing down to earth, has the anointing to lift our eyes to heaven. A priest shows us the wounds of Christ so that we, in turn, might show our wounds to Christ. In every sacrament, heaven touches earth. During this time of year, there are many young (and not so young) men who are being sealed for Christ in the sacrament of Holy Orders. They each have a story and journey, unique gifts and crosses that they carry. Some are gifted with their words and others with their actions. Some are extroverts and some are introverts.

To every ordained priest who is serving today: Preach what you believe, believe what you preach, and live what you preach. If you truly believe what you preach, and you love him day after day and year after year, God will be able to do incredible things through you. Preaching comes not just during the homily but in your everyday encounters. Among the most powerful “homilies” I ever witnessed was the priest who took a homeless man out for dinner rather than simply giving him cash.

I also remember the care and love with which a certain newly ordained priest washed the chalice after Holy Communion. I have never forgotten, more than 20 years later, that young priest’s love and reverence for Jesus Christ. He showed that he believed to his core that this was the body and blood of the God of the universe and the One he loved more than anything on earth — and he was witnessing that love to the world.

Let us pray for the hundreds of men who are being ordained this year! May they each care for the Body of Christ in all of the humble ways Christ makes himself present to us.